P&O Ferries has temporarily cancelled its services amid an ongoing staffing crisis – but what does it mean if you were waiting to board one of the boats?
The cancellations mean boats are stuck in ports for the “next few days” and plenty of Brits are wondering if they’ll be able to get a refund for their ferry ticket.
P&O today made the announcement that all 800 members of its UK crew staff would be axed with immediate effect.
The decision to cull all the workers was to plug a £100million black hole in the company’s finances.
But it means customers and passengers have been left in limbo, with the loss of their transport service.
They were booted off ferries and told to await “further instructions” this morning – but what does next for customers?
Can I get a refund if my trip doesn’t go ahead?
If your operator expects your departure to be cancelled, they should always inform you as soon as possible.
Many of P&O’s customers will only have found on the day of their trip that it will not be going head.
Typically when this is the case, you should be informed no later than 30 minutes after your scheduled time of departure.
If your ferry has been cancelled, or its departure has been delayed for more than 90 minutes, you should get a full refund though.
The refund should be processed within seven days, according to Which?.
You might instead get offered an alternative trip.
The company has said that it is “advising travellers of alternative arrangements,” already.
Passengers with trips booked today have been told their travel will be provided by alternative ferry companies, such as DFDS and Irish Ferries.
If you manage to get on to one of the alternative ferries then that should come at no extra cost.
But your ferry operator may ask you to make your own way home and offer to pay your expenses back.
If your ferry operator has failed to reimburse your ticket where your journey has been cancelled, you should contact ABTA.
The travel association will handle your complaint and may help you resolve the issue with the ferry provider.
Martyn James, consumer rights expert from Resolver, said: “If you’re not getting help from P&O or elsewhere, you could try getting your money back through your bank – but be careful of charge back.”
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, your credit card company is jointly liable if something goes wrong with a product or a service you’ve paid for by credit card, says Which?.
You can potentially claim for the lack of service and get your money back that way, but it’s not guaranteed.
Can I get compensation if my trip doesn’t go ahead?
ABTA says your ferry operator should offer you accommodation free of charge if your ferry has been cancelled and you’re stuck for the night.
You should be able to claim back the amount you’ve paid for accommodation, though this may be subject to a limit.
Typically this is a maximum of £66 a night per passenger for a maximum of three nights.
But the actual amount you can claim will depend on the specific situation, including how long you have had to wait among other factors.
According to ABTA, you are entitled to compensation of 25% of your ticket price for the part of the journey that was affected, and if your service is delayed for at least:
- One hour for a journey of four hours duration
- Two hours for a journey of four to eight hours duration
- Three hours for a journey between eight and 24 hours duration
- Six hours for a journey of more than 24 hours duration.
If the delay exceeds double this, you’ll get 50% of the ticket price and you should get it within one month.
“But don’t assume when it comes to extras,” Martyn added.
“Speak to P&O to see if it’s willing to cover additional costs – don’t just book into a fancy hotel and hope it will cover it because of the chaos today, you might not get your money back for it.”
Today, the company said on Twitter: “Where possible we are organising travel via an alternative operator. Space is very limited so we would suggest if your journey is not essential, please do not travel today.”
If you have an upcoming booking it’s best to get in contact with P&O to find out if it is still going ahead you can call 01304 44 88 88 or email [email protected] for any queries.
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