Great Britain

Thousands of Brits to lose cash on French holidays after new quarantine rules announced

THOUSANDS of Brits are expected to lose cash as a travel ban to France and new quarantine rules are announced.

It's thought some 400,000 holidaymakers have trips booked to the country, while the 500,000 Brits currently in France have just 30 hours to decide whether to cut trips short and leave before new quarantine rules take force.

The move by the government follows similar bans and quarantine rules put in place in Spain, Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas due to rising coronavirus cases.

But Brits with separate flights and hotels booked may lose out on the total cost of trips unless airlines and hotel providers cancel holidays.

If flights continue and hotels remain open, it will be hard for holidaymakers to claim refunds as technically providers are still giving you the service you paid for.

Meanwhile, with package holidays, FCO advice should mean you are due a full cash refund but as we've seen with Spain, some tour operators have refused to cancel trips making it difficult for people to claim a refund.

Travel: What are your rights to a refund?

MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled.

Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.

You are entitled to a cash refund if they've cancelled your holiday but many have large delays or may offer vouchers instead.

If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel to countries or regions, you may also be covered for cancellations by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.

Keep in mind the travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCO advice changed, otherwise you won't be covered.

If you don't have travel insurance, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly - Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees.

Others have reimbursed hotel and transfer costs but refused to shell out flight refunds until airlines themselves cough-up.

Holidaymakers already in France will also likely lose out if they end up having to leave early and shell out for earlier flights home - unless they can reclaim costs on their travel insurance.

But the problem is travel insurance taken out after the crisis began in March is unlikely to cover coronavirus-related disruption.

Those who ignore the warnings or who are unable to cancel or rearrange travel risk invalidating their insurance.

If you finish your holiday in France and then leave your travel insurance shouldn't, however, be affected if taken out pre-coronavirus.

We round-up your rights in full below.

I’ve got separate flights and hotels booked - can I get a refund?

If your flight is still going ahead, and your hotel remains open, your first step should be to speak to each individual operator.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to claim a refund if your flight or hotel hasn’t been cancelled.

And as we've seen with Spain, many airlines have continued to fly leaving customers struggling to get a refund.

Some companies may let you rearrange your trip for free - although they don't have to do this, and it depends on when you're due to travel.

What should you look for in a good travel insurance policy?

TRAVEL insurance policies can vary a great deal, but here are some "must have

For example, Ryanair will let you change trips booked in July, August, and September for free as long as it's not within seven days of departure - and be warned you can only move flights once fee-free.

EasyJet meanwhile will waive fees if you change fares online more than 14 days before travel.

Where flights to and from France and the UK are cancelled, you're entitled to an alternative flight or a full cash refund under EU laws.

For hotel bookings, contact your booking provider to check what cancellation policy it has in place - but you will be relying on its goodwill as technically it can still provide the service you've paid for.

I’ve got a package holiday booked - can I get a refund?

Where government advice is not to travel package trips are not expected to run meaning, which means you should get a full cash refund under package travel rules.

But as we've seen with Spain, some package providers are continuing to run trips leaving customers wrangling for a refund.

Some firms say they'll only refund the hotel and transfer costs, while airlines refunds will only be paid if and when tour operators receive this cash.

It’s crucial you wait for the tour operator to cancel your trip - if you cancel the trip yourself, you won’t be entitled to a refund.

But again, it's worth speaking to your provider out if it will offer a goodwill refund, voucher or alternative trip.

Consumer organisation Which? notes how online travel agents, where you pick a hotel and flight to create a package, may not cancel trips.

Can I claim from my card provider or travel insurer instead?

Always go to your travel provider in the first instance.

If your provider is refusing to cancel flights, hotels, or holidays you're unlikely to be able to get a refund from your card provider as tecnhically the service you paid for is still going ahead.

Section 75 and Chargeback rules cover debit card or credit card purchases where you don't get the service you paid for.

When it comes to travel insurance, you may be entitled to make a claim - but this largely depends on when you took out the insurance.

Policies purchased before coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on March 11 may include cover for travel disruption and cancellations.

But most new policies now have clauses that won't cover holiday cancellations due to coronavirus.

Check your insurance carefully to see what cover you have - if in doubt, speak to your provider.

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