CUSTOMERS have hit out at Red Funnel for retaining 50 per cent of payments for cancelled ferry crossings during the coronavirus crisis.

Several disgruntled customers told the County Press they had lost half the cost of the cancelled trips, with the ferry operator retaining the other half despite no journey being taken.

Red Funnel said there were several options available, including postponement to a future date.

Nicola Paul, of East Cowes, said: "I was going for an MRI scan, but the appointment was cancelled due to everything that's going on.

"At first they only offered me 50 per cent back, because I didn't have a date for my next appointment, which was £45 down the drain.

"They've given me a booking credit until the end of the year now, but I still don't think it's acceptable as we could do with the money back and I don't know when I'm going to have another appointment."

Holidaymaker Andy Brown said: "We had bookings but due to the government advice we will not be travelling.

"Red Funnel will only refund 50 per cent of the cost, what a disgrace.

"In contrast, we had also booked a trip to London the week after. The train, theatre and hotel have all given full refunds." He said it had almost put them off visiting the Island again, but Red Funnel had considered his claim and had since issued a full refund.

Another County Press reader said: "Red Funnel's 50 per cent cancellation fee seems very unfair.

"These are unparalleled times and we are being hit financially when times will get very hard over the next few months.

"They should be offering a full refund service with a maximum five per cent admin fee, not 50 per cent.

"They have offered 'free amend' but we have no future travel date as we don't know when the advice will change."

A spokesperson for Red Funnel said: "Red Funnel is offering customers whose travel is being disrupted due to Covid-19 a number of options.

"Firstly, the cost of any ferry bookings that need to be cancelled can be put towards future bookings, to ensure our customers do not lose their money.

“We are also not charging customers amendment fees to move bookings, which can be moved to any date during the rest of the year.

"Alternatively, customers can put their booking on hold for now and decide when to use their trip at any point this year, which will also include using their booking for any 2021 departures.

“Customers who don’t wish to retain their booking value and hold it to a later date can still cancel their booking as per our normal cancellation policy.

"Those who booked under our Saver ticket fare would be subject to the 50 per cent cancellation fee, while those who booked our Flexi fare would only forfeit 25 per cent.

“We’ve had feedback that being able to retain their full booking value against a future date with no added amendment fees is fair and reasonable under the present circumstances, and we’re pleased to offer these solutions."

Wightlink said its customers may cancel free of charge if they have booked a standard ticket.

Other tickets are non-refundable, but amendment fees are now waived until further notice, which means bookings can be rebooked for later in the year.

Customers would still be required to pay any increase in ticket costs.