When the package holiday goes wrong


A local expert from Citizen’s Advice provides timely tips on consumer issues.

Q: ‘We’ve booked a package holiday to Spain. It’s our first time booking this sort of getaway, and a friend recently had a terrible experience on a similar trip. What sort of help is available if something does go wrong?’

A: If something goes wrong with your package holiday, the Consumer page of the Citizens Advice website has information about what to do and what compensation you may be eligible for.
Firstly, tell the company or travel agent you booked with as soon as possible. If you don’t say anything until you get home, you might get less or no compensation at all.

Loss of value: If the holiday you went on turned out to be lower in value than the one you booked you can make a claim for ‘loss of value’. For example, if you paid for a deluxe room but only got a standard one? If it wasn’t sorted out at the time you can claim back the difference in value.

Out of pocket: You can also claim compensation for any extra money you have to spend while away, for example the hotel was a bus ride away from the beach rather than across the road as advertised. This is called claiming for ‘out-of-pocket expenses’. If this happens, make sure you keep all your receipts.

Missed out: If big parts of the trip you booked didn’t happen or services weren’t provided – for example a planned two-day excursion was cancelled and no alternative was organised – then you can make a claim for ‘loss of enjoyment’.
You can also make this claim if something happens that causes you distress or disappointment – that might include something such as the pool being closed for the whole trip.
There’s no strict guidance on how much you can claim for loss of enjoyment but any claim you make must be reasonable. You can’t get compensation if you simply ‘didn’t enjoy the holiday’ or if the problem was out of the holiday company’s control, like bad weather.

Check the details
Check the information you received when you made the booking to see what you’re supposed to get. If you don’t get the service you’ve been promised, you may be entitled to compensation for breach of contract. You might also be able to claim from your travel insurance. If you’re still not sure what to do, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline
0808 223 1133 or talk to an adviser online through the Citizens Advice website.

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