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EU’s cooling off period for holiday bookings may ‘devastate

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PostPosted: Dec 17th, '10, 21:40 
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Just seen this article in Travel Trade Gazette. What do you think about it?


fwh



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PostPosted: Dec 18th, '10, 11:58 
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I don't think it would work as it could lead to agents being out of pocket which would probably lead to more expensive holidays. What I would like to see though, is a short period after an internet booking, where details could be ammended without a forfeit. As it is now, if you press the wrong button e.g. wrong date, wrong airport or duration etc as soon as you pay and submit the booking you are tied in. If you subsequently read the confirmation and realize you have made a mistake, any alteration you need to make is classed as a change in booking and charged accordingly. It would make more sense to allow a period of a few hours or so after receiving confirmation to make free adjustments.



PostPosted: Dec 18th, '10, 14:59 
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I can see more expensive holidays if this proposal is adopted. Over time I have seen similar ideas put forward here on HT and the response has always been that it would drive up prices.
The problem will always be that you might have got it cheaper elsewhere, but just as with the other topic that keeps being raised is " I have now seen bad reviews what can I do" Whilst the internet has made it easier to get cheap deals it has made it just as easy to check out what others think before you book. I still think that many get carried away in the excitement of booking and do not read what it says in the brochure or on the net. Recently I found a great deal for a Thomson Platignum but found that it was miles from anywhere. Many would have booked first and checked later.
I do see the end of the low deposit facility if this comes in and large admin fees to cancel/change hoolidays. With regard to internet bookings and mistakes I would like to see a requirement for a confirmation to be sent and acknowledged that details are correct. This could be done within a very short time scale. But then again just as people do not read the T&Cs would they bother to read the acknowledgement.


fwh



PostPosted: Dec 18th, '10, 15:07 
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......so, if the amendment is adopted, the industry has got three years to arrange a procedure to delay payments with suppliers to save being out of pocket.

That's progress - what usually happens is the EU comes up with a new scheme, announces it well in advance, nobody pays any attention then a month before it starts business "leaders" express surprise and go running to the Daily Mail. Save that link, it will come in handy in about 35 months and don't forget the idea came from a British MEP!

The obvious get-out solution here is a non-refundable service charge for handling the booking which appears as a seperate item on the invoice. Yes, you can have the price of your holiday back - no, you can't have the charge for using our office services!

It will be interesting to see what they class as a "holiday booking", are we getting deeper into the old argument about what is/ isn't a package?



PostPosted: Dec 18th, '10, 21:20 
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I actually think it is one of the stupidist ideas I've ever read about.
It simply means that the consumer will be able to book what he likes, without thought or consequence.
The same person could book multiple holidays with different agencies, and then sit back and take his time deciding which to ultimately 'confirm'. Travel agents spend enough time on 'time wasters' as it is. We used to get so many people who came in looking for a holiday. They let you do the research, find the best deals, write it all down for them to take away and 'think about' - so they could book it themselves on the internet.
Any fee agents made for their services would have to be sizeable to offset the potential loss of booking non ref/non chg air tickets etc..
Surely that would just drive more people to the internet??? I could see the end of the high street agencies.



PostPosted: Dec 19th, '10, 00:54 
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Surely that would just drive more people to the internet???


I don't think it will make any difference. With all the rhetoric (I am being polite here) we are bombarded with it will probably apply to bookings on the net as well. We already have problems - oft aired on HT - about mistakes with internet bookings so it will only make things worse. Really is time that people acted like grown ups rather than having to hold their hands all the time.


fwh



PostPosted: Dec 19th, '10, 08:34 
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fwh wrote:
Quote:
Surely that would just drive more people to the internet???


Really is time that people acted like grown ups rather than having to hold their hands all the time.
fwh

I totally agree. You are supposed to be an 'adult' to book a holiday. Adults should learn to be responsible for their actions.



PostPosted: Dec 19th, '10, 09:13 
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this seems a little misguided, a more appropriate move would to be amend and enforce the Tour Package regulations, so that ANY agent selling a holiday whether it be a TO package or a built holiday have to conform and be bonded

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PostPosted: Dec 19th, '10, 13:06 
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What would be really useful (and almost completely impossible to do!) would be to make sure the agents gave proper information in the first place, had staff that knew what they were doing and had internet booking systems that worked properly. That way the customer would have no reason to change which the agent could be responsible for.

We know on here how many people have found they've got holidays booked for the wrong dates and been charged to alter them after something happened in an internet booking process. Some may have been careless but I've seen systems that change entries using old cookies. There needs to be regulation of site design to ensure that they can't change the data you put in and don't hide things off the bottom of the screen. And I speak as someone who spent the 90s designing software and always thought that was an obvious thing any designer would do! And they should give you a printed summary of what you booked at the end of the process so that if some other system changes things later there is no argument about whose fault it is. If you could guarantee the booking process was safe then there would be no need to allow changes caused by alledged mistakes in the process.

If the basic resort/hotel/flight information was accurate on the websites and in the brochures, so that customers knew exactly what they were getting before they booked, then there would be no need to let them cancel for changing their minds later. How many times have we had complaints on here where members have found out that they've booked on the basis of inaccurate info. There have even been cases of wrong photos being used showing a different place to the one described. If companies could be fined for simply publishing inaccurate details, without having to wait for someone to complain their holiday was ruined, maybe the operators would take more care and be more honest. And if the info was guaranteed accurate the customers wouldn't have a good reason to change their minds so wouldn't need this proposed law.

And then we come to the staff! How many people are sold holidays by reps who know nothing about the hotel/resort/country. It wouldn't cost companies anything if their staff were legally obliged to tell customers how little they know before a booking decision is made. If the rep is basically saying "I'm just here to take the money" then the customer can't complain later they were misled before they booked so won't need the right to cancel. There is a case still bouncing around this site where a family were sold a holiday with a flight to a hopelessly inappropriate airport and a 6 hour overnight taxi transfer in each direction because the rep hadn't a clue about the country but they didn't realise.

If you spend £5000 on a second hand car from a trader you have rights regarding the accuracy of the paperwork, the competancy of the staff and the description of the features and faults - so if you find something badly wrong when you get it home you can take it back. Spend £5000 on a family holiday and you don't have similar rights. This proposed law is a sledge hammer to crack a nut that should have been dealt with a long time ago. I agree completely with the comments about hand holding - I've always said the passport application process should include an aptitude test to stop the thick travelling - but too many genuine people have been sold the wrong holiday through no mistake of their own and the industry is never going to get it's act in order without a push like this.

And don't forget, even if this does become law, you can still book early and pay supplements to get a flight at a certain time. Then two weeks before you go the company can tell you the flight is retimed by 11hours and 59 minutes and you have no rights to cancel!



PostPosted: Dec 19th, '10, 13:28 
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Some very sensible comments on this topic but one thought that occurs is the reliance on the operators complaint system. Put in your complaint. Acknowledged, then wait 28 days for a meaningless reply. Complain further and into the 28 days syndrome etc. We have seen here on HT how succesful you can be if, having been fobbed off, the small claims court procedure can be. Sites such as HT are staffed by the members who have wide ranging and accurate knowledge to advise people about the process. If TOs were having to spend more time and money defending themselves in court they might start to take notice. They would see that they could not rely, as they do now, on people getting so fed up of the convulated system that they just give up.
Just as I have said about holding hands perhaps we should get rid of the myth that firing off an angry email actually serves any purpose. Use the system that is already there rather than try to reinvent the wheel.


fwh



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