Holiday complaints are ignored by companiesWhich? advises on how to complain effectively

13 August 2010

Travellers queueing

Half of people who complained about their holiday in the last three years felt disgruntled about the outcome, according to research from Which? Legal Service.

To mark National Complaints Day on 13 August, lawyers from our legal advice line asked 1,449 holiday makers whether they had complained about a trip taken in the last three years.

One-in-ten people had complained about a holiday. Of these, a third found the process difficult, while half felt fobbed off by the response they got.

Eight per cent considered starting legal proceedings to get their complaint heard.

Advice from Which? lawyers

National Complaints Day (13 August), run by ComplaintCommunity, is dedicated to offering expert complaints advice and support to consumers and organisations. This year's theme is holiday rights and Which? Legal Service is supporting the event by providing free legal advice for people registering on the day.

If you want to complain about a holiday, follow our advice from Which? Legal Service lawyers:

• Raise your problem and the effect it’s having on your holiday as soon as possible with the holiday company’s representative
• Explain the problem and give them the opportunity to move you or put things right
• Get a complaint form from the representative, fill it in, get the rep to sign it and keep a copy
• Take photographs or make notes of the problems in case you need evidence later
• Get names and addresses of other holidaymakers who can support you and act as independent witnesses
• Write to your holiday company when you get home if the problems aren't resolved satisfactorily while you are on holiday
• Ask for compensation to cover your loss of enjoyment and any other losses
• Consider seeking legal help if you’re still unhappy. A lawyer can advise on taking a claim further, including how to send a ‘final letter before action’ and take a claim to the small claims court or arbitration if things aren't resolved

Complain quickly

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: 'We all look forward to our holidays, and the last thing anyone wants is to have to deal with problems when they’re supposed to be relaxing and having fun. Unfortunately, our members tell us that they’re often made to jump through hoops when trying to complain to holiday companies, having to write multiple letters and struggling to get a response.

'If you do find yourself in the position of having to make a complaint, then do so as soon as the issue arises, always putting the complaint in writing. Don’t be fobbed off by your holiday company - a bit of persistence can get you the compensation you deserve.'

For more information on dealing with holiday problems, visit Which? Legal Service.