Your Legal Rights when on a ‘Package Holiday’
If you booked your holiday as a ‘package holiday’, then you should be protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays, & Package Tour Regulations 1992 ‘PTPHPTR’.
What this means is that your tour operator or even your travel agent is responsible for the performance of your holiday contract. Additionally, the contract may fall under contract law because s13 Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982 implies into all such contracts a requirement for the supplier to exercise reasonable care and skill.
The company who organises your holiday is responsible for supplying all components of the holiday. You have a right to:
- Receive the holiday you booked and/or was described to you;
- Receive the holiday at the price you agreed to pay;
- Believe that the information you are given concerning the holiday is factually accurate and not misleading;
- Receive holiday accommodation that is hygienic and reasonably safe.
If the package holiday is cancelled or any part, such as the hotel, is changed significantly before you leave, you have the right to:
- A refund, with no cancellation fee
- Accept an inferior quality substitute and get a refund for the price difference
- Accept an equivalent or superior holiday without having to pay more.
If changes are due to circumstances beyond your holiday company’s control then you are not normally entitled to compensation. But if the company knew of a problem and let you go anyway, you may be entitled to claim for stress or disappointment.
You have the same rights if the cost increases significantly (say, more than 10%). However, once a holiday is confirmed, the price can be increased only if this is stated in the booking conditions and it is due to:
- An increase in transport costs, such as fuel
- An increase in fees and taxes, such as landing fees
- Variations in the exchange rate.
Also, the holiday company must cover the first 2% of the increase, and it must not pass on any price increase in the 30 days before you leave.
If your holiday is not as described to you, the holiday company must offer a suitable alternative. If can’t provide anything close to what you paid for, it should offer to fly you home.
Under UK common law, you can claim for:
- 'Loss of value' (the difference in value between what you booked and what you got)
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment, inconvenience, or disappointment
Your rights if you can't take your holiday
If you cannot take your holiday, for example due to illness or bereavement, you have a right under the PTR to transfer the holiday to someone else, such as a friend or family member. The holiday company can charge you a reasonable administration fee for this
How to Complain
- You must follow your tour operator’s complaints procedure;
- Be reasonable. Claim only the compensation you believe is appropriate. If you are greedy or have unrealistic expectations, a judge may frown upon this;
- In the first instance – write to your tour operator and explain the problems you encountered and how you would like them to be resolved. Make sure your letter is to the point and not a long-winded rant. You should have in mind that if your complaint ends up in a court a Judge will read your letter;
- To ensure that the tour operator has received your letter you should also email a copy to the company’s Customer Services Department;
- Find out the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint and insist that you speak to them. You will be able to fully explain your grievance so that the person will have a better understanding of your complaint when they consider it;
- You may also complain to any of the trade associations your tour operator or travel agent is affiliated to - Eg ABTA or AITO, etc;
- Also – if you do not receive a reply from your tour operator within 28 days you should report them to their trade association – For example ABTA is able to fine its members up to £400 if they do not reply to customers within the specified time;
- If your dispute remains unresolved then you may need to pursue your complaint through either arbitration or the small claims court.
If your complaint concerns a personal injury or an illness you contracted on holiday before contacting your tour operator seek legal advice from Linnitts Solicitors. Most people do not realise how much their injury claim is worth and tour operators can be quick to pay off those claims often for very low and inadequate sums.
To book an appointment call us on 01626 33 33 80 or complete our Request a Call Back form and we will call you back, at a time to suit you, free of charge.