Holiday Complaints Against UK Tour Operators
Top 10 Tips for Complaining about a Holiday
Making a complaint about a holiday can be a frustrating experience for anyone who has been let down by their UK tour operator after a holiday from hell.
Through experience, we understand the anger and disappointment you are probably feeling and so we have set out some top tips to guide you through the process of making a successful holiday complaint to your tour operator.
Does your Complaint Concern an Accident or Illness?
Important: If your holiday complaint concerns and accident or an illness then before you contact your tour operator you should seek legal advice.
Why? It is important that you seek professional legal advice as the value of your compensation claim may be substantial and if you attempt to deal with your tour operator directly then you may be encouraged to settle your claim for a fraction of its true value.
We offer a completely free advice service for anyone who has fallen ill or been injured whilst on holiday.
What you need to know about Making a Successful Holiday Complaint
At Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors we receive many calls and emails daily from angry and upset holidaymakers whose holidays have been nothing like the one that was advertised in the holiday brochure or on the holiday company’s website.
Because we are so accustomed to helping people with complaints against tour operators we thought it would be useful to provide a short guide about to how to complain successfully.
Writing a Complaint Letter to your Tour Operator – 10 tips
1. Always follow your tour operator’s complaints procedure.
“You will find this in the company’s booking terms and conditions. If your dispute goes to court you will be able to show that you did everything correctly to try and resolve your complaint.”
2. Be polite but firm when you write to your tour operator.
“You should have in mind that a judge may read your correspondence if your case proceeds to court, and will read all the correspondence before a court hearing so you do not want to give him the impression that you are rude and unreasonable.”
3. Send your complaint letter by post and also by email. Keep your email receipt and keep copies of all your correspondence and also the tour operators correspondence.
“This will ensure that your complaint is not lost and that you have an electronic read receipt to confirm when your complaint was received by the tour operator.”
4. List your complaints in a bullet style form so that the tour operator is clear about each complaint you wish to make.
“It is more effective to list your complaints and insist that each complaint is addressed individually otherwise you may receive a response that does not address any complaint individually.”
5. If your tour operator is a member of ABTA or another trade association then they will have strict rules for dealing with complaints that they must adhere to.
“Associations such as ABTA fine their members if they do not adhere to the associations Code of Conduct. ABTA’s Code make it incumbent upon the tour operator to acknowledge a complaint within 14 days of receipt and to provide a full response within 28 days. You can report the tour operator to ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) if your tour operator does not reply in the timescale.”
6. Get your evidence in order. Photographs and video recordings are very powerful evidence that standards were poor at your hotel.
“Hard evidence is difficult to dispute. Complaint forms prove that you were genuinely unhappy and details of other disgruntled holidaymakers demonstrate that it was not just you. A judge will ask for evidence as it is up to you to prove your complaints are valid.”
7. When you conclude your letter of complaint tell your tour operator the compensation you are seeking. Avoid being greedy as this will only lead to a long drawn out dispute.
“Remember again that a judge might read your letter. Only ask for what you honestly believe is fair. There is no point asking for a full refund of your holiday cost if only some parts of your holiday fell below a reasonable standard.”
8. If you are disappointed with the response you receive to your complaint ask the person who has responded to call you to discuss your complaint and their reply.
“Often complaints are misunderstood. By actually discussing your complaint with the person charged with handling it you may be able to explain your complaint more accurately and the person handling your complaint may then be more sympathetic.”
9. If you are unhappy with the final outcome of your complaint ask for it to be reviewed by someone more senior and ask for a written response.
“A manager is likely to have more authority and discretion to resolve your dispute.”
10. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, consider making a small claim through the small claims court or alternatively through ABTA or AITO arbitration.
Time Limits for Making a Holiday Complaint
Accident and illness complaints have different timescales. Time limits are different for claims involving accidents abroad or sickness and may be as short as 3 years from the date the personal injury was sustained.
You have 6 years from the date of your holiday to start court proceedings if your complaint concerns a breach of contract. If your complaint concerns a problem with an airline cruise ship or something that happened on an airplane or cruise ship then the time limits may be only 2 years.
Important: If you have had an accident and suffered an injury while on holiday or you have been ill or suffered from food poisoning then the small claims court or arbitration will not be appropriate for you. You should seek legal advice and help from solicitors who are specialists in holiday compensation claims and can offer a no win no fee claim service.
Holiday Complaints Solicitors at Simpson Millar LLP
Tour operators and holiday companies are unscrupulous when it comes to paying compensation. They want to pay a little as they can so it is vitally important that you know exactly what you can claim for and how much you are entitled to seek.
We can help if your complaint concerns an accident abroad or at a hotel or an illness caused by poor hygiene or food poisoning.
At Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors our holiday complaints team of lawyers have had many years of experience of winning compensation for victims of accidents and illness on holiday.
For absolutely free advice get in touch with us today and find out our no win no fee offer and find out about your claim in the best hands.
Get your compensation claim started and let us do the rest.