When booking a holiday, most unsuspecting consumers will believe that their money is automatically protected. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case, and today’s travel market has seen a 450% increase in reported in rates of holiday fraud. Travel is an easy industry to defraud consumers, and unfortunately, it is possible for unscrupulous people to take advantage of this with relative ease.
In the past, the common way to purchase a holiday was to visit a local high street travel agent or to book your package holiday through one of the top ten companies in the industry. However, the travel industry has moved on from its traditional way of working, and with the vast majority of travel business now takes place over the internet, via online travel businesses.
This has provided a wonderful array of new and exciting travel opportunities to a range of exotic destinations which the average holidaymaker may not have otherwise been aware of. Many small, niche tour operators and travel agents have come to market, offering specialised accommodation, tour packages, and bespoke, affordable packages that were not so easily available, even ten years ago. The internet has allowed the travel industry to grow at a rate of knots and has allowed consumers travel options in even the most far-flung regions of the globe, but it has also resulted in a considerable increase in rates of holiday fraud. With this in mind, consumers must understand that when dealing with small companies, or big businesses such as Airbnb, you must ask some very simple questions to ensure your monies are safe.
Is the Company a Member of a Consumer Travel Protection Plan?
Under EU law, all consumer money should be always be protected as part of the Package Travel Regulations. This applies whether you are travelling within the UK, or to an international destination. Any package holidays involving flights should also be ATOL protected. As a consumer, this will ensure that your money is fully protected in the event of fraud, airline failure, or in the instance that a part of your holiday is either not delivered, or is not as was agreed during your purchase. Whilst this list is not exhaustive, the most popular names you should look for include:
If details of another company are given to you, always make sure to Google them, or call one of the above companies to check whether your monies are safe. All PTS member businesses are fully package travel regulation compliant, and all consumer money is fully protected. If you have any concerns about the allocation of your monies and the holiday supplied by a PTS member, or to check PTS membership pre-booking, you are more than welcome to contact our team via email to email@example.com, or by calling us on 0207 190 9988. We will be more than happy to assist you.
Does the Company Have a Client Account or Insurance in Place to Protect Your Monies?
Some travel companies will run their own client account and have an insurance model in place to protect your money.
Google the Company You are Looking to Book With
We slightly touched upon this earlier, but it is always useful to perform some background research on any business you are looking to book with. Search the internet and social media channels for the business and ensure that they are both present and reputable. Generally, good feedback and reviews for a company are a brilliant indicator that the business is legitimate, that your holiday will be as advertised, and that your money will be protected. Similarly, poor reviews will also be an indicator to avoid booking and to locate a more reputable and reliable holiday provider. Remember, other consumers’ feedback is a powerful tool for you to follow!
Ask To Speak To Someone – Don’t Just Email
The good old fashioned way of speaking to someone is still the best way to ensure peace of mind. Do you trust the person you are booking with?
Is This Deal Too Good To Be True?
There is an old adage, “It’s too good to be true” is absolutely true. If you see a flight, or holiday, for £300+ everywhere and then you find a site that sells it for £100, this is inevitably too good to be true. It could be fraudulent. Ask yourself – “ How does this company supply it at such a low cost when everyone else is more expensive?”
The gut feeling is still very powerful. If something doesn’t seem right? Or, someone fibs to you about an element of your trip then it would be advisable not to book with that company.
Protected Travel Services is a specialist in consumer protection within travel. If you are unsure, do call one of our team.
If you would like to discuss holiday fraud or any other questions then please contact PTS on 0207 190 9988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.