Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992
(For holidays booked prior to 01 July 2018) If you booked after this date please see The new Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 below.
A package holiday is defined by law as having at least two of these three components, all as part of a ‘package’ that you pay an inclusive price for: transport (such as flights, transfers etc.) accommodation and/or another tourist service which makes up a significant proportion of the package. It also has to last for more than 24 hours, or at the very least include overnight accommodation as part of the trip. As an example, a day-trip to a tourist attraction in the UK which includes entry and travel to the attraction is not covered. Holidays are Atol protected if the flight and either the hotel or car hire are booked within one day of each another.
The organiser (tour operator) is liable for the failures of hoteliers, suppliers and services within the contract. if the holiday is cancelled, the consumer is entitled to a substitute package of equivalent or superior quality (if the other party to the contract is able to offer such a substitute) or to take a substitute package of lower quality and recover the difference in the price or to have a full refund.
The organiser must not provide mis-leading information and provide details about changes as soon as possible. The consumer is entitled to redress for a variety of things dependent on what regulation has broken and when.
Loss of value, the difference between the cost paid for the holiday and the one received.
Out-of-pocket expenses incurred reasonable costs as a result of the breach of contract
Loss of enjoyment, compensation for the disappointment and distress caused by things going wrong.
Personal injury, compensation for any personal injury incurred abroad (specialist legal advice is thoroughly recommended here).
Regulations 12 and 13 refer to alterations in the package holiday or to departure times or location and are probably the most used. I quoted them here when I got Adam and Mel most of their money back.
Full details of the Act here.
ABTA and ATOL. Members of the former follow a code of conduct, so break that and you can report them to ABTA. The ATOL scheme of financial protection covers flight-based holidays. If you buy a land- or sea-based holiday such as coach, rail or cruise holiday from an ABTA member your monies will be protected by the ABTA scheme of financial protection, so if your travel company fails and your holiday can no longer go ahead you will be entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel and hotel costs and transport home if you are abroad
ATOL stands for Air Travel Organisers’ Licence. It is a government-run financial protection scheme operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). All monies you pay for package holidays involving flights and holidays including a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, must be protected under an ATOL licence. You will receive an ATOL Certificate at the time you make your payment, and you will need to keep the certificate safe.
ATOL cover means that if your travel company fails and your holiday can no longer go ahead you will be entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel and hotel costs and flights home if you are abroad. Flights booked directly with airlines are not protected under the ATOL scheme. ATOL is a financial protection scheme, it does not provide other assistance if there are other problems with your holiday.
Remember, if you are unhappy with your accommodation you should complain about it to your representative as soon as possible as the company should be given a chance to put matters right. You may still be entitled to redress of course. If however you do not complain at the time you will be asked if it was really that bad as you didn’t ask to be moved.
The new Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018
These replaced and considerably modified the former 1992. The new regulations came into force on 01 July 2018. Holidays taken prior to this will be covered by the previous regulations. More details here.
If you don’t get satisfaction from customer services when you complain contact the CEO, you can find details of all the CEOs at ceoemail.com.
For more tips and templates about complaining about aspects of flights and holidays see How to prevent problems when booking a holiday let (plus what to do when things go wrong)
For lots more help, advice, consumer laws and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!