Cutting consumer protection based on holiday price is ‘hair-brained’, says AAC 

package travel reform
By Linsey McNeill
13/12/2023
Home » Cutting consumer protection based on holiday price is ‘hair-brained’, says AAC 

Alan Bowen, Secretary of the Association of ATOL Companies (AAC) has dismissed suggestions that consumers who pay less for their holidays should get less protection as part of a reforms of the Package Travel Regulations.

Alan said the AAC opposes any attempt to reduce protection ‘simply based on the price paid’.

“A holiday is usually the most expensive purchase of the year, and all consumers deserve the same rights, for those choosing lower-priced holidays, the need for protection may well be higher and this suggestion is hare-brained,” he said.

In its response to a call for evidence on proposals to review the 2015 Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations, AAC said there must be greater clarity and less opportunity for confusion.

“At present, some of the rules fail to do either and should be changed, “said AAC Chair Lindsay Ingram.

The AAC, which surveyed all its members for their views and received a response rate of over 40%, has proposed an end to Linked Travel Arrangements, saying neither the consumer nor the industry industry ‘seems certain of their intent nor the very limited level of protection they provide’.

Currently, the Regulations require too much ‘essential information’ to be provided before sale, according to the AAC, which is proposing a reduction to make it clearer to the consumer what they are buying and how much it will cost.

“Too much information means either the consumer ignores it completely or the seller fails to provide it in the first place,” it said.

The AAC supports the idea of legally mandating the use of vouchers, such as Refund Credit Notes, when there are circumstances such as during COVID, and a clear rewrite of the rules allowing travel organisers to recover their losses from the suppliers that cause them, such as airlines and hotels.

The majority of members would support the complete removal of business travel from Regulations, which are seen as protecting consumers, it said.

“Simplicity and clarity will ensure higher standards for both the industry and consumer and these changes may be a rare opportunity to achieve both” added Alan.

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