Holiday Surcharges: Consumer Rights
Going on holiday should be an exciting time, wherever you intend to travel. There may be instances however where things go wrong or where you may be asked to pay a holiday surcharge by your tour operator. There are certain situations when a travel firm or tour operator can do this, provided that it falls within the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, collectively referred to as the Package Tours Regulations.
Before exploring the situations when a tour operator or travel firm can request a holiday surcharge, it is important to be able to identify a package holiday. Essentially a package holiday is a holiday that a consumer books which contains two or more elements. Usually this includes your accommodation and then transport to get you from the destination airport to where you are staying. A package holiday can also include a number of other elements such as car or equipment hire.
Requesting Holiday Surcharge
Travel firms or tour operators are only able to request additional funds in certain circumstances and if they do, this must be clearly stated in the terms and conditions of the contract. The contract should clearly outline in what situations a price increase or holiday surcharge may occur and how the cost of this price increase will be worked out.
Price increases should be in proportion to the cost of the holiday that you booked and not include any insurance or charges that you have to pay for amendments. If the contract does not include this information, the tour operator cannot under any circumstances request additional payment.
If you are wondering where these terms and conditions will be, they are usually contained within the back of your holiday brochure or contained within your booking confirmation form. You can also ask at the point of booking whether there is likely to be any price increases.
The circumstances when a travel firm or tour operator can request additional holiday surcharge will be quite specific and these include:
- The cost of transportation
- Exchange rates
Fees for embarkation or disembarkation payable at airports or ports
There are rules as to whether a tour operator or travel firm can pass the entire price increase onto the customer. Where the increase in price is lower than 2% of the original holiday cost, the travel operator or tour firm can pass this increase directly onto the customer.
This cost is then absorbed by the company providing the holiday, whether this is the travel firm or tour operator. If the price is higher than 2% of the total holiday cost, the tour operator will meet the first 2%. There may be a contract in place which states that the travel firm or tour operator will absorb a higher sum than this they are required to do so.
In addition, providers of holidays cannot pass any price increases onto the customer if the increase occurs within 30 days before the departure date.
Some consumers may worry if you cannot pay the additional fees or perhaps you don’t want to pay any more for your holiday. In this situation, there may be something in your contract that states you must pay the fees.
If there is a clause in your contract, then you must pay them. However some travel firms may waive these fees as a gesture of good will as you have booked with them. If the firm doesn’t offer this and you still can’t afford to pay the extra fees you will have no other option than to cancel your holiday. Cancellation procedures are defined in your terms and conditions and any rights that you have to a refund will also be described too.
About the author:
This article was written by a member of the Expert Answers legal advice team and posted by Lloyd Barrett. Expert Answers provides online legal advice on all aspects of UK Law to users in the United Kingdom.