I wrote an article back in July which mentioned the new travel regulations that were coming into force. At the time, I didn’t realise exactly how many businesses would be effected but it’s huge!
The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 main aim was to close any loopholes and protect more types of holidays that are available in this modern market.
One of the most valuable service contracts entered into by consumers is a contract to take holiday services. Often things can go wrong on these holidays and the law protects consumers in various different ways.
The need for the update in the law comes about due to online booking websites themselves as ‘booking agents’ and therefore not needing to comply with the ‘package holiday’ laws.
The new law means they are now legally obliged to offer the same protection as the high street travel agents and offer the same level of customer service. These new rules mean far more holidays will be classed as packages, giving consumers far more protection. Whilst it might seem clear that these ‘booking agents’ should be treated as ‘tour operators,’ it is important to understand that any business who offers 2 or more elements to a travel arrangement as a service will also need to comply.
I see so many businesses advertise package holidays without realising that in fact they are acting as ‘tour operators’. If you are offering a ‘getaway’ or a ‘retreat’ for a fixed price including 2 or more of either accommodation, food, travel, activities, training or excursions and it is booked and paid for purely through you then you need to comply. In the eyes of the law you are a ‘tour operator’ and so you must offer the same level of protection to a consumer as would a tour operator.
Now you know you’re selling a package holiday this is what you need to do:
- Provide pre-contractual information (this is often on your website), advertising what it is included eg. destination, dates, the accommodation, contact details, how to pay, cancellation fees and if their are a minimum number of people required before the trip goes ahead.
- Provide a contract once the booking has been confirmed (things can not change from pre-contractual stage) and this contract must go into the consumer rights if any changes do occur.
- Put in place compliant insolvency cover, there may be other insurances too that an insurance broker may recommend but this is an absolute must.
Failure to do these things would amount to criminal conviction, although not a custodial sentence, a hefty fine would be imposed and a damaged reputation is just not worth the risk.
More information can be found here Guidance for Businesses.
To comply with this legislation it is crucial you have your terms and conditions in place stating clearly your obligations and your customers rights. If you need your terms written or reviewing or even just want to make some more sense of it all please contact me email@example.com