Now P&O Ferries is 'refusing to refund customers who cancel bookings'

P&O Ferries is accused of refusing to give full refunds to customers who want to cancel their bookings despite pledge – as it prepares to resume crossings in DAYS

  • P&O Ferries is allegedly refusing to refund customers who cancel bookings 
  • Firm’s cross-Channel services between Dover and Calais are still suspended 
  • P&O is struggling to re-start them after firing 800 staff with no notice last month
  • Seven of P&O’s eight ships are yet to pass full safety inspections by the MCA

P&O Ferries is refusing to give refunds to customers who cancel their bookings, despite promising to on its website, it was claimed yesterday.

Cross-Channel services between Dover and Calais are still suspended over P&O’s jobs massacre scandal.

The firm is struggling to restart them after firing 800 staff with no notice on March 17, and needs approval to do so from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Seven of P&O’s eight ships are yet to pass full safety inspections.

On its website the firm claims: ‘Any customers booked to travel during this period of disruption who choose not to travel can have a full refund.’ 

But customer Julia Ferrari, who was due to sail from Hull to Rotterdam on Friday with her family, said this wasn’t true.

P&O customer Julia Ferrari was due to sail from Hull to Rotterdam on Friday with her family

She told ITV News: ‘I contacted them but apparently ‘customer choice’ means you only get a full refund if P&O cancel the ship.

‘As a customer, I’m really angry about this. I’m obviously angry about how they treat their staff.

‘But as a customer, the fact the website says you can have a refund if you want one and then you contact them and find out you can’t.’ 

She had planned to visit relatives in Germany who she hasn’t seen for almost two and a half years due to Covid restrictions.

P&O has now cancelled the ferry and offered a refund, but she has had to spend an extra £40 to book with rival ferry firm DFDS.

P&O Ferries promises on its website to give refunds to customers who cancel their bookings

An ITV News report claimed it had spoken to ‘several’ P&O customers who were refused refunds.

Yesterday a P&O spokesman said it is hoping to have two ferries back in service on the Dover-Calais route ‘from this weekend’.

It also hopes to have another ship operating between Hull and Rotterdam and Larne and Cairnryan.

All will be ‘subject to regulatory sign off’ from the MCA, which has so far detained at least two P&O ships which failed full inspections.

P&O said it is providing refunds to all who ‘booked to travel with us to whom we have not been able to provide alternative services.’ 

Two P&O ferries are seen at the Port of Dover in Kent over the weekend. Cross-Channel services between Dover and Calais are still suspended over P&O’s jobs massacre scandal

DFDS, which also operates cross-Channel, has been allowing customers to use P&O tickets on its services but is unable to this weekend.

A spokesman for P&O said: ‘From this weekend, P&O Ferries are getting ready to resume services across a number of vital routes.

‘P&O has been working closely with regulators to ensure our ships are safe to sail.

‘P&O is looking forward to welcoming back vital services and we expect to have two of our vessels ready to sail on the Dover/Calais route by next week, subject to regulatory sign-off, namely both the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain between Dover/Calais.

P&O Ferries routes: The firm said it expects to have two of its vessels ready to sail on the Dover to Calais route by next week. It is also expecting to be able to sail the Larne to Cairnryan route, and the Hull to Rotterdam route. The Liverpool to Dublin route is already back in operation

‘P&O are also expecting to be able to sail both the European Causeway, which runs between Larne and Cairnryan, and the Pride of Hull, which runs services between Hull and Rotterdam.’

He added: ‘We thank our customers for their patience during this time and we apologise to those customers whose journeys have been cancelled and disrupted.’

The ferries will need to pass inspections by the MCA before operations can restart.

However, the MCA said: ‘There are no further inspections of P&O Ferries at the moment and we will reinspect at the appropriate time’.

The announcement comes as a former P&O Ferries chef is reportedly suing the company for unfair dismissal, racial discrimination and harassment.

Lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent this morning as freight delays continue at the Port of Dover in Kent, where P&O ferry services are still suspended

The BBC reported that John Lansdown has filed a tribunal claim against the firm and its chief executive, and is seeking financial compensation and exemplary damages of up to £76 million.

P&O Ferries said its job cuts were ‘categorically not based on race or the nationality of the staff involved’, in a statement carried by the broadcaster.

Mr Lansdown said the action was about the ‘bigger picture’.

‘This is not just about me. Seven hundred and ninety nine of my seafaring family have lost their livelihoods, their way of life, their homes for half the year,’ he told the BBC.

Former P&O Ferries chef John Lansdown has filed a tribunal claim against the firm and its chief executive, and is seeking financial compensation and exemplary damages of up to £76 million 

Criminal and civil investigations have also been launched into P&O Ferries’ move.

Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said on April 1 that the Insolvency Service had started ‘formal criminal and civil investigations’.

The Insolvency Service said: ‘Following its inquiries, the Insolvency Service has commenced formal criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances surrounding the recent redundancies made by P&O Ferries.

‘As these are ongoing investigations, no further comment or information can be provided at this time.’

P&O Ferries chief executive, Peter Hebblethwaite, told a joint hearing of the Commons’ business and transport committees that his company broke the law by not consulting with trade unions before sacking workers. 

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