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An invaluable travelling companion

An invaluable travelling companion

Everybody has their own list of travel essentials. While a toothbrush, a comfortable pair of shoes and, of course, a passport, will be must-haves for everyone, there will be some things that you never make a trip without, but which others might consider unnecessary of even slightly odd.

One thing that should be on everyone’s list though is a knowledge of their rights. This will prove indispensable when tricky situations do arise, and will be an invaluable resource in times of need.

And for travel operators and organisers, it should be a priority that all staff are well versed in their responsibilities and obligations to customers under consumer law.

This is why the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have published a new free guide, ‘Practical holiday law: Guidance for business’. This resource is available on the Business Companion website - the free government- backed website written by trading standards experts to help you understand the laws that affect your business.

While it is designed specifically for businesses, it also contains a wealth of important information for travellers themselves, including definitions of travel law terminology; information about payment surcharges and the use of credit cards; and guidance on complaint resolution.

Written in clear and concise language, the guide also includes detailed information about the 2018 Package Travel Regulations (PTRs). These cover Package and Linked Travel Arrangements – a relatively new and potentially complicated area.

Bruce Treloar, CTSI Lead Officer for Holiday and Travel Law, says: “Package holidays and Linked Travel Arrangements are often complex combinations of travel services. Different service providers, for example airlines and hotels, are often involved and a problem with the delivery of one service may affect the delivery of the others.

“One of the major problems is the need for businesses to accept that separate purchases of travel services will come under the new rules.”

Compiled by experts in travel law, the guide features case studies and real-life examples of where a knowledge of consumer rights can ensure that all parties – whether travel providers or travellers themselves – are satisfied. These include the impact of building works on customers’ holidays; getting the wording of promotions right; and travel operators’ responsibilities with regards to cancellations. 

The case studies also highlight the importance of avoiding misleading descriptions of accommodation and services. One of the more striking examples outlined is a case in which a room advertised as having a ‘sea view’ actually had a painting of a window on the wall with a picture of the sea beyond…. 

Although that is an extreme – and hopefully rare – example of the kinds of things that can happen when a knowledge of consumer law is not a priority, there are plenty of other useful facts and pieces of information which make the guide a very useful travelling companion.

‘Practical holiday law: Guidance for business’ has been produced as part of CTSI’s Business Companion website, a free online resource designed to offer information and guidance to businesses of all sizes about their responsibilities towards consumers. 

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