We are relieved to to be able to report that the punitive scale of cancellation charges proposed by CalMac back in April have now been abandoned.
The charging scheme proposed would have made it impossible to change or cancel a booking within 48 hours of a sailing without forfeiting the entire ticket value. It was a disproportionate, unfair, poorly-conceived, expensive and damaging proposal that we and all other islands consulted firmly rejected.
The proposals in themselves were completely unacceptable, but also the manner of their presentation was very poor. In particular, there was no acknowledgement of the responsibilities that CalMac have under the Islands Act, and their obligation to perform a full and competent Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) on any new policy. We insisted that an ICIA should be performed, so it is gratifying therefore to see that the response we have had from CalMac is in the form of an ICIA. Whether it is a full or competent ICIA is a different matter … But at least we have got closer to the company respecting the protections island communities are now given in law. They have undertaken to follow ICIA principles for any future key proposals.
Be warned however that CalMac do say that:
- They will be enforcing their current terms and conditions more rigorously.
- If you cancel a booking less than 24 hours before sailing, you will loose 100% of the ticket value.
- If you cancel a booking more than 24 hours before sailing, you will be charged £10.
- Exceptions to these cancellation rules are:
- Death of an immediate family member
- Debilitating illness preventing travel
- Involved in a road traffic accident
- Multivessel journey where one leg has been cancelled by CalMac
- An NHS appointment cancelled by the hospital/doctor (a new exception)
- Amendments to a booking will remain free at any up until check-in closes.
- After the impending introduction of CalMac’s new ticketing systems, data will gathered to inform any future proposals.
- There will be a review after 6 and 12 months.
You can read the full CalMac response below.