Shearings under fire for ‘no refund’ policy

Shearings is under fire from customers, having cancelled its tours until the end of April and now refusing to give refunds, claiming a ‘force majeure.’

The Wigan-based company is using a European Union proposal, which is understood to currently be changing the Package Travel Regulation to remove the onus to refund monies paid for tours, fearing cash-flow problems which would destroy Europe’s tourism industry. Shearings has also laid off all drivers for the same period, both from its Shearings and National Holidays teams.

The website TrustPilot is among those inundated with holidaymakers complaining about the decision. One wrote: ‘Whilst I have huge sympathy for everyone who is struggling at the moment, I am appalled at the recent 19 March online Shearings Holidays statement that says ‘That is why we are currently not offering any refunds for tours/holidays that we have had to suspend.’ undersigned by MD Jane Atkins.

‘I was previously willing to move my forthcoming March holiday with Shearings to another date but this latest nonsense, (quoting) ‘ we very much view this situation as Force Majeure’, has tipped me over the edge of patience.’

In the statement on-line, Janet Atkins says: ‘There has been a lot of negative comments around our stance on refunds, and I apologise if this is annoying and frustrating you, but I wanted to take a moment to explain our stance.

‘This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and one that we have never faced before in society or in the travel industry.’

‘We are members of ABTA and bonded by ATOL for air holidays and the Bonded Coach holiday scheme, for coach holidays, so your monies are safe.’

SLG MD, Jane Atkins

A spokesperson for Shearings Holidays – which contacted BCB just before it went to press – said: “Following measures introduced by the Government to help control the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK, it is important we take steps to ensure the business remains viable once restrictions are eased.

“This has been a very difficult but unavoidable decision, and follows a period of intense dialogue with the Treasury, the Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism & Culture and numerous MPs to explore alternatives to closure.

“In the meantime, will be working closely with those staff affected to provide every support possible over the coming weeks during a difficult time for them and their families.”

In a message to Bus and Coach Buyer, one driver said the lay-off was the final straw, and he will no longer work for Shearings, after 22 years of service.

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