Hotel booking sites promise to end dodgy tactics
Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago have agreed that by 1 September they will:
- make it clear when hotels appear higher in search results because of how much commission they're paying the site.
- not give a false impression of limited availability of rooms or hotel popularity or include sold-out hotels. These tactics pressure people to book more quickly.
- be clearer about discounts and only promote deals that are actually available at that time.
1 Making a claim while on holiday
To make a claim about your accommodation on holiday, take the following steps:
- Ask for an official complaint form and get it signed by the hotel staff or tour rep
- Take photos or video footage of any problems so you have evidence
- Note the dates and write a general account of events
- Ask fellow travellers if they would act as witnesses to back up your complaint
- Keep all receipts of extra expenses you have to pay, such as changing hotel
If you receive an offer of compensation, check whether it's made on condition that it's a 'full and final settlement'.
If so, consider carefully whether it compensates you in full for the problems you've had.
If it doesn't, make it clear that you are reserving the right to claim for more compensation when you return home.
- Complain to your hotel or accommodation provider immediately if you're unhappy
- Collect video of photographic evidence of any problems you have
- Keep all receipts of extra expense you incur
2 Making a claim on return home
If you’ve arrived home with memories you’d rather forget, then make sure you make an immediate complaint.
Write to the customer services department of the company involved, whether it's a hotel chain or a tour operator.
Give your booking reference, a clear account of the problems, and what compensation you want.
Enclose copies of all documentary evidence: photos and receipts, but keep the originals in case you need them later.
If you paid by credit card you could also claim against your credit card company.
Under Section 75, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by a company for items or services that cost between £100 and £30,000
3 Complaining to a trade body
If you booked through a travel company and they fail to resolve the complaint, you can contact the relevant trade body.
This could be ABTA (The Travel Association), which is the UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents; the Association of Independent Tour Operators, or the Travel Trust Association.
ABTA now has an online complaints hub which enables you to make a complaint about an ABTA member. Be aware that the travel company you complain about will be able to view your complaint in full via the hub.
If all else fails, you can take legal action against the travel company.
If you're considering using the small claims court, take a look at our step-by-step guide to making a claim.