In February I booked a taxi by telephone from Onward Travel Solutions to Glasgow airport for the following day and to bring us back on 18 March. I paid £90 in advance by debit card. A few hours later, a red weather warning was put in place and Glasgow airport was closed.
When it became clear our trip could not go ahead our holiday company was great and gave us a full refund. We contacted Onward Travel Solutions to cancel the taxis and request a refund. This was more than 12 hours before the first taxi was due. I was told that it does not give refunds with less than 24 hours’ notice. After several emails I am no further forward.
Onward Travel Solutions’ stance feels unreasonable. A “red warning” for Scotland warned of danger to life, and people were urged not to travel. It would therefore appear foolhardy for the firm to have risked a driver on the roads, even if you had not cancelled.
Moreover, you say you were not informed of its cancellation policy or directed to the terms and conditions.
Given that most taxi firms do not charge a cancellation fee if advance notice is given, this should, under Consumer Contracts Regulations, have been explained over the phone or in any confirmation message.
Passengers would have to locate the terms and conditions on the website and read almost to the end of the small print to discover this vital caveat for themselves.
OTS, which runs a national airport transfer service, decided to return the money for both journeys, minus a £7 admin fee for each leg, as soon as the Observer pointed this out.
It said that customers who cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice can rebook an equivalent journey for no extra charge within 60 days, but this is not mentioned in the terms and conditions and, since your holiday is cancelled, you won’t be needing a transfer in that time.
As for the failure to draw your attention to the cancellation policy, OTS argues it is available on the website, and adds bafflingly: “Our cancellation policy is significantly more forgiving than the law requires and, as such, we do not give a verbal notice with every booking.”
In fact, the law says that any cancellation charge must reflect the actual costs incurred by the company as a direct result of the cancellation. The £7 OTS applies to all cancellations, regardless of how much notice is given, would amply cover the cost of tapping a keyboard.
OTS needs to acquaint itself with the Consumer Contracts Regulations and you would do well to use a local minicab firm in future since these do not tend to require upfront payment or charge for cancellations.
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