The travel and tourism industry is very diverse and offers many different types of services that would be too long to list, however, four main categories can be identified which could give rise to disputes:
- Those relating to transport e.g. overbooking, loss of luggage, delays and cancellations.
- Relating to accommodation e.g. room category different from the one purchased, location different from the one purchased etc.
- Relating to restaurants, bars, catering and gastronomy e.g. food poisoning, unsatisfactory location and lack of hygiene.
- Relating to other services purchased, like Spa, sport facilities, entertainment, etc.
If the consumer had purchased the service directly (for example flights tickets and hotel separately) they will have to direct their complaint to the individual company. If the consumer had purchased the service through a third party like a travel agency they will have to address their complaint to the to the service provider. In cases of package holidays the complaint must be directed to the tour operator.
A package holiday is defined as containing two of three items : accommodation, travel or some service that is a significant part of the product and sold in one inclusive price. The information contained in the brochure will be binding on the organizer and the travel agency, unless the changes are notified in writing before the signing of the contract. Unless otherwise agreed price can only be modified to amend the transport price, taxes, or currency exchange. If, the travel starts, and the company is then forced to change any essential items of the contract the customer will be entitled to either accept the change without any increase in price or to terminate the travel. If the agreement for combined travel is cancelled without the consumer’s fault, the customer shall be entitled to choose between a refund of the amount paid or to take another combined travel with an equal or higher value. Travel agencies are not obliged to compensate the consumer if travel is cancelled due the minimum number of persons required not being fulfilled, as long as the customer is informed in writing, by the Company minimum 10 days before the starting date of the combined travel. In cases of force majeure, travel agencies are not obliged to compensate the consumer for cancelling the combined travel. The organizing travel agency and the retailer selling the travel package will be held liable to the customer for non-compliance with any contractual obligations, regardless of whether they were obliged to comply with the obligations themselves or provided by a third party.
Organizers and sellers are obliged to file a bond throughout the term of the agreement, as established by the Autonomous Communities, to secure their obligations under the combined travel agreement, particularly for reimbursement in the case of insolvency.