ABTA is the UK’s leading travel association and have been at the heart of the travel industry for over 60 years. They aim to ensure that the travelling public have confidence in their travel experience. The ABTA brand is highly recognised among holidaymakers who often look for their endorsement before booking a holiday.
Whilst Simpson Millar solicitors specialise in helping people make compensation claims for illness or injury problems that they have encountered on their holiday, the legal route for solving a dispute may not be everybody’s preferred choice.
ABTA looks to help people by:
If you have had problems whilst on holiday and want to claim compensation from your travel agent or tour operator, instead of taking formal legal action and providing the agent or tour operator is an ABTA member, you may wish to contact ABTA directly for help.
ABTA consumer advice provides lots of information to look at if you have had problems associated with your holiday including pre-departure changes, quality issues affecting your holiday such as building work and poor room/food/pool quality and complaints about your holiday rep.
ABTA have a step by step guide for how you should resolve your complaint against your tour operator or travel agent if you really feel that you have reached deadlock with them, then you can make use of the arbitration process which is administered independently of the travel industry. If your claim includes an element of minor illness or personal injury then this can also be considered by the arbitrator, but is limited to £1,500 per person.
The arbitration process is very useful if you feel nervous about taking the travel agent or tour operator to court because it allows holidaymakers to resolve disputes without going to court; it is speedier, less formal and costs less than instructing solicitors. The arbitration scheme is conducted privately based on written documentation and evidence.
The deadline for submitting paperwork to ABTA for arbitration is within 18 months of the date that you returned from the holiday.
Where ABTA is perhaps most useful is when tour operators have failed to respond to your complaint and telephone calls within specific time limits. You should receive a full response to any complaint you send to the tour operator within 28 days. If you have not received a response at all in that period then you may wish to contact ABTA.
There are other options you can pursue such as seeking consumer advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau or pursuing a small claim in the small claims court.
Remember, you can only use ABTA if your travel agent or tour operator is a member of ABTA. We recommend that you only book a package holiday with a reputable ABTA member in order to get that extra level of consumer protection.