If you have booked a package holiday, you will have extra rights under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
Your holiday is likely to be a package holiday if it:
- Has been prearranged; and
- Has been sold for an inclusive price; and
- Covers a period of over 24 hours or overnight accommodation; and
- Includes at least two of the following: transport, accommodation or other tourist services. Other tourist services may include excursions, fishing rights, or car hire.
An example of a package holiday is one which you choose from a tour operator’s brochure, and which includes a flight and a seven-night stay in a hotel.
Your holiday is not likely to be a package holiday if you booked all the elements of your holiday separately.
Cancellation of your Package Holiday
If the tour operator cancels your package holiday, you will have several options. You can choose to:
- Accept an alternative holiday of a similar or better standard
- Accept an alternative holiday of a lower standard and claim back the difference in cost
- Cancel the holiday and get your money back.
You may also be able to claim compensation if your holiday is cancelled, for example to cover any financial loss you have suffered, or disappointment and inconvenience. However, you will not be entitled to make a claim if an insufficient number of people booked onto the package holiday. The tour operator must warn you in writing when you book the holiday, if a minimum number of people are needed for the holiday to take place. You must also be told about when you will be notified if this minimum number has not been met and the holiday has to be cancelled.
You will also be unable to claim compensation if your package holiday has to be cancelled due to unusual and unforeseeable circumstances which were beyond the control of the tour operator and which could not have been avoided.
If you cancel through no fault of the trader
If you cancel your holiday you will usually lose your deposit or pay a cancellation charge. This may be almost the full cost of the holiday. This is because you will have broken the terms of the contract you made with the holiday trader when you booked your holiday.
The contract will usually say whether a cancellation fee has to be paid. If so, the amount given will usually be binding. If the contract does not allow cancellation, you will be liable for any losses, which the holiday trader might have incurred.
How To Complain
Contact the trader as soon as possible after discovering the problem. If the problem arose while you were on holiday it will help if you can show you complained at the time. Always write to the tour operator you are complaining to, even if you previously telephoned. The letter should include details of the following: -
- Invoice number, confirmation number, ticket number and other reference numbers;
- Holiday dates;
- The cost of the accommodation, transport or package holiday;
- A clear description of the fault or problem;
- A statement about how the problem affected you;
- Anything said in the brochure, newspaper advertisement or other literature connected with the problem;
- Anything that was said at the time of making the holiday arrangements or booking relevant to the problem in any way;
- Details of the travel agent if one was used;
- What you want, for example, your money back, or how much compensation you would like;
- A time limit within which you expect a reply;
- Copies of any relevant documents or photographs showing the problem, for example, the building site next to the hotel, or supporting statements from witnesses.
Keep a copy of the letter, and originals of any relevant documents and photographs.