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Getting away this Christmas: do you know who your travel contract is with?

Posted 15/12/21

As UK consumers pack their bags for Christmas/New Year get-aways, consumer advice body UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) issued a warning regarding consumer confusion about who their contract is with when booking a holiday.

This move is prompted by a 66% increase in the number of complaints received by the UKICC about travel intermediaries and booking agency services in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period last year, up from 266 to 441.

Often consumers are confused about who their travel or holiday contract is with when they approach the UK International Consumer Centre for help. Now the UKICC is highlighting some of the difficulties.

Service Director at the UKICC Andy Allen said: “We quite regularly see problems relating to who a consumer’s contract is with when things go wrong and the consumer asks us to help with a case. Quite understandably there is often consumer confusion about who their rights are with. Even for consumer law professionals, it’s sometimes difficult to identify where the contract lies.

“But it’s important to be able to see through this confusion in order to deal with the correct people when trying to resolve the complaint.

“Each consumer case is different and it’s important for consumers to know who their contract is actually with. This has a direct bearing on whether a UK consumer’s problem with a trader falls within the UK International Consumer Centre’s remit or not. A parent company may have various trading companies or branches which are registered in different countries, so it’s important for consumers to be able to recognise which of these companies their contract is actually with.”

Andy says that this confusion is sometimes confounded by another problem, generated by the traders themselves. 

He added: “From a practical point of view, it’s not uncommon to see both the traders – the services provider and the intermediary as well – failing to assist the consumer when there is a problem. It’s not infrequent for the services provider and the intermediary to each rely on the other party to sort the problem out.

“Whether this is a deliberate ploy on the part of the services provider and the intermediary isn’t clear. The effect it has is that it all adds to the consumer’s confusion, which isn’t helpful.”

Consumers can make contact with the UK International Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.



Notes to Editors                                                                                                                                            

For further information or a media interview, please contact UK International Consumer Centre’s press office on 01268 582206.

The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) works with the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). There are 29 centres in the EU, including Iceland and Norway.

The aim of the UKICC is to provide free advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK as well as an increasing number of non-European countries. Our advisors will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.

The UKICC can provide advice in the following main areas: buying goods and services, online shopping, internet auctions, holidays, timeshare and holiday clubs, air travel. Contact the UK ICC’s press office on 01268 582206 for media enquiries.

UKICC is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the European Commission. The UKICC service is delivered by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute http://www.tradingdelstandards.uk/

Consumers can make contact with the UK International Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.netor by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.

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