Wednesday 17 April 2019 12:08 pm

Competition watchdog warns holiday booking sites over trip cancellation costs

The UK’s competition watchdog has issued a warning to holiday booking websites to make customer terms and conditions clear.

A total of one in five customers who had cancelled a booking in the past felt they had been treated unfairly, a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) survey found, as the regulator told travel businesses to make sure their policies were fair.

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The watchdog reminded firms that holiday cancellation fees must be kept in proportion to the amount the business will lose, but did not announce any punishment for companies that fail to comply.

CMA director of strategy and communications Paul Latham said: “Nobody wants to cancel a trip or holiday, but if you have to, it’s important that you are treated fairly and don’t lose out more than is absolutely necessary.

“Our campaign is asking travel businesses to ‘check in’ on their terms to make sure they’re fair. Fair terms are a legal requirement as well as helping reassure customers that they’re dealing with a company they can trust.

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“Unfair terms can’t be enforced so they also won’t protect businesses if challenged. The small print really can make a big difference.”

The CMA survey of 2,000 people, which was carried out by Ipsos Mori, also found that 89 per cent of holiday goers felt they should get all, or most of their money back if they cancel a trip and the business re-sells their booking.