Following the many problems with Package Holidays during the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Package Travel Regulations were introduced into UK Law in 1992 following the creation of the Package Travel Directive in 1990.
This is probably the most important piece of Consumer legislation that brings order to the sale and operation of holidays. You will find that many of the terms and conditions in travel brochures repeat these Regulations, however, you need to be sure that they are accurate by comparing the terms and conditions to the Regulations.
In this article, we shall summarise just some of the key provisions within the Regulations as a quick guide to your rights:
- Regulation 2 provides a definition of what makes a Package Holiday;
- Regulation 3 states that descriptions of Packages must not be misleading;
- Regulation 5 provides what information must be included in a brochure and also refers to Schedule 1 which lists those items;
- Regulation 7 requires that information has to be given to you before the contract is concluded on passports & visas, health and the security of the money you have paid for your holiday;
- Regulation 8 requires that further information must be given to you in good time before departure on how you will get there, the travel itinerary, representation, children travelling singly and information about travel insurance;
- Regulation 9 concerns the content and the form of the contract;
- Regulation 10 provides a right to transfer your holiday booking with conditions;
- Regulation 11 details how prices may be revised (surcharges);
- Regulation 12 concerns the obligation of the Travel Provider to advise of a ‘significant change’ to you holiday before departure and gives you the right to cancel without penalty;
- Regulation 13 also provides further ‘significant change’ rights before departure – summarising – upgrade where available – downgrade where available with price difference being refunded – money back without penalty – in some circumstances compensation;
- Regulation 14 provides rights where a significant proportion of services cannot be provided after departure. It places obligations upon the Travel Company to rectify and if you do not accept, then a return to your original departure point;
- Regulation 15 makes the Travel Provider responsible for not only their failures but also the failures of their agents and servants. There are 3 defences, the Consumers fault, the fault of a Third Party or events that were unforeseeable or could not be foreseen. This same Regulation also provides:
- 15 (7) requires that a Consumer in difficulty be given ‘prompt assistance’ when a problem arises due to the fault of a Third Party;
- 15 (8) requires a Travel Provider’s representative will make ‘prompt efforts’ to find solutions to a Consumers complaint about a holiday;
- 15 (9) requires the contract to obligate you the Consumer to commit your complaints to the Travel Provider in writing.
- Regulation 16 relates to the security of your money in the event of insolvency;
- Regulation 17 concerns Travel Providers and Bonding;
- Regulation 19 obligates Travel Providers to take out Indemnity Insurance;
- Regulation 20 provides an opportunity for Consumers to claim interest on the monies they have paid which is held in Trust (this could be quite relevant where refunds are given);
- Regulation 24 provides for a due diligence defence that could be used by the Travel Provider;
- Regulation 25 provides for ‘Corporate’ Offences;
- Regulation 26 provides a limitation date for Consumers of three years.
If you have a Package Holiday, we would suggest that the main Regulation for consideration is Regulation 15.
However, many complaints are often accompanied by complaints that changes were made to the holiday before departure and so we would suggest that you read this list and have a look at the actual wording of the Regulations and incorporate that wording into your complaints!