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Package Holiday Conditions to Be Wary Of

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 3 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
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You think you’ve got your holiday booked, done and dusted, and that all you have to do now is to get your holiday reading organised and stock up on suntan lotion. Unfortunately, there are still things that can go wrong with a package holiday booking...

Oh No – The Price Has Gone Up!

This is a tricky area. If you bought your package holiday in good faith, sticking to your agreed budget, it can be galling to be asked for more money.

Legally, all holiday brochures (and this includes online brochures if you’ve booked on the Internet) must tell you the real price of your holiday - legibly, comprehensibly and accurately.

It’s technically a criminal offence for an agent or tour operator to give you misleading or false information about the price of your package holiday, whether it’s a deliberate act, or a negligent one.

If you’re faced with a request for more money for the same trip, you may still have to pay up. It all depends on where you are in the booking process. If the operator slaps a surcharge on you (quite likely given the oil price rises) you can legitimately refuse to pay it...if the booking has been confirmed.

If the tour operator hasn’t accepted the booking, and you have no official confirmation, there’s legally no contract and the operator is entitled to ask you for more money. Of course, you can tell them to take a hike, but it will mean they can cancel the holiday.

They are also entitled to increase the price of a package holiday to cover surcharges if there is a clause in the booking conditions. If so – you’re probably stuck with it, but they can only do this for one of four reasons:

  • There has been an increase in fuel or transport costs
  • The extra money is for fees or taxes (such as landing fees)
  • changes in the exchange rate

The tour operator is also obliged to cover the first 2% of any price rise. You should also be given the opportunity to cancel the holiday if the increase in its cost is significant.

The operator can’t pass on any price increases in the 30 days before you depart.

They’ve Changed My Holiday!

When you receive a booking confirmation from a tour operator, whether by e-mail or in person, legally this means you and the operator (not the travel agent) have entered into a binding agreement.

If you receive notification that the holiday arrangements have been changed, you have a legal right to cancel if you’re not happy – or alternatively you can accept the changes if you’re happy about them. If you have no choice but to go ahead with the holiday, due to factors such as the amount of notice you’ve been given for example, you could still claim compensation when you return, but only if the changes leave you at a disadvantage – for example if you’ve been downgraded to a lower standard of hotel, or a hotel further from the attraction you booked the holiday to visit.

If you don’t say anything, the operator is within its rights to assume you’re happy about it, so if they’ve changed something you’re not pleased about, speak up before you go.

They’ve Cancelled My Holiday Altogether!

If the worst happens and you hear from the tour operator that your holiday has been completely cancelled, you have the legal right to ask for a full refund, and you should not be asked to pay a cancellation fee. If they offer you another holiday, it’s completely your decision whether you accept it – you don’t have to – and if you don’t, you can insist on getting your money back.

If you have to cancel your holiday yourself, there is usually a price to pay. Often you will lose your deposit or there may be a fixed cancellation charge (or a percentage, depending on how close you are to the date of departure). There’s nothing you can do about this – by cancelling you’re breaking the contract and the tour operator is within its rights to claim compensation from you.

Your confirmation agreement should state whether you have to pay a cancellation fee and how much. If the operator is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), they will also list the cancellation fees in their brochure (or on their website) somewhere.

If the agreement doesn't allow for cancellation at all, you will have to pay for the financial losses of the tour operator, which is harsh but not unheard of. If this happens to you, check your holiday insurance to see whether it covers the cost of a cancellation.

These are the worst case scenarios when it comes to what can happen before you leave for your two weeks in the sun, and most reputable companies are reasonable about such things. Just knowing your rights can often be a help in uncomfortable situations!

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[Add a Comment]
My 17 year old daughter has just booked and paid for a flight & accomm (over £800 by debit card), and has now realised she cannot afford it.She has cancelled but is losing approx £400 in charges (accomm, deposit and travel insurance cost).They say the accomm is non-refundable, but I have spoken with the accomm provider and it is fully refundable.I think she was coerced into booking the holiday and the documents she received at booking didn't detail full costs so am wondering what she can do.We are in Scotland so under law between the age of 16 & 18 we would have to prove the contract was unfair and wouldn't have been entered into by an adult.Can anyone give any suggestions please??
buntytrub - 3-Aug-17 @ 5:43 PM
We have found a last min holiday ttravelling On 6th august 2017 with a online travel company . Checked with them the price over the phone . They agreed , checked everything was available (twice ) even changed to flight price slightlywent ahead with the booking £2700 takenout of my account , only then to be told that the Spanish booking system would not take the booking . The sales lady then said she could try booking something else but of course nothing else was available for the same dates at that price , realised the holiday was priced wrong I think . Spent two days searching there site , finding a few more holidays on it within our budget only to be told don't use the deal finder " it don't work " more false advertising. We have been totally inconvenienced as I teach I'm a school and I can only go inSchool holidays , and on the dates I booked . Also the fact that they are saying I cannot even begin to refund my money till tomorrow and then it will take three / five working days doesn't leave me any chance of booking Anyother holiday . As they are all going fast . Totally inconvenienced, false advertising what can be done , can i be compensated . How do I legally stand
Nicky - 30-Jul-17 @ 11:57 PM
jonno1980 - Your Question:
Hi,My wife and I have just booked a holiday for next march to the Maldives. We spent a couple of days looking for the right place and package and eventually found the one!We booked it and paid the requested deposit and 24 hours later we received confirmation of the booking including the price and the relevant details and ATOL certificate etc.Now a week later we have received an email from the agent stating the price was incorrect and that we would need to pay another £1600 to keep the package, or we could transfer our deposit to another holiday or have our deposit back.Surely as they have accepted our booking and deposit and sent confirmation this is a binding contract ? Their T&Cs state that they can amend prices etc prior to confirmation but as we have had this a week prior I feel they must honor this price.Am I wrong ?

Our Response:
Unfortunately yes, you are entitled to a full refund but not to the holiday the original price as the holiday company will argue a contract was not complete at this stage. It's quite a common phenomenon and it's worth making the Advertising Standards Authority aware of it as it shows an example of misleading advertising.
YourTravelRights - 26-Jul-17 @ 2:03 PM
Hi, My wife and i have just booked a holiday for next march to the Maldives. We spent a couple of days looking for the right place and package and eventually found the one! We booked it and paid the requested deposit and 24 hours later we received confirmation of the booking including the price and the relevant details and ATOL certificate etc. Now a week later we have received an email from the agent stating the price was incorrect and that we would need to pay another £1600 to keep the package, or we could transfer our deposit to another holiday or have our deposit back. Surely as they have accepted our booking and deposit and sent confirmation this is a binding contract ? Their T&Cs state that they can amend prices etc prior to confirmation but as we have had this a week prior i feel they must honor this price. Am I wrong ?
jonno1980 - 20-Jul-17 @ 2:00 PM
I booked a holiday to Agadir for me and my family through Thomson, departing on 27th July. Due to the recent (terror) events and unrest in Morocco we decided to change destination. I was informed I had to pay £50 changing fee for each one of us, I found a new destination and agreed the price/terms and conditions with a Thomson agent over the phone. The agent told me everything had been changed and I should be able to see the amended booking online in 10 mins to 1/2 hr maximum and I should be able to settle the balance. I took note of his name and time of call. I logged in every 1/2 hr but no change had been made - after 3 hours or so I called Thomson again and a different agent told me there was no amendment to my original booking. AND the hotel I chose was not available anymore. Other options would cost me extra £1-£1.5K. My call was transferred to a supervisor and I was told they would try and find the recorded call. What are my rights?
JustMe - 6-Jun-17 @ 1:52 PM
We booked a package trip through Expedia. We have noticed that the booking notes my full name as shown on passport whereas my partner's middle name is not shown. We are sure we entered all the names correctly however we imagine this will be our word against Expedia's.The flights are booked with BA and BA allows minor amendments at no charge according to their website whereas Expedia terms state no name changes. BA website states where flights are booked via an agent all queries to go through the agent.This isn't a name change - the name is spelled correctly and my partner is the person travelling - just a request to note the middle name as shown on the passport.We phoned Expedia immediately and are waiting for a "specialist" team phoning us back.I can see no reason why Expedia wouldn't accommodate the request given if we'd booked the flights direct with BA this would have been resolved easily and at no cost (a further point to note is that the middle name is not even requested when booking direct with BA).We are concerned that Expedia's response will be simply to book a new flight. We can understand if an admin fee is charged but can see no valid (nor fair) reason why an amendment of this nature cannot be made.Any thoughts or experiences of similar issues? Many thanks.
ClaraD - 30-May-17 @ 11:13 PM
We have booked a 4 star holiday to turkey in august I've been on the hotels website and the hotel has been downgraded to a 3 star where do I stand legally as I do not want a 3 star hotel as past experience 3 star hotels in turkey are not the best hence us booking a 4 star
Channy - 30-May-17 @ 11:43 AM
Jacko - Your Question:
We booked a coach holiday 10 days ago and paid a deposit to the travel agent. Since then the same holiday has been advertised at a much cheaper price. There are still 122 days to go before the holiday. The company refuse to give us the lower price. Can we cancel without losing our deposit? The balance is due this week.

Our Response:
No unfortunately there's not much you can do about this. Your rights to cancel under the Consumer Rights Act don't apply as it's a travel booking. The company does not have to sell you the holiday at the lower price as your contract started when you made the orignal purchase/paid the deposit at the higher (agreed/accepted) price.
YourTravelRights - 25-May-17 @ 2:37 PM
We booked a coach holiday 10 days ago and paid a deposit to the travel agent. Since then the same holiday has been advertised at a much cheaper price.There are still 122 days to go before the holiday. The company refuse to give us the lower price. Can we cancel without losing our deposit?The balance is due this week.
Jacko - 24-May-17 @ 7:50 AM
King101 - Your Question:
Hello, I booked a package holiday last night with Voyage Privé. I received a phone call today informing me that the website had made a pricing error and I would have to pay an additional £2500 or cancel the booking. I have received confirmation of the holiday and an ATOL certificate from the company. Please advise?

Our Response:
At this stage you can still cancel if you don't want to accept the higher price.
YourTravelRights - 18-May-17 @ 2:28 PM
Hello, I booked a package holiday last night with Voyage Privé. I received a phone call today informing me that the website had made a pricing error and I would have to pay an additional £2500 or cancel the booking. I have received confirmation of the holiday and an ATOL certificate from the company. Please advise?
King101 - 17-May-17 @ 5:39 PM
KG87 - Your Question:
HelloI have booked a holiday with Thomsons and upgraded outlets room to a family room with partition door and cot my children are 1 and 3 and thomsons have emailed today 8 weeks before holiday stating infants are not aloud in that room and refunded us £50 (cos a lot more than £50 to upgrade) and also why advertise with a cot if infants aren't aloud ! What are my options?

Our Response:
You should check the terms and conditions. If you gave the ages of your children when you upgraded to the family room with a partition door, it's Thomson's error that allowed you to make the upgrade. You should be redfunded the price of the upgrade.
YourTravelRights - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hello I have booked a holiday with Thomsons and upgraded outlets room to a family room with partition door and cot my children are 1 and 3 and thomsons have emailed today 8 weeks before holiday stating infants are not aloud in that room and refunded us £50 (cos a lot more than £50 to upgrade) and also why advertise with a cot if infants aren't aloud ! What are my options?
KG87 - 25-Apr-17 @ 3:47 PM
Sue57 - Your Question:
Hi. We booked a holiday in september with Thomson to go to Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba for June this year. Beautiful rooms great location.We payed the balance in January. This week we received an email from Thomson telling us the rooms that were advertised on the website (there was only one picture of the rooms, nothing about these were only if you upgrade to club) were wrong and that we were getting rooms that had not been refurbished. They appologised and told us our rooms were now on the website. There was no comparison!! I rang them to complain, the just fobbed me off with an apology.But they are still showing the refurbished rooms as standard on their online brochure. Is there anything we can do.Thank you

Our Response:
If you have been given misleading information when booking a package holiday you can make a claim for compensation (you may need to do this after the actual holiday). You will need to say how you think you have been misled. Give examples of what you thought you had booked, what you actually experienced when you got there, how much it affected your holiday and how much compensation you are seeking.
YourTravelRights - 20-Mar-17 @ 12:59 PM
Hi. We booked a holiday in september with Thomsonto go to Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba for June this year. Beautifulrooms great location. We payed the balance in January. This week we received an emailfrom Thomson telling us the rooms that were advertised on the website (there was only one picture of the rooms, nothing about these were only if you upgrade to club) were wrong and that we were getting rooms that had not been refurbished. They appologised and told us our rooms were now on the website. There was no comparison!! I rang them to complain, the just fobbed me off with an apology. But they are still showing the refurbished rooms as standard on their online brochure. Is there anything we can do. Thank you
Sue57 - 17-Mar-17 @ 6:49 PM
Hi,I booked s 4* hotel for January next year,paid a deposit and one month direct debit payment. I recently had a email to say a rep had been to the hotel and the travel company have now changed the hotel to a 3 and half rating. Could I cancel and get my deposit back? Many thanks Denise
Dendo - 5-Mar-17 @ 9:25 AM
rayzorray - Your Question:
I booked a holiday to Cape Verde with Thomas cook over 15 months ago for a week as an anniversary surprise which I paid in full , it consisted of a family room with 2 bedrooms, Thomas cook have recently contacted us informing us our accommodation is no longer available and offered us a 1 bedroom suite with a sofa bed, we declined their offer as we required a 2 bedroom apartment at time of booking and payment and those requirements remain unchanged. Can we under section 12 of the Package Travel Regs request that Thomas cook honour our booking and offer us a larger room or the same requirements at a different location on same departure date( 16th December) if the price is higher? Please help I'm gutted they have taken over 15 months before raising this issue.

Our Response:
We think it would be quite reasonable to expect an offer of similar accommodation or higher in the circumstances.
YourTravelRights - 11-Nov-16 @ 11:37 AM
I booked a holiday to Cape Verde with Thomas cook over 15 months ago for a week as an anniversary surprise which I paid in full , it consisted of a family room with 2 bedrooms, Thomas cook have recently contacted us informing us our accommodation is no longer available and offered us a 1 bedroom suite with a sofa bed, we declined their offer as we required a 2 bedroom apartment at time of booking and payment and those requirements remain unchanged. Can we under section 12 of the Package Travel Regs request that Thomas cook honour our booking and offer us a larger room or the same requirements at a different location on same departure date( 16th December) if the price is higher? Please help I'm gutted they have taken over 15 months before raising this issue.
rayzorray - 10-Nov-16 @ 12:35 PM
amz - Your Question:
I booked a holiday to Las Vegas for December. I paid a €1000 deposit 2 days ago and my booking was confirmed. A representative of the company called me to ask if I would switch flights she sent me the details and I confirmed I would like to stick to the original booking. I have email confirmation and now she is asking for an additional €70 per person for the original flight booked. She can't do this can she? I have confirmation of the booking and paid a large sum of money already. What do I do?

Our Response:
Please check the terms and conditions of your holiday. If it's part of a package, the flight times might be relevant in terms of your transfers etc.
YourTravelRights - 13-Oct-16 @ 12:11 PM
i booked a holiday to Las Vegas for December. I paid a €1000 deposit 2 days ago and my booking was confirmed.. A representative of the company called me to ask if I would switch flights she sent me the details and I confirmed I would like to stick to the original booking.. I have email confirmation and now she is asking for an additional €70 per person for the original flight booked. She can't do this can she? I have confirmation of the booking and paid a large sum of money already . What do I do?
amz - 12-Oct-16 @ 1:25 PM
Sue - Your Question:
My hotel was changed and I was booked into another hotel 9 months before I travelled and they took the outstanding balance of the holiday after they changed the hotel but we were not told of these changes until we arrived at the airport in turkey. Are we entitled to a refund?

Our Response:
You may be able to claim some compensation, check the terms and conditions of your booking however,as some companies do include information about possible hotel changes etc
YourTravelRights - 12-Oct-16 @ 11:12 AM
My hotel was changed and I was booked into another hotel 9 months before I travelled and they took the outstanding balance of the holiday after they changed the hotel but we were not told of these changes until we arrived at the airport in turkey. Are we entitled to a refund?
Sue - 11-Oct-16 @ 8:45 AM
The tour company I booked my holiday with has just announced they have gone bust and their website has been taken down. Please advise where I go from here and can I legally request a refund?
Vic - 15-Jul-16 @ 6:48 PM
Recently booked a luxury holiday online. Paid the upgrade amount to go all inclusive for 10 days and had an email confirming we had paid the first installment and outlined the schedule. Received an email today from the operator confirming they had made a mistake and the upgrade fee ( which we paid in good faith) was actually per night and not for the full 10 days. This has increased to total bill by over £2500!!! Can they do this as we only booked the deal due to it being a great deal.
Perplexed - 10-May-16 @ 9:54 PM
jane - Your Question:
The holiday I booked clearly stated sea view room and that is what the confirmation email stated. now the hotel says we are not seaview but in an eco room at the rear of hotel. I can now see that thomsons sent an amended email to me that just said eco room on, can they do this?

Our Response:
No, the company must supply the accommodation promised so if you were told the room offered a sea view, then that is what you thought you were buying and that's what you should get. You may lose money if you simply cancel, so start by contacting the company and ask them to confirm your room with a sea view. Add a "notice" that if the property doesn’t match the website description when you arrive that they'll be in breach of contract. Your option if the room does not match the description (and the company won't sort it out for you while you're there) is take take legal action to claim for loss of enjoyment etc.
YourTravelRights - 5-May-16 @ 11:33 AM
the holiday i booked clearly stated sea view room and that is what the confirmation email stated. now the hotel says we are not seaview but in an eco room at the rear of hotel. I can now see that thomsons sent an amended email to me that just said eco room on, can they do this?
jane - 2-May-16 @ 9:41 PM
I booked a holiday to Malta from Glasgow for June 2016, received an email today to say that they have changed my airport to Manchester also it is for deptarture 10am I the morning compared to the 8pm I had originally booked. Am I entitled to compensation as I cannot travel to new airport.
purrfex - 18-Jan-16 @ 8:01 PM
@L_C_80 - this is the relevant paragraph in the article that tells you what to do: "If you receive notification that the holiday arrangements have been changed, you have a legal right to cancel if you’re not happy – or alternatively you can accept the changes if you’re happy about them. If you have no choice but to go ahead with the holiday, due to factors such as the amount of notice you’ve been given for example, you could still claim compensation when you return, but only if the changes leave you at a disadvantage – for example if you’ve been downgraded to a lower standard of hotel, or a hotel further from the attraction you booked the holiday to visit. If you don’t say anything, the operator is within its rights to assume you’re happy about it, so if they’ve changed something you’re not pleased about, speak up before you go."
YourTravelRights - 20-Jan-15 @ 2:30 PM
Me and my friend have booked a wedding in Mexico. Could use 2 other sister hotels nearby, they have now made one a luxury and said we can't use it. This takes away extra facilities such as pools and a la carte restaurants. The reviews on trip advisor are now terrible saying how bad our hotel is, there is no section of the beach for us therefore resulting in not enough sunbeds. This is our weddings we have 60+ guests coming and now feel awful that they have paid this money and it sounds bad. We are upset and anxious about the wedding we asked for an upgrade to luxury hotel they said only if we pay. But we did originally pay to have the use of this hotel. Any suggestions? Been to ABTA no joy.
L_c_80 - 17-Jan-15 @ 5:25 PM
@jennifer ollis. Speak with the travel agent. Find out why it has been downgraded and how much that will affect your holiday. You should be entitled to some compensation to reflect this change.
YourTravelRights - 3-Dec-14 @ 2:40 PM
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