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Package travel: A trip through Europe

Do you discover cockroaches in your hotel room? Is there a building site instead of a lovely swimming pool? Was your rail & fly train delayed and therefore, you missed the flight? Then you can benefit from the new, fully harmonized European Package Travel Directive which has entered into force on 1st July 2018. The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) explains the recent changes.

  • The new regulation does not cover accommodation for residential purposes (including accommodation for long-term language courses), financial insurance such as travel insurance, as well as trips that are offered on an occasional basis by non-profit organizations to a limited group of travelers (for example, trips organized punctually by clubs for their members).

What rights do you have as of July 1, 2018?

  • In relation to the price modification, the organizer of the package travel can only increase the price of the trip if this right has been reserved in the contract and only if the increase responds to certain causes such as a variation in the price of fuel or other sources of energy, the level of taxes, fees or the applicable exchange rates. The increase will have to be notified to the traveler in a clear and understandable way no later than 20 calendar days before the start of the trip.
  • If the price increase exceeds 8% of the price of the package, the traveler may -within a reasonable period of time specified by the organizer- accept the proposed change or terminate the contract without paying a penalty.
  • Except for the modification of the price as indicated in the previous section, the organizer cannot unilaterally modify the clauses of the contract before the start of the trip unless the change is insignificant and the organizer or, if applicable, the retailer reports the traveler in a clear, understandable and prominent way in a durable support.
  • The consumer may assign the trip to another person with at least 7 calendar days prior to the beginning of the trip. This assignment may be subject to surcharges or other justifiable additional costs. The organizer must inform the traveler who gives up the trip of the costs.
  • The possible reimbursements or refunds for the payments made to which the traveler is entitled will be made within a period not exceeding 14 calendar days after the termination of the contract.
  • The traveler has a period of 14 calendar days to exercise his right of withdrawal without need of justification when he has contracted the trip outside the commercial establishment.
  • In case of emergency, the traveler has the right to receive adequate information on health services, local authorities and consular assistance, as well as to receive help in order to establish remote communications and find alternative travel formulas. In case the return trip cannot be made due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, the traveler is entitled to 3 nights of accommodation.
  • If the services provided are not in accordance with the contract, the company must offer equivalent alternative formulas, otherwise the traveler will be entitled to a reduction in the price and/or a possible compensation for damages. The deadline for these claims is, at least, 2 years.
  • The organizers will have to provide a guarantee to meet the obligations arising from the provision of their services and especially the reimbursement of advance payments and the repatriation of travelers in the event of their insolvency.

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