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Holiday From Hell!


Picture this, sandy beaches, gloriously blue skies, crystal clear beautiful calm seas.  That's right, we are talking holidays.  When you book up, you get excited and a perfect picture is painted in your mind.

No doubt you sit at work day dreaming about a dip in the sea or some tapas by the pool with a nice cold drink hoping your room has a sea view and cool air conditioning so that you and your family can sleep comfortably at night.

You pack your bags, fly to your destination and.... things start to go wrong.  The room has no sea view, instead you are overlooking a building site.  The air conditioning does not work and the room smells.  The pool is filthy and you simply wish you could go home.

What to do?  It will depend on whether you are an 'independent traveller' or a 'package holiday maker'.  The majority of holidays are package booked and this is what we will concentrate on in this article.

You should have a holiday rep and ensure that you make a formal complaint to them.  Let them know exactly what you are unhappy about.  Also, get your camera ready to gather evidence - this could prove invaluable when you return.

Package Holiday providers will be most likely be members of either ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents) or AITO - the Association of Independent Tour Operators.  Both of the organisations expect their members to adhere to their codes of practice and will be able to assist you with a complaint if you cannot resolve it directly with the holiday provider.

Worst case scenario, you have no success with the holiday provider or their trade association.  You are left with one real option - to issue proceedings against the holiday provider in court.

It is a simply breach of contract claim.  You will need to show to the Court what you expected (what was advertised).  The holiday provider has a duty to ensure that their advertising is accurate.  If they become aware of any changes after you have booked - they should inform you.  If they have not done so, they have breached the contract.

If however the holiday provider was aware that their advertising was misleading, then they will have misrepresented the holiday to you - if proven in court (and this is where your pictures come in handy) the Judge will make an award based on what they think is fair.

If your holiday was totally ruined then you may receive a full refund from the Court.  Generally however, holiday providers do not like the adverse publicity and will often settle before the matter is heard in a court room.

The main points to remember are:-

1.      Get as much evidence as possible, pictures and even videos will be permissible in court as evidence.

2.    Complain to your holiday rep.  Keep a note of their name and the times and date(s) you complained.  Quite often, a holiday rep will     be able to resolve your immediate issues.

3.    Complain to the holiday provider (or travel agent) in writing, send by recorded delivery.  Include your evidence.

4.    If this does not work, find out which trade association they belong to and repeat your complaint.

5.    If this still doesn't work then consider issuing proceedings.  In most cases (as long as your claim is under £10,000) the matter will be heard as a Small Claim.  This means that if you lose, you will not be liable for the other party's legal fees.

6.    Put your evidence across logically, show the initial advertisements and promotional literature and then compare it to the evidence you have obtained.  Fingers crossed, the Judge will find in your favour.

Of course, winning in court will not get you that perfect holiday you were hoping for but it will mean you have received a form of Justice.  Luckily, the majority of package holiday providers in the UK are reputable and will really try to help of things go wrong.

Never be afraid to complain.  There is a wealth of legislation which protects consumers.  If you have been affected this year with a bad holiday experience and need assistance in obtaining money back from your holiday provider, please call us on 02077925649.


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