The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new campaign calling on holiday and travel businesses to improve the clarity of its terms and conditions.
The ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign is being run in partnership with the lead associations representing the holiday and travel industry, including ABTA – The Travel Association, UKHospitality and the Specialist Travel Association (AITO) amongst others.
According to the CMA, as holidaymakers get ready to “make the most of the Easter break,” the campaign will “check in” on businesses and “make sure they are using fair terms and conditions” in their customer contracts. It also encourages businesses to be upfront and clear with their customers about charges and fees, especially in the event of a customer cancellation.
People in the UK spent an estimated £81bn on holidays at home and abroad in the 12 months to April 2018. However, some holidaymakers may have to cancel their plans due to changes in circumstances such as an illness or death in the family.
Under consumer law, businesses may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee to cover their losses, but the amount they keep must be in proportion to what they are losing. Cancellation terms that don’t follow this approach are likely to be “unfair” and businesses can’t rely on them to resolve claims or disputes with customers.
Paul Latham, the CMA’s director of strategy and communications, said: “Nobody wants to cancel a trip or holiday, but if you have to, it’s important that you are treated fairly and don’t lose out more than is absolutely necessary.
“Our campaign is asking travel businesses to ‘check in’ on their terms to make sure they’re fair. Fair terms are a legal requirement as well as helping reassure customers that they’re dealing with a company they can trust.”