New rule increases protection on package holidays

10/28/2015

On Tuesday, the European Parliament adopted a new law, which means that package holidays purchased online will receive the same protection as travels purchased at ordinary travel agencies.

As for now, an EU directive of 1990 protect consumers who book package holidays online – ie airfare, hotels and car rentals booked as a composite vacation package.

The new rules, which the European Parliament agreed upon October 27, ensures that consumers will get better possibilities to cancel a package holiday. From now on, consumers also will get access to clear information about who is ultimately responsible if something goes wrong with the purchase.

The main points of the new rules:

  • Package travel rules will cover two types of contract: package deals (pre-arranged by the tour organiser or customised by the traveller) and a new way of travel booking, called linked travel arrangements. These "click-through" deals where the traveller's name, payment details and e-mail address are transferred between traders and a second contract is concluded within 24 hours after the first service was booked, will be considered as a package deal.

  • Before holidaymakers enter into any contractual commitments, organisers and retailers must make it clear that they are buying a package and inform them of their rights and who is responsible if something goes wrong. It will also be obliged for the organiser to give travellers approximate departure and return times and an indication of the nature of any possible extra costs.

  • The right for travellers to cancel a package-deal contract and get their money back if the price of the package rises by more than 8% or if "unavoidable" events such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks strike the place of destination.

EU Member States now have two years to transpose the new rules into national law and another six months for them to take effect. A Swedish study is appointed, and a proposal for a Swedish legal text is to be presented in August 2016.