As millions of Europeans embark on their August holiday breaks, Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has announced plans to reform the 1990 Package Travel Directive.
Current laws, she says, fail to encompass the growth of tailor-made “DIY” holidays consumers are buying online, as opposed holidays booked through travel agents.
The new legislation – which will need to be approved – proposes a cap on price surcharges and easier cancellations.
Plans include a 10% cap on price increases (such as unexpected hikes in fuel prices) and a legal requirement for any actual price cuts to be passed directly onto the consumer.
The new rules will also entitle holidaymakers to be able to cancel their holiday contract free of charge pre-departure in the event that their holiday concides with a natural disaster or outbreak of civil unrest.
This also means travellers who book their accommodation, flights and transfers with various providers will now have an automatic right of compensation and repatriation if any of the service providers goes bankrupt whilst the consumers are on holiday.
Ms Reding said the new proposals would create a “safety net and peace of mind” for holidaymakers.
The European Commission’s plans also include a number of additional benefits under the new proposed laws, including:
· Better information on liability: In a plain and intelligible language consumers will need to be informed that the organiser is responsible for the proper performance of all included services.
· Better redress: In addition to price reductions, consumers can also claim compensation for any ‘immaterial damage’ suffered, in particular in case of a spoilt holiday
· A single contact point if something goes wrong: Consumers will be able to address complaints or claims directly to the retailer (travel agent) from whom they bought their holiday.