Travel firms urged to take part in consumer protection talks

Xavier Trudeau
Août 15, 2017

The consultation sets out the government's proposals for the introduction of new consumer rights around package holidays.

The government said enhanced regulations, due to take effect in July 2018, would better protect an extra 10m United Kingdom package holidays booked over the internet.

"On average, United Kingdom households put aside £100 every month for their holidays".

Ministers are vowing to close "a gap in consumer rights" which can leave tourists stranded overseas, or out of pocket, if a company booked online stops trading.

"While consumer laws protect millions of holidaymakers from the fallout if a travel company goes into administration, the way we book holidays has changed significantly in recent years and it is important that regulations are updated to reflect this", Ms James said. Its holiday habits report 2016 found that more than three-quarters of United Kingdom consumers now booked online. Changes will provide clearer and stronger protections for holidaymakers, ensuring people who book holidays online enjoy the same rights as those who book with a traditional travel agent.

The UK government has now recognised, however, that changes in travel booking trends have meant that the regulations may not be in keeping with the current risks facing holidaymakers, and have thus launched a consultation around updating consumer protection in the package travel market.

ABTA said half of holiday arrangements are not now financially protected if a company ceases trading. Under the regulations, when a package holiday is purchased, the tour operator is responsible for ensuring that the entire holiday matches what was shown in the brochure or on the website; and package organisers must also have insolvency protection so that consumers are able to get their money back or be returned home if the company goes bust.

The consumer group Which? has called on Government to act so that consumers can have "peace of mind".

ABTA is urging the Government to be clearer about how it plans to offer greater protection for customers buying holiday packages as it hasn't yet seen a draft wording for the new UK Package Travel Regulations, even though the European Union stipulates they must come into effect next July.

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