- Report a problem as soon as it happens
- follow the company's complaints policy and report your issue to your rep
- keep records of who you've spoken to as well as photos and videos of your complaint
- make a formal complaint as soon as you get home.
1 Your right to complain
Under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, you have the right to make a claim for:
- Loss of value (the difference in value between what you booked and what you got)
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment, inconvenience, or disappointment.
The Regulations only apply to packages sold or offered for sale in the UK.
Will my package holiday still be covered after Brexit?
Be aware this is an area of consumer rights that could be affected by Brexit. We will update this information once we know more about how we will depart from the EU.
If the withdrawal agreement is approved by the EU and UK, it's been agreed that consumer rights will remain unchanged until the terms of the future relationship between the UK and the EU are decided. This transitional period will last from the date the UK leaves the EU to 31 December 2020.
In a no-deal Brexit scenario, EU traders selling holiday packages or linked travel arrangements in or to the UK will be required to comply with the insolvency protection requirements under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 (PTR 2018) in the same way as all other traders. This means if the company you booked your package with goes bust, you’ll be protected.
But if a package travel organiser is not based in the UK, or does not direct its business to the UK, you should ask for clear information, including on the level of insolvency protection, before you commit to the purchase. You won't be protected by PTR 2018 but you may be covered by insolvency protections in the member state of the European Union.
Bear in mind that taking enforcement action against any seller based outside the UK after Brexit is likely to be more difficult than is currently the case.
Read our guide on how Brexit could impact consumer rights for more information.
You can also sign up for Brexit advice updates - Which? cuts through the noise to find the facts. Our practical and impartial consumer advice, rigorously researched and regularly delivered by email, can help you prepare for the UK leaving the EU.
2 Complain to the holiday provider
Your first step to claiming for an unsatisfactory package holiday is via the holiday provider.
You have a duty to give your holiday company a chance to put right any problems that occur.
Most companies will have a complaints policy in their terms and conditions, so make sure you read these and follow the appropriate steps.
If the problem can’t be solved while you're on your holiday, you can make a formal complaint to the company when you get home.
Complain about a holiday
If you booked a holiday and it didn’t go how you planned, we can help you make a claim.Complain about a holiday
3 Complain to a trade association
If you can't resolve the problem with the company directly, you should contact the company's trade association.
Many package holiday companies are members of either Abta or the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
4 Claim against an ABTA company
If your company is a member of ABTA (The Travel Association) they will be bound by the Association's code of conduct. This requires certain standards of service, including promptly paying any applicable refunds. ABTA members who break the code can be fined.
To make a complaint to ABTA, you must first complain directly to the company, which should send you a full response within 28 days.
If they don't, or you're not satisfied with the reply, you can then lodge the complaint with ABTA. You can now do this online via a complaints hub.
Be aware that the company you complain about will be able to view your complaint in full via the hub.
If you can't reach a settlement, ABTA also offers an arbitration service to cover alleged breaches of contract and negligence, and which makes legally binding decisions.
5 Claim against an Aito company
The Association of Independent Tour Operators also runs an arbitration service, run by a third party company, Dispute Settlement Services.
Applications to the service must normally be made within nine months of the return date of the holiday.
A mediator appointed by the company will rule each case and can require an AITO member to make a payment of up to £2,500 per person, or £10,000 per booking.
The operator is required to make a payment to the customer within 14 days of the ruling. Taking a claim to the service costs £110.
6 Use the small claims court
Before using the small claims court you should first try other means of dispute resolution.
You don’t need a solicitor and the procedure is fairly informal, but it will take several months, and even if you win you don't automatically get the money you're owed.