Can you help me solve my Peru trip conundrum?
I have a holiday booked to Peru at the end of May. I realise there are protests at the moment and therefore may put the holiday on hold. But my main concern is that the travel company have asked to receive the final payment by bank transfer or cheque. They are Atol protected, but is my money still protected if I pay the final amount this way rather than by credit card? Hazel R
A I sympathise with you and everyone else who has a trip to Peru planned. From a tourism point of view, it has long been the most alluring nation in South America, in particular for the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley in the Andes and the city of Cuzco. Until late last year the nation was effectively closed to overseas visitors due to Covid restrictions – and now political unrest in the country has made a visit there look very uncertain.
The Foreign Office warns: "Protests may cause travel disruption, including with road blockades, suspension of train services (including trains to/from Machu Picchu) and airport closures in different parts of the country.” Much could change in the three months before your trip, and at this stage all you can do is hope that the conflict is resolved so that international tourism can resume at scale.
But your specific question is about: how safe is your money? If you paid the initial deposit by credit card then under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act the whole amount is covered – whether you pay the balance by bank transfer, cheque or hard cash. In the event that the company fails, you would simply ask for your money back. This can happen very quickly: after the Flybe collapse nine days ago, many passengers were refunded by their banks in 24 hours.
If you paid by some other means for the trip deposit and the holiday firm fails, then you can rely on Atol protection to provide your money back – though it can take significantly longer.
In general, though, tour operator failure is rare and I imagine what will actually happen is that, a week or two before departure, the firm will make a final decision on whether it can deliver the holiday you booked or to issue a full refund.
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