The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) reminds traders involved in the travel sector that they have obligations to travellers under the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995 (‘the 1995 Act’). The 1995 Act has been substantially amended by the European Union (Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements) Regulations 2019.
The 1995 Act applies to:
- Travellers who buy a package including a non-traditional package holiday – that is a pre-arranged holiday that is sold at an inclusive price, which lasts more than 24 hours or, if less than 24 hours, includes an overnight stay. It must also include at least two of the following – transport, accommodation, vehicle rental, a tourist service or activity.
- ‘Linked travel arrangements’, which is where a traveller buys two or more travel components (flights, accommodation, vehicle rental etc.) for the purpose of the same trip or holiday, not constituting a package, resulting in the conclusion of separate contracts with the individual travel service providers, if a trader facilitates –
- (a) on the occasion of a single visit or contact with the trader’s point of sale, the separate selection and separate payment of each travel service by travellers, or
- (b) in a targeted manner, the procurement of at least one additional travel service from another trader where a contract with such other trader is concluded not later than 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking of the first travel service.
The legislation requires that traders provide detailed information to travellers outlining their key rights. Such rights include that;
- In general, under section 18A of the 1995 Act, travellers have a right to cancel at any time before the start of the package. They may be required to pay an appropriate termination fee.
- There are certain circumstances where the traveller is not required to pay any termination fee. Section 18A(4)(a) of the 1995 Act provides that, “… the traveller shall have the right to terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the package, or which significantly affect the carriage of passengers to the destination.”
- Section18A(4)(b) further provides that where the traveller terminates the package travel contract in the specified circumstances above, the traveller shall;
- not be required to pay any termination fee
- be entitled to a full refund from the organiser of all payments made for the package without undue delay
- and not be entitled to additional compensation
The preceding information is not a substitute for legal advice and the CCPC strongly recommends that any trader seek independent legal advice if they are unsure of their obligations.