We understand that it is a very uncertain time for travel due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also know that many of our customers are feeling frustrated because they may not be able to obtain an immediate refund for their booking.
We would like to explain a little bit more about why this is:
The situation with COVID-19 is constantly changing and so are the rules that each of the 180 ferry partners we work with.
We are legally obliged to reflect our ferry partner’s rules as per our Agent-Principal contract, explained further below.
Some ferry partners are offering cash refunds or credit notes for future travel, so your money will not be lost. Credit notes are valid until at least the end of this year but, for more detailed information, please check the Ferry Partner Help Centre and search for the relevant ferry partner.
It is important to highlight that the refund rules are the same whether you booked directly with the ferry partner or through an agent such as AFerry. However, if you find we have made a mistake and this is not the case, please contact us and we will immediately rectify your situation and our latest procedures for that ferry partner.
Explaining the Agent-Principal relationship
When your booking was paid for on the AFerry (the Agent) website, it was immediately confirmed with your chosen ferry partner (the Principal).
Soon after confirmation, we (AFerry, the Agent) transfer your money to your chosen ferry partner to deliver the service.
This Agent-Principal relationship is explained further in this useful article by Travlaw, who are expert lawyers in this area.
As such, the amount paid to us has already been used to pay the ferry partner (Principal) for their services.
With the world-wide travel lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now trying to support our customers as their Agent to return this money (many millions of pounds in forward bookings) or to secure a credit note from our ferry partner Principals.
What does this all mean?
Given the extraordinary circumstances, many of our ferry partners are facing incredibly difficult financial situations.
As our ferry partners are the Principals in our contractual relationship, we are legally obliged to follow their requests to encourage credit notes instead of cash refunds.
However, we also appreciate many of our customers are in great need of a refund. So we continue to work hard to recover this money for our customers. In many cases ferry partners are not willing to issue refunds for the above reason.
So what are my options?
Request a credit note, and look forward to going on your ferry trip again in the not so distant future when travel restrictions are eased.
With a minority of ferry partners you can get a refund.
For the vast majority of ferry partners requesting a refund is a slow back-and-forth dialogue with no certainty of success - remembering different EU countries have different rules which may also complicate your rights. We are not saying it is impossible, but it is not guaranteed which is why we are recommending requesting a credit note if you possibly can.
To find out what your ferry partner is offering please use the search bar at the top of this page, using your ferry partner name (e.g. DFDS Seaways). This will lead to you the relevant ferry partner article(s).
We appreciate that this may not be the ideal solution for everyone but we hope by explaining this it at least goes some way to helping you to understand the situation.
We very much look forward to an improved situation and to serving your ferry travel needs as we have done for over two decades.
Thank you for support and patience during this difficult time.