Holidays

If you’re going on holiday, you want everything to be perfect. The good news is that you’ve got plenty of rights if things go wrong. Whether you’re worried about your package holiday being cancelled, your tour dates being changed or your travel agent going bust, check out Resolver’s guide to your consumer rights.

 

Your rights

 

When you’re booking a holiday, it’s worth knowing that your rights come from a few main places.

The first is the good old Consumer Rights Act 2015, which protects you against unfair terms and conditions.

Everything you see in a contract has to be fair and transparent. No jargon allowed! If there are any unfair terms and conditions, they aren’t legally binding.

Next, we've got the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations (otherwise known as the Package Travel Regulations 2018 – the PTR for short).

These apply whenever you buy a package holiday. What counts as a package holiday? Well, it’s any holiday that’s made up of different parts that’ve been put together. When you buy any combination of flights, accommodation or entertainment, you’ve been sold a package holiday. If a site sells you a flight and a hotel stay in Japan for a total cost, for example, it falls under the PTR. If something goes wrong with a package holiday, the tour operator that sold it to you has to resolve the situation – often by offering a replacement or a refund. You could also be due compensation.

The PTR also covers linked travel arrangements. These are slightly different, and you've got less protection. If a site lets you book a flight and a hotel as two separate transactions, it's a linked travel arrangement. If you book a linked travel arrangement, the travel agent has to cover you if they go bust. If they go bust and it strands you abroad, you should also expect them to pay for accommodation or getting you home.

Most travel agents and tour operators are part of a trade body. This means that you’re also likely protected by their code of conduct! This sets out the way you should expect to be treated – and gives you rights when things go wrong. The main trade bodies are ABTA and AITO!

You should also check to see if your holiday is ATOL protected. ATOL protection covers you if your tour operator or travel agent goes bust.

Finally, there’s the trusty Section 75. This makes your credit provider jointly responsible if you pay via credit card. You can also check out our guide to Section 75!

 

 

 


 

Part of my package holiday was cancelled!

 

The good news is that if you booked your holiday as a package, the tour operator you booked it through is responsible if anything goes wrong with any part of it. By law, you should expect your holiday to match up to what was described when you paid for it. If it isn’t, you can ask your tour operator to put things right – and you’re due compensation if they can’t.

If you’ve booked your holiday yourself as separate parts, your best bet is to either use Section 75 or to contact your travel insurer (if you have one).

If you’ve booked your holiday with an ABTA agent, their code of conduct says that the tour operator should find you an alternative for the cancelled part.

If something goes wrong before your holiday and your agent offers you an alternative, it may be of a lower quality or price to what you booked. If it is, you’re due a reduction in the price.

If you don’t like the sound of the alternative, you can cancel for a full refund.

 

 

 


 

My room wasn’t as expected!

 

Your rights if your room isn’t as expected are similar to your rights when part of your holiday is cancelled.

It’s worth noting that you should always try and resolve any problems with your room before you leave your accommodation. The staff may be able to provide a solution.

The good news is that if you booked your holiday as a package, the tour operator you booked it through is responsible if anything goes wrong with any part of it.

By law, you should expect your holiday to match up to what was described when you paid for it. If it isn’t, you can ask your tour operator to put things right – and you’re due compensation if they can’t.

If you’ve booked your holiday yourself as separate parts, your best bet is to either use Section 75 or to contact your travel insurer (if you have one).

If you’ve booked your holiday with an ABTA agent, their code of conduct says that the tour operator should find you an alternative for the cancelled part.

 

 

 


 

My tour operator has gone bust!

 

If your tour operator has gone bust, check to see if they were ATOL protected!

ATOL protection covers you if the company you’re travelling with goes bust. It makes sure you don’t lost money or end up stranded abroad.

ATOL applies to pretty much every overseas holiday booked with a UK travel company.

However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t apply to holidays or flights you’ve booked directly with scheduled airlines.

To make an ATOL claim, fill in and submit a claim form to the person or organisation listed on your ATOL certificate.

 


Making an ATOL claim


If the company goes bust while you’ve yet to travel, you’ll need to complete a claim form and submit evidence of payment for the trip (as well as all documentation given to you by the tour operator). ATOL aim to process all claims within 28 days.

If the company goes bust after you’ve set off, leaving you stranded abroad, you should check your ATOL Certificate for guidance. If you weren’t given one, check ATOL’s website for information. You can also consider calling them on +44 (0) 333 103 6350. They’ll explain the situation and discuss your options.

 

 

 


 

I was charged more than I expected!

 

We’ve occasionally heard from people who’ve gone on holiday, only to discover that they’ve been charged for loads of hidden extras! This shouldn’t be the case. Any costs and charges should be made clear to you upfront.

If you’re booking with an ABTA member, their code of conduct says that they should always make the cost of a holiday clear to you.

Travel companies and tour operators aren’t obliged to include the price of any optional extras.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigated hotel booking sites in 2018 and issued guidance saying that they should be clear about any discount claims and only display deals that are actually available.

The CMA also said that booking sites should display the total cost to the consumer, including any taxes! Sites are still allowed to break the price down, but have to display the total cost.

 


The ABTA code of conduct


  • ABTA members have to make sure that any information they give is accurate.
  • Their advertising can’t be misleading.
  • They have to advise you of any passport or visa requirements.
  • You should be told about any building works that might ruin your holiday. If there is building work, they should let you ask for alternatives.
  • ABTA agents can only cancel under unavoidable or extraordinary circumstances, if you default on payments, or if not enough people sign up for the package and the organiser notifies you in time.
  • If an ABTA agent cancels on you, they should offer you a choice of an alternative or a full refund of all monies paid.
  • ABTA agents have to tell you about any alterations to your plans.
  • They shouldn’t make any alterations less than 14 days before you travel unless it’s unavoidable.
  • If significant changes are made that you don’t like, you can cancel for a full refund or request an alternative.
  • No overbooking is allowed.
  • Any costs and charges you have to pay should be made clear (even if they’re subject to change). Optional extras don’t have to be included but they should give you info on them.
  • Pricing has to be clear. If prices start “from” a certain price, a minimum of 10% of products have to be available at that price.
  • If changes are made after departure, you could be due compensation.
  • If an ABTA member doesn’t stick to code of conduct, you can go to the ABTA dispute resolution scheme. They’ll try and find a resolution.

 


 

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