Complaints by UK consumers about accommodation services whilst in Europe are rising. Image By Sam D'Cruz AdobeStock_173954166

Complaints by UK consumers about accommodation services whilst in Europe are rising

UK European Consumer Centre research found that complaints and questions about places to stay such as hotels and villas went up by almost 16% from January 2018 to the end of November compared to the same period last year.

The number of visits abroad by UK residents has increased from 55.6 million in 2010 to a peak of 72.7 million visits in 2017, it’s clear that UK travellers need more accommodation.

Andy Allen, service director at UK ECC, said:

“The rights of the independent traveller within Europe can be different from those of the package holiday traveller, who has extra rights under the new 2018 Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.

“While UK residents are making more visits abroad, many consumers do not realise that visitors who just book their accommodation online have no right to cancel – it is not covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations which came into force on 13 June 2014.”

A long list of accommodation problems

Accommodation problems when booking or staying at independent accommodation includes anything from disappointment at the facilities, to broken equipment right through even to non-existent accommodation.

If a visitor is persuaded into paying for accommodation which simply doesn’t exist, then that is a breach of contract.

A ‘contract’ may also be breached if the accommodation provided does not do what its terms and conditions say. Problems in this area may, for example, include substituting different accommodation.

What are your rights if there is a breach of contract?

The consumer actually has a right in law to be put back into the position they would have been in if the contract had been carried out correctly. Or at least to be compensated if this is not possible (for example, a refund or a different room to a suitable standard).

And Andy has this advice for consumers unhappy with their accommodation:

“It’s always best for consumers to make any complaint about their accommodation as soon as possible, whilst actually on holiday if possible, as this gives the trader the opportunity to put things right.

“Consumers should take photographs to support their complaint, as proving the cause of a complaint can be problematic once back in the UK.

“It’s also worth knowing that if you are holidaying in Spain there is specific legislation on tourism – which includes a hotels regulation specific to each Autonomous Community.”

The aim of the UK ECC is to help as many UK consumers to achieve a positive result as possible: a refund, replacement, repair or cancellation of their contract. Its core purpose is to help consumers.

UK consumers can use the advice and support of the UK European Consumer Centre if they have a dispute with a trader based in an EU country outside the UK – 01268 886690 between 9am and 5pm or www.ukecc.net.