How to complain when a package holiday is not what you expected

It's disappointing when holidays don't go to plan. When making a complaint about a package holiday, report problems as soon as you can. Here's how to do it effectively.

1 Read the T&Cs

You have a duty to keep losses to a minimum and to give your holiday company a chance to put things right.

Read the company's terms and conditions to check its complaints policy. This will normally require you to register a complaint with the tour company rep at your resort.

2 Speak to your holiday rep

If the rep can't resolve the problem they should give you a complaint registration form. Make sure the rep signs and dates it, and gives you a copy.

Make sure you keep records of who you've spoken to as well as photos and videos of what you're complaining about.

Don't accept a resolution on holiday unless you're satisfied that the problem is resolved. If you accept a resolution on holiday you may not be able to take it up again once you return.

3 Make a formal complaint 

Make a formal complaint as soon as you get home. Many package holiday companies include a deadline for complaints in their terms and conditions. This is often about nine months.

4 Taking a complaint further 

If you can't resolve the problem with the company directly, you can take your complaint further by contacting the company's trade association.

If the company you're complaining about is a member of ABTA (The Travel Association), you can now use their online complaints hub. They list all their members on the site. Be aware that the company you complain about will be able to view your complaint in full via the hub. 

If the company you want to complain about is not a member of ABTA, the Association of Independent Tour Operators (Aito) runs an arbitration service that may be able to help.

If neither of these is an option, you may decide to use the small claims court.

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