How Consumer Law Protects Us When We Buy Vacations
Going on vacation is something we all look forward to getting away from our stressful lives and routines. But to really enjoy our holidays, they must be problem-free.
Although unfortunately no one can guarantee that no problems will arise during the holidays, the good news is that consumers are well protected legally should something go wrong. To benefit from this legal protection, however, it is essential that we know our legal rights and how to enforce them.
When it comes to vacations, consumer protection is stronger when we buy a pre-arranged trip from a travel agency, which involves two or more travel services, such as flights and accommodation, or a related organized trip. The latter involves booking a travel service from a website and then the consumer is invited via a targeted link to book a second service.
When purchasing these types of vacations, consumers are fully protected in situations where the travel agency or tour operator fails to perform all of the services stipulated in the agreement. The law also protects us if we cannot proceed with the booked holiday due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances.
In addition, the tour operator from whom the holiday is purchased must provide insolvency protection in the event of bankruptcy before our holiday is fully performed. This protection would cover refunds due to us and any costs related to repatriation, if applicable. The Regulations on Package Travel and Related Travel Arrangements give us the right to seek redress from the organizer responsible for the performance of the travel services in the event of a problem.
First, the organizer is required to remedy any lack of conformity by alternative provisions. If, for example, our stay is significantly modified or cancelled, the organizer must offer us either a replacement package of equivalent or higher quality; either a lower package with reimbursement of the price difference between the two packages; or a full refund.
If the price increases by eight percent or more, consumers have the right to cancel the holiday and request a full refund-Odette Velle
When problems arise while we are still on vacation, the travel agency or its representative should be notified immediately. If the problem cannot be resolved within a reasonable time while we are still on holiday, the travel agency must offer us appropriate alternative solutions or proportionate compensation for the shortcomings suffered during the holiday. We may also seek compensation for any additional costs incurred as a direct result of the change of holiday.
We should also be aware that once a holiday has been booked and confirmed, price revisions of package holidays purchased are only permitted in the event of currency fluctuations, changes in fuel cost or changes in government taxes or duties. If the price in this case increases by eight percent or more, consumers will have the right to opt for the cancellation of the booked holiday and to request a full refund of the money paid. It should also be noted that no price changes are permitted within 20 days of the departure date.
Specific legal rights apply when consumers need to cancel a booked vacation. The regulations state that we may cancel at any time up to the start of our holiday subject to the payment of reasonable cancellation charges which must be stipulated in the sales contract.
We are, however, entitled to free cancellation and a full refund in the event that we have to cancel our holiday due to extraordinary circumstances, such as war, terrorism, a pandemic or natural disaster which will significantly affect the holiday or prevent us from enjoying it. reach our destination safely. We can also choose to cancel the booked stay if the organizer informs us that our stay will be significantly modified.
To exercise these legal rights, we only need to write to the travel agency and request a remedy. If our complaint relates to a problem encountered during our holiday, it is important that we also send with our complaint any relevant evidence, such as photographs or videos. Any claims for additional costs incurred must be supported by relevant receipts. We must also send a copy of the holiday contract as proof of any discrepancies and deficiencies.
If our claim for compensation is rejected by the organizer of the stay, we can pursue our claim with the Consumer Affairs Office in order to initiate a conciliation procedure to try to find an amicable agreement.
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