Under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, commonly known as the Package Travel Regulations, a tour operator or travel firm is allowed to ask for additional money from a consumer in certain circumstances.
A package holiday is a holiday comprising of 2 or more pre-arranged components which will usually comprise of transportation to and from the destination and accommodation at the destination. It may also consist of other significant tourist services.
When can additional amounts be asked for?
A tour operator or travel firm should not ask for payment of any additional sums unless the contract stated that a price increase may be made.
The contract should also state the circumstances in which a price increase would be made, state how the price increase is calculated and explain what part of the increase will be absorbed by the tour operator or travel firm. The price increase should be expressed as a proportion of the cost of the holiday, excluding the cost of insurance and any amendment charges.
If the contract does not set out this information then the tour operator or travel firm is not entitled to ask for an additional payment.
The terms of a contract relating to a holiday can generally be found at the back of the brochure and/ or on the booking confirmation form.
What additional amounts can be asked for?
A tour operator or travel firm can only ask for an additional sum in certain circumstances.
They can ask for additional money to allow for variations in the cost of transportation (including the cost of fuel), exchange rates or taxes or fees for certain services such as landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports.
Can a tour operator or travel firm pass on all price increases to a customer?
If the price increase amounts to less than 2% of the original cost of the package holiday the tour operator or travel firm is not entitled to pass on the price increase to the customer. In such circumstances the tour operator or travel firm is expected to absorb the price increase themselves.
If the price increase amounts to more than 2% of the original cost of the package holiday, the tour operator or travel firm is required to absorb the first 2%. If the contract between the tour operator or travel firm and the consumer states that the tour operator or travel firm will absorb a greater sum then they are required to do so.
A tour operator or travel firm is not allowed to pass on any price increases in the period of 30 days before the date of departure.
What if I don’t want to pay the additional sums asked for or I can’t afford to pay them?
If the contract provided for price increases then you are bound by the terms of the contract. It may be possible to get the tour operator or travel firm to agree to drop their claim for additional sums as a good will gesture. If they will not and you are not prepared to pay the additional sums asked for or can’t afford to pay them you may have no option but to cancel the holiday. The procedure for cancelling the holiday and any rights to refunds should be set out in the contract.