FAMILIES who have seen their holiday plans ruined have called on Inverclyde's MP for help after being kept waiting months on refunds.

Many residents have been battling with travel companies since late March after their bookings were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Terms and conditions say that a refund should be issued to travellers within 14 days if a holiday is called off, but customers have had no correspondence from operators and have been offered vouchers to rebook at a later date.

MP Ronnie Cowan said: "I am continuing to hear from people who are struggling to get the money that they are owed for cancelled trips - many of whom are facing financial problems of their own as a result of the crisis.

"Consumer trust in the travel sector is at a record low, as many of the UK’s biggest airlines and travel operators are openly breaking the law by refusing refunds or failing to offer one within the required period.

"Action must be taken to tackle the challenges specific to travel head on and to ensure that trust in the sector is not permanently damaged."

Despite not yet refunding passengers for cancelled trips, a number of major airlines have announced that they will resume flights in the coming weeks.

One holidaymaker who spoke anonymously to the Tele is almost £10,000 out of pocket.

He said: "I had a cruise booked which was cancelled and my terms and conditions of booking stated I would be refunded within 14 days.

"This was back in April - yet all I was offered was a voucher to rebook, which I refused.

"I booked with a company I've used many times and have never had any issue with, yet it feels like I've given them an interest-free loan.

"It was all in £8,000, as it was a special holiday for an anniversary.

"But that money could be used to help out a family member who has been furloughed at this time.

"I've got another holiday planned and the final balance is due by the end of August, but I don't know whether to cut my losses and lose the deposit or pay it in full only for them to do the same thing and end up sitting on my money again.

"It's incredibly frustrating, but Ronnie has been an excellent help so far."

Mr Cowan says the travel industry must play fair by its customers and that the government has an important role to play in holding them to account.

He added: "The government must clarify and co-ordinate its approach to supporting travel to resume operating as soon as possible, ensuring that airlines and holiday companies allow flexible rebooking and cancellation options for those no longer able to travel."