Weather, cost, travel and fun are all factors we consider when we start to create our holiday plans. Most of us go on to enjoy a fun filled break with family and friends to feel re-invigorated. Whether we are worried about young children, older relatives or even pets, the responsibility of booking a holiday and choosing the location can at best hamper some of the excitement and enthusiasm.
If the reality of the holiday causes further headaches it can be difficult to know what to do. For many years we have all booked holidays with travel agents and companies who have held our hands and delivered us safely back to the UK at the end of our holiday. This gives access to resort reps and contacts in the country who should assist if anything goes wrong. If there is a problem we know to contact the head office or the travel agent to complain. There is also protection from various Bond and Compensation schemes to ensure you are protected if the company goes bust (e.g ATOL).
If you book your holiday independently you may not have the same protection in terms of your consumer rights. You are able to obtain some protection by paying on your credit card (payments over £100 obtain protection under s75 Consumer Credit Act).
Sadly, as we have seen in the press recently, tour companies do not always provide a guarantee of safety or the perfect holiday experience. After a tragic carbon monoxide leak in Corfu which killed their two children, the parents of Bobbi and Christi Shepherd had to wait for the Coroner in the UK to expose the failings of Thomas Cook despite a criminal prosecution Under the civil law a package holiday company is liable for the failings of the local supplier where they have failed to meet local standards. The case of Bobbi and Christi highlights the unreasonably low compensation awards received in fatal accident claims in the UK, where bereavement awards are currently set at £12,980 in England. The holiday company were able to claim compensation from the hotelier in Corfu under the contract between the two companies. This exceeded £3million.
If you have booked your holiday independently, it is often necessary to pursue a claim in the country under the law of the land. This will depend on the circumstances and importantly, the parties involved; for example:
- You rent a villa from an English owner via a website based in the UK – you can pursue the claim in the English courts under the law applied to the booking contract
- You are injured whilst on board the plane
It is important to obtain as much information as possible at the scene of the accident such as:
- Names and addresses of any witnesses
- Names of members of staff
- Copy of any record made by staff in the resort
- Receipts for any additional expenses
- Details of conversations with your travel insurers
Nockolds offer an enquiry helpline (01279 755777) which you can contact while abroad to ask for advice whether you are still in location, or on your return. Our Team will contact you as soon as possible to answer your call or email, providing practical advice and then meet with you back in the UK to advise on the options available.