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How ABTA can help with your Holiday Claim

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:

ABTA Travel Association for your Holiday Protection
  • Providing a scheme of financial protection and redress if something goes wrong
  • Raising standards in the travel industry and by giving guidance on issues such as health and safety
  • Making representations to the government to ensure that the travel industry and the public get a fair deal

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 Arbitration Process

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.

Tips for using ABTA

  • You must have made your complaint with ABTA first, and have reached deadlock.
  • A neutral, independent arbitrator will look at the evidence submitted by both you and the tour operator.
  • The arbitrator makes a decision about compensation after looking at the evidence. The decision is final and legally binding.
  • If you win the tour operator or travel agent will send you the compensation. Payment should be made within 21 days.
  • Within 14 days of the award being decided, either party can appeal to the independent arbitration company.
  • If you lose or you are awarded less than previously offered to you by the tour operator or travel agent, you will be ordered to pay an amount, which is equal to your registration fee.
  • The arbitrator has the power to deduct any sum from the amount that has been decided.

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.

What Other Options Do You Have?

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.

Useful Information:

Dated: 23/01/2014

Author: © 2014