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Package Holiday Conditions to Be Wary Of

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 24 May 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]
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
We are going to Tunisia in April with Thomson which was three star hotel but now Thomson just wrote it asa two star what do i do now never been in this situation before.
jennifer ollis - 2-Dec-14 @ 10:24 PM
@Tex. It seems like they can in certain circumstances. However, it is usually due to increases in fuel prices etc. This has never happened to anyone that we know of after booking and paying for their holidays...and two hours after seems like a very short period of time for any 'circumstances' to come to light. This page on the Citizens Advice Website is useful.
YourTravelRights - 27-Oct-14 @ 2:06 PM
My friend has just booked a paid for a holiday for her birthday, they go in 3/4 weeks, 2 hours after she booked it, the tour operated phoned and said the holiday had gone up, now it was nearly twice as much as she original paid. She could afford this and cancelled the holiday, has to now wait 72 hours for refund. I have never heard of this happening before, is this legal?
Tex - 25-Oct-14 @ 4:15 AM
@Dizzbunny. Check the terms and conditions of the booking. Was there a clear description given of the method to pay the balance? If so, you should reasonably be expected to pay it within the time limit given. However, as the company has told you specifically that you did not have to pay when you call - and has not returned any of your calls, you could reasonably suggest that they have not made it easy for you to pay the balance. You'll need to be able to prove that the phone calls took place - try your local trading standards office or citizens advice bureau next.
YourTravelRights - 13-Oct-14 @ 10:51 AM
I booked flight, car hire and accommodation with a travel company, and paid only the deposit with an understanding I had to pay the rest by the end of the month. I emailed them asking them to call me, I called them and was told I would be phoned back, and phoned again the next day. Each time I was told everything was fine, not to worry, and I would be contacted. Today, 10 days later, I was told that the cost of my holiday has gone up because I didn't pay in time. I feel I made substantial eforts to pay, and the cost increase (900 GBP) is unreasonable. They have refused to refund my deposit.Where do I stand?
Dizzybunny - 10-Oct-14 @ 8:19 PM
My parents have just been notified of a major change to their holiday 3.5 weeks be fore departure. The holiday has been brought forward 24 hours which means they have to change their transfer flights to and from the island that they live on and also they have had to book an overnight stay in a hotel at the airport. They have incurred an extra cost of £143. Should the holiday company reimburse them?
Susan - 7-Aug-14 @ 9:32 AM
Have booked a holiday through our travel agents with another tour operator and paid a deposit.the tour operator were going back to ask their supplier if a room was available for us and we are waiting confirmation.We are considering cancelling but they say we have to lose our deposit as it is part of their T and C's even though we weren't given a copy of these or a reference number by the travel agents.they also won't allow us to transfer our deposit over to just a flight and car hire with them.Is there anything we can do or do we have to accept the loss of our deposit.Thank you
Nick - 3-Sep-13 @ 6:06 PM
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