As the holiday season kicks off, the European Consumer Centre in Ireland has issued some timely reminders of consumer rights in EU law:
Package Holiday versus Do It Yourself?
Many consumers now prefer to book their own flights and hotels online rather than going to a travel agent. But remember that EU rules (Directive 90/314/EEC) on package travel give you special extra protection if you book a package holiday. Some key points to remember are listed below.
What’s a Package Holiday?
A package holiday is one that has been pre-arranged and sold at an inclusive price by a tour operator or travel agent. It must cover a period of at least 24 hours or include an overnight stay, and include at least two of the following: (a) transport, (b) accommodation, or (c) tourist arrangements that are not linked to the above but which form a significant part of the cost and package.
What must the tour operator do for me?
1. The information contained in the holiday brochure must not be false or misleading and must give details of accommodation, price, destination, and transport. If you sign up for a package holiday and find later that the information in the brochure is false, you can claim damages from the organiser.
2. You should also get all the information you need for travelling in writing before the contract is made - this includes passport and visa requirements, health and insurance formalities, and arrangements for repatriation if you need to get home in a hurry. If this information is not provided, the contract will not be deemed valid.
Can the tour operator change the price at short notice?
No - no changes to the price may be made within 20 days of the departure date. And price revisions may only be made in certain circumstances (e.g. to accommodate an increase in the cost of fuel).
What if I have an issue with the hotel or other service while I am away?
If an issue arises during the holiday, you should contact the organiser or local representative and ask them to resolve the matter. If it is not resolved, you should gather evidence - such as photographs and receipts - and write to the organiser within 28 days of returning home. More information on package travel is available on and you should contact them if you have a problem.