NEWS RELEASE – 19 December 2020: Complaints about travel providers: Consumers can no longer see the wood for the trees and more and more travel providers are making a mess of it. Travelers often don't get their money back or get their money back too late pressured to accept vouchers, which is not allowed by law. The consumer association therefore started a corona holiday hotline to gain insight into travel providers, vouchers, complaints and compliments. Do you have a good or bad experience with a travel provider, make a report!
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A lot of uncertainty about holidays and flights
There is still a lot that is unclear about travel and the provision of information from travel providers. Earlier this week, for example, we reported about TUI that was going to use extra flights to Aruba and Bonaire just before Christmas, because the travel advice for these islands was changed to yellow. Two days later there was news again, the Dutch government canceled all holiday flights and announced a global code orange at. A worldwide negative travel advice to, among other things, reduce the crowds at Schiphol.
This constant jumble of information makes it very difficult for travelers to make choices or to know where they stand. There is still a lot of uncertainty as to which flights have been canceled or not. In principle, all package holidays (flight + hotel) have been canceled by the Dutch government, because they have a holiday character and are therefore not necessary. For the time being, the regular flights will continue.
The various travel providers and airlines have to deal with a huge number of changes and requests. This may be part of the problem and why travelers are dealing with incorrect or incomplete information. This is also a very difficult situation for them.
Many complaints during the corona crisis
Because many travelers receive unclear information and do not know where they stand, many complaints are received at the Consumers Association.
The Consumers' Association says: “Since the start of the corona crisis in March, the Consumers' Association has received hundreds of complaints about airlines, travel organizations, holiday parks and booking websites. Travel providers forced consumers to accept vouchers, did not refund money from canceled flights on time or did not reimburse the full travel sum. Fees were also incorrectly charged when rebooking. In addition, customer services were often poor or not available at all.”
“As a result of the complaints, the Consumers' Association held many discussions with sector organisations, travel providers, politicians and regulators ACM and ILT. Some of the complaints were subsequently resolved. Or a recovery was promised. With the reports from this hotline, the Consumers' Association wants to gain insight into whether all promises have been fulfilled and where the bottlenecks still lie."
Understanding for travel providers
Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumers' Association says: “We understand the difficult situation in which travel providers find themselves. But that does not automatically mean that consumers have to pay for it. Travel providers must comply with the legal rules, even in these special circumstances. We like to hear from consumers where the biggest problems are still present. With these signals we can take action more quickly and in a more targeted way and enter into discussions with companies, industry associations, regulators and the minister.”
Can you refuse a voucher?
The answer is yes† A voucher is in fact an interest-free credit. If you would rather want your money back because you don't know when you can go on holiday or because you need the money because you have also been affected by the corona crisis, you can simply request the money back. In principle, you do not even have to give a reason, if you request your money back, the travel provider must comply with your request. That is simply the law and travel providers must abide by it.
Report to corona holiday hotline
Have you had a good or bad experience with a travel provider? Then let the consumer association know via the corona holiday hotline. Also good experiences are welcome† Some travel providers are very flexible with their customers and they should be put in the spotlight, according to the consumer association.