Top tips to avoid holiday bluesWhich? lawyers tell you how to avoid pitfalls

17 October 2006

A late offer sign in a shop window

Which? Legal Service lawyers have put together top tips to ensure holidaymakers enjoy a hassle-free half-term break.

Last year lawyers at Which? Legal Service dealt with 30,000 phone calls on a range of problems, including thousands from people who'd had nightmare holidays.

So the legal team has put together top tips on how to get a hassle-free half-term break.

Which? Legal Service’s Peter McCarthy said: ‘Planning a family holiday can be exciting but if it turns into a ‘holiday hell’ parents can be left too exhausted to take on a holiday company. We can be at the end of the phone to help you get even with a holiday company.’

Holiday tips

The top five holiday tips from Which? Legal Service are:

  • use a credit card. It may seem strange but paying for the holiday or putting a deposit on your card, makes the credit card company as liable as the holiday company for problems you encounter; particularly useful if the holiday company goes out of business. You’re covered as long as the holiday costs more than £100
  • don’t count on special requests. Although booking forms often have a section for ‘special requests’, these aren’t guaranteed. If a children’s menu or a crèche is essential then make it clear you’ll only book if this is guaranteed and get confirmation in writing before you make the booking so there can be no disputes later
  • if your luggage goes astray report it straight away to the airline and keep receipts for any essential items you have to buy while you are waiting for your bags to turn up. As soon as you get back home ask the airline to reimburse the cost
  • if there’s a problem with your holiday, tell the rep immediately and ask for a complaint form to complete. It’s the holiday company’s responsibility to get things sorted out so your holiday can carry on as planned
  • if problems can’t be resolved, gather as much evidence as you can, including photos and video footage along with the names and addresses of guests who have witnessed the problems. Where the problems are serious you could ask to move to another hotel. You shouldn’t have to pay to do this. The holiday company is responsible for all parts of a package holiday regardless of whether it provided them or sub-contracted to someone else. If the holiday company later says any problems should be taken up with the hotel owner, don't believe this.

Which? Legal Service is running a special offer of six months for the price of three – which works out at less than 6p a day. For that you will get unlimited access to some of the top lawyers in the UK for issues ranging from consumer problems and employment law to parking and neighbour disputes. Call 0800 252 1090 or join through the Which? Legal Service site.