All you need to know about the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018

The new Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 have replaced and considerably modified the former 1992 Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992. The new regulations came into force on 01 July 2018. Holidays taken prior to this will be covered by the previous regulations.

A package holiday definition

A package holiday is one that has at least two components, all as part of a ‘package’ for which you pay an inclusive price: transport (such as flights, transfers etc.) accommodation and/or another tourist service which makes up a significant proportion of the package. It must last more than 24 hours.

If you submitted one set of payment details with a total price and didn’t have to re-enter them and completed the transaction within 24 hours, this falls into the definition of a package.

The organiser (tour operator) is liable for the financial failures of hoteliers, suppliers and services within the terms of the contract.

Linked travel arrangements (LTA)

If you purchase a minimum of two different types of travel service from different providers this is not a package travel arrangement. However, if you buy two or more types of travel service together, put together by the travel organiser and you purchase both within a 24 hour period, this is a Linked Travel Arrangement.

For example, you buy a flight with a link to a hotel provided by a different company. If you buy an online flight and then have a link on the aircraft website to an accommodation website, where you purchase a hotel in a separate transaction.

The travel organiser must provide information to you in the same way as it does for a package. (See below).

An LTA does not give you the same protection that the package does. The organiser is not responsible for the service provided by the companies. However, it is responsible for providing financial protection for the refund when a travel service is not carried out due to insolvency. If it is responsible for the carriage of passengers – for example their airline flights – then it is also responsible for their repatriation.

Information

The Organiser must clearly state the details of the booking in a Standard Information Form, before you make any payment. The travel organiser also has to provide you strict details of the contract laid out in the Schedules to the Regulations, to accompany the confirmation invoice. This should include specifics of any arrangements, dates, times, costs, meals, excursions included/excluded, activities, transportation, cancellation fees, contact details for the package organiser, information on compulsory/voluntary insurance regarding repatriation in the event of illness/death/accident, and/or the cost of termination of the contract by the traveller. Interestingly, it must also inform the traveller about visa and passport requirements. See Foreign Office in epic fail on passport validity information.

Organiser makes changes

The Regulations state that an organiser must inform the traveller clearly and without undue delay. The organiser must provide the traveller with the option to terminate the contract without paying a termination fee if:

  • it has no choice but to significantly alter the main characteristics of the package

or

  • cannot fulfil any special requirements of the traveller which the organiser has previously accepted (paragraph 1 of Schedule 5)

or

  • increases the price by more than 8%

You should be given a reasonable length of time to respond to the above. If you do not, the organiser must send you further communication with a deadline. If you still do not respond the organiser will terminate the contract and refund all payments within 14 days.

Traveller chooses to terminate a package

At any time before your package starts, you can terminate the contract. However, you may have to pay the organiser an appropriate fee which they can justify. The fee will take into account costs that the organiser no longer has to pay to a third party. It should also take into account “alternative deployment” of travel services. This is where the organiser has been able to sell a part of the package to someone else. There may be cases where the organiser has not been able to do this and decisions would be made on case-by-case basis.

For example, it would be justifiable to not reimburse the price of an air travel ticket if the organiser cannot cancel or sell it on.

Reasonable termination fees based on the above and the length of time between cancellation and the start of the package must be specified in the contract.

If there are unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances at the destination (or in the immediate vicinity which would affect the travel to the destination) of your package travel contract, such as war, security risks etc. you can terminate the contract without paying a termination fee. You should be fully refunded within 14 days.

Redress

The consumer is entitled to redress for a variety of things dependent on what regulation has been broken and when.

Loss of value –  the difference between the cost paid for the holiday and the one received – e.g. the cost of a 4-star hotel which you paid for and the 2-star hotel to which you were moved.

Out-of-pocket expenses – incurred reasonable costs as a result of the breach of contract – e.g. having to pay for taxis when travel paid for was not provided.

Loss of enjoyment – compensation for the disappointment and distress caused by things going wrong – e.g. no children’s activities which were advertised.

Personal injury, compensation for any personal injury incurred abroad – e.g. medical bills, consequential loss etc, but specialist legal advice is thoroughly recommended for personal injury claims).

Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 on a sunsetFor more information, stories, laws and advice see All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights

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and for lots more help, tips, guidance and templates All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights

Don’t let shopping online become a “rip off”

The Complaining Cow follows up on her Rip Off Britain advice

When purchasing items online it’s easy to get carried away when you see what you think is a bargain. But make sure you know where you are buying from and what your rights are before you part with your money, especially if the retailer is outside the EU.

woman with coffee cup hand on mouse at laptop

Rights

If you are buying anything online, under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013  you have 14 days cooling off period for changing your mind. There are some exceptions to this, such as bespoke items. Whether or not return postage has to be paid when you change your mind depends on the trader’s terms and conditions.

If you paid extra for speedier delivery and it wasn’t delivered on time, you are entitled to this cost back. If the item is faulty (regardless of whether it is a bespoke item) you should not have to pay return postage and you should be refunded the full cost of any postage paid for sending the item to you. These regulations were put into place in the UK under an EU Directive and therefore you have this cover for purchasing all items online within the EU.

If the item costs over a £100 and you pay by credit card you will also have cover under Section 75A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which is worldwide. Notify the credit card provider if you get no redress from the retailer.

For items paid for using your bank debit card you may be able to use Chargeback. It is a voluntary scheme based on scheme rules set by card issuers such as Mastercard and Visa.

You also have cover when shopping with PayPal. However, completing a credit card transaction through a thirdparty payment service means that the credit card provider and the seller are no longer in a direct relationship, so are not equally liable. This applies therefore to services such as PayPal, Amazon Marketplace, Worldpay and Google Checkout. So you don’t have any credit card cover if you use these kind of services.

Rip Off Britain

On the Pop Up segment of Rip Off Britain I heard the case of Kathy, who ordered a dress online but didn’t realise the website was based in, and the product would be delivered  from, China. The dress was not as described and was of poor quality. The company would not refund the postage costs. Their website however does say that “However you need to pay the return shipping fee on your own if there is no quality issue.”

As there was a quality issue I advised Kathy  it would be worth arguing again that it was of poor quality. I suggested sending an email and including a picture from the website alongside a picture of what was received, as evidence, plus a description of the differences between any description of the item and what was actually received. I don’t know whether she did this so I don’t know the outcome.

That’s all she could do. So take care when ordering online!

How to spot a non UK website

  • The website only lists prices in US dollars or Euros.
  • Look for terms and conditions of returns.
  • Check for poor English. For example on this website in the “Rip Off Britain” case below was the grammatically incorrect phrase “item have stain”.
  • Search for the return address.
  • A website domain name is not always an indication of where the company is based. For example, a website address ending in .co.uk doesn’t necessarily mean the site is based in the UK

If you need help with a purchase bought from within the EU you can contact the European Consumer Centre who should be able to assist you.

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