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Package Holiday Conditions to Be Wary Of

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 19 Jun 2018 | 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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My wife and I went on holiday to South Africa on 9 March 2018 and stayed with family, stopping on the way back for a few days in Dubai Whilst there we had a motor accident and were unable to fly to Dubai but had to change flights and return directly to the UK. The travel agents are flatly refusing to give us the value of the accommodation in Dubai saying that they were not legally required to provide this to us for our claim to the insurers.Can they do this? Thanks for your help
GjM - 19-Jun-18 @ 11:55 AM
Lindi - Your Question:
I booked my holiday for July 18 in August 2017, it was sold as opening in the summer of 2018 fully equipped with lots of facilities as it is a tui holiday village, we have now been informed that the spa, gym, waterslides are no longer available, the splash pool was advertised with lots of various fountains etc now only has one, the swim up room is in fact a plunge pool that leads nowhere, when challenged we have been told they will all be available next year when the next phase is completed. At no time were we ever told that the complex would be completed over several years I feel that this holiday has been completely mis sold to us is there anything we can do?Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
It sounds like you may have been, although we can't say for sure without all the details. Compare the sales description with what you are actually getting and then seek legal advice. Alternatively, if you decide to go on the holiday, take lots of photos as evidence that the holiday was not what you thought you'd paid for and claim compensation on your return. Here is ABTA's guide
YourTravelRights - 23-May-18 @ 2:26 PM
I booked my holiday for July 18 in August 2017, it was sold as opening in the summer of 2018 fully equipped with lots of facilities as it is a tui holiday village, we have now been informed that the spa, gym, waterslides are no longer available, the splash pool was advertised with lots of various fountains etc now only has one, the swim up room is in fact a plunge pool that leads nowhere, when challenged we have been told they will all be available next year when the next phase is completed. At no time were we ever told that the complex would be completed over several years I feel that this holiday has been completely mis sold to us is there anything we can do? Thanks in advance.
Lindi - 21-May-18 @ 10:47 PM
Chris D - Your Question:
Hi there,I have a family holiday booked to Mexico on May 6 2018, of which 4 couples are going away together but on separate bookings. We have looked to upgrade our rooms, and to upgrade on the upgrade page shows £2.76. When we click to apply that to our booking, it then takes us to a confirmation page whereby it states the total to pay is now £208! We originally contacted them to say what is happening, and they advised they would have to honor it if we could prove the prices by sending screenshots. The email address we sent these to was incorrect, so I called up again at which point they then said this is a glitch that is currently happening to all our bookings so they wont honor the price. As far as I'm aware this is against trading standard laws, and they do have to honor the prices shown on the original page - can you please clarify this for us? Very misleading and of course false advertising.

Our Response:
No they don't have to honour the price if it's a mistake. If this upgrade price is displayed on a long term basis you should report it to Trading Standards or ASA to investigate.
YourTravelRights - 26-Mar-18 @ 11:16 AM
Hi there, I have a family holiday booked to Mexico on May 6 2018, of which 4 couples are going away together but on separate bookings. We have looked to upgrade our rooms, and to upgrade on the upgrade page shows £2.76. When we click to apply that to our booking, it then takes us to a confirmation page whereby it states the total to pay is now £208! We originally contacted them to say what is happening, and they advised they would have to honor it if we could prove the prices by sending screenshots. The email address we sent these to was incorrect, so I called up again at which point they then said this is a glitch that is currently happening to all our bookings so they wont honor the price. As far as I'm aware this is against trading standard laws, and they do have to honor the prices shown on the original page - can you please clarify this for us? Very misleading and of course false advertising.
Chris D - 23-Mar-18 @ 3:09 PM
Madison - Your Question:
Hi apparently I booked and paid £150 deposit for holiday with Tui I am unable to remember when I went over all my emails for last 6 months and no evidence of confirmation or ATOL certificate was found So thinking I hadnt booked holiday I booked the same hotel which was paid and arranged my own flights which have been paid. Tui has today 17th Feb. emailed me for the very first time and informed me my further payment of £450 needs to be paid on the 24th Feb I cancelled this holiday with Tui immediately but they have informed me that I must pay £450 balance to cancel holiday so in total I will have paid £600 on a £1300 holiday can this be right as holiday was booked for 28th sept?

Our Response:
Check your bank account or credit card to see whether you did in fact pay the deposit first of all - also, ask TUI to send you a copy of the confirmation email that was sent.If you did actually book and pay the deposit, then check TUI's terms and conditions which state cancellation charges as follows:
70 days or more Loss of deposit
69 - 63 days 30%
62 - 49 days 50%
48 - 29 days 70%
28 - 15 days 90%
14 - 0 days 100%
YourTravelRights - 19-Feb-18 @ 10:46 AM
Hi apparently I booked and paid £150 deposit for holiday with Tui I am unable to remember whenI went over all my emails for last 6 months and no evidence of confirmation or ATOL certificate was found So thinking I hadnt booked holiday I booked the same hotelwhich was paid and arranged my own flights which have been paid. Tui has today 17th Feb. emailed me for the very first time and informed me my further payment of £450 needs to be paid on the 24th Feb I cancelled this holiday with Tui immediately but they have informed me that I must pay £450 balance to cancel holiday so in total I will have paid £600 on a £1300 holiday can this be right as holiday was booked for 28th sept?
Madison - 18-Feb-18 @ 1:21 AM
Jem - Your Question:
Hi my and my family have booked a holiday/villa for june this year with TUI ,the total price is 3k amd paid 1k deposit with flights ect. I have all the documents for the holiday to confirm the price. I had a phone call later that week to day its gone upan extra 6k? Can I get this holiday at the original qoute? Also when I was looking at the documentsi came across someone elses document aswell as mine with all there info on address name dateof birth date they are on holiday? Tui are awfell customer service

Our Response:
This increase seems a little unreasonable. In general if you have booked, confirmed and paid the deposit, yourtour operator can only increase the cost:
It's more than 30 days before your holiday
Any surchages etc are detailed in the booking terms and conditions
The increase in price must be due to an increase in transport costs, fees or taxes, or a change in the exchange rate (ask them for a breakdown of the price increase) . Note that TUI must absorb the first 2% of any of those increases
As this increase is a 'significant' change in price, ABTA suggests this is anything above 10% -you must be given the opportunity to cancel the holiday. The 10% figure is only a guide, and a smaller percentage increase could still be considered 'significant' on expensive holidays.
YourTravelRights - 14-Feb-18 @ 10:17 AM
Hi my and my family have booked a holiday/villa for june this year with TUI ,the total price is 3k amd paid 1k deposit with flights ect... i have all the documents for the holiday to confirm the price. I had a phone call later that week to day its gone upan extra6k? Can i get this holiday at the original qoute? Also when i was looking at the documentsi came across someone elses document aswell as mine with all there info on address name dateof birth date they are on holiday? Tui are awfell customer service
Jem - 13-Feb-18 @ 12:07 AM
Mark - Your Question:
Hi We recently returned from a trip to South America which we booked with a Uk operator. We had booked a DAP (local Chilean based airline) flight into Santiago and there was a 3 1/2 hour connection to our international BA flight. The DAP flight was delayed and we missed our BA flight which meant we had to spend £2k on new BA tickets and overnight accommodation. It was all booked as part of a package with a UK tour operator so is it not their responsibility to get me home and cover these costs?ThanksMark

Our Response:
Check the terms and conditions of the tour operator. If they arranged all the flights, connections and accommodation etc...did you contact them at the time? Did you give them a chance to find an alternative flight etc? What was their response?
YourTravelRights - 9-Jan-18 @ 12:32 PM
Hi We recently returned from a trip to South America which we booked with a Uk operator. We had booked a DAP (local Chilean based airline) flight into Santiago and there was a 3 1/2 hour connection to our international BA flight.The DAP flight was delayed and we missed our BA flight which meant we had to spend £2k on new BA tickets and overnight accommodation.It was all booked as part of a package with a UK tour operator so is it not their responsibility to get me home and cover these costs? Thanks Mark
Mark - 8-Jan-18 @ 12:20 PM
Jo - Your Question:
Thomas Cook have informed me they have downgraded the hotel I've booked for next year from 4* to 3 plus following a review, I've asked for a free transfer to an alternative 4* or for a refund of the difference (I specifically wanted 4* or above). Thomas Cook have said I'm not entitled to this as I'm still getting the holiday I booked as the facilities remain the same.The booking conditions state a significant change is if they downgrade the accommodation by one full 'Tour Operator' rating.However is this still not an essential term of the contract between us in that I;m no longer getting what I've paid for> What are my options, should I challenge Thomas Cook?

Our Response:
If there were actual changes in what you were being provided with in terms of lost facilities, services etc then you'd possibly be entitled to apartial refund. The best thing to do at this stage would be to assess the facilities and services providedwhen you're there. If they fall significantly short of what you expected when you booked, then make sure you record it with photos, notes, times/dates etc and make a claim for compensation.
YourTravelRights - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:36 PM
Thomas Cook have informed me they have downgraded the hotel I've booked for next year from 4* to 3 plus following a review, I've asked for a free transfer to an alternative 4* or for a refund of the difference (I specifically wanted 4* or above).Thomas Cook have said I'm not entitled to this as I'm still getting the holiday I booked as the facilities remain the same. The booking conditions state a significant change is if they downgrade the accommodation by one full 'Tour Operator' rating. However is this still not an essential term of the contract between us in that I;m no longer getting what I've paid for>What are my options, should I challenge Thomas Cook?
Jo - 13-Dec-17 @ 12:56 PM
Booked a package holiday for next year through a travel agent, it's with tuito alcudia the hotel we booked was 3 star, I have been informed today it's been downgraded to a 2 star. I am entitled to the money back that I have already paid. Many thanks for advice
Leeseleelee - 22-Nov-17 @ 6:37 PM
Gail - Your Question:
We have booked a late holiday and asked if we could be booked onto a specific flight time/date. We have since discovered that they have booked us onto a return flight 3 days later than we had asked for. We now have no accommodation for 3 nights as they have booked us on the wrong flight. Are they liable and legally where do we stand?

Our Response:
Who did you book with? Did you see the details before you paid? etc. Sorry notinformation for us to comment here.
YourTravelRights - 14-Nov-17 @ 11:32 AM
We have booked a late holiday and asked if we could be booked onto a specific flight time/date. We have since discovered that they have booked us onto a return flight 3 days later than we had asked for. We now have no accommodation for 3 nights as they have booked us on the wrong flight. Are they liable and legally where do we stand?
Gail - 12-Nov-17 @ 11:00 AM
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
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