13 May 2015
Beware of the Holiday Rep
The welcome meeting at the crack of dawn on the day after your arrival at your hotel is something that is considered customary for many holidaymakers. Typically the rep treats you to a glass of the local tipple for you to sip whilst you are told about the hotel and the attractions in the resort. The rep's talk then moves on to the main purpose of the meeting which is to sell you their excursions.
Upon being told of horror stories about excursions that have taken place with local excursion providers, you feel comforted by the reassurance that you are fully covered if you book with the tour operator. Whilst the price may be a little more expensive, this is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that you are booking with a reputable company. Or are you?
What is very rarely pointed out to you at these meetings is that you are not always contracting with the reputable tour operator as you are led to believe. The rep does not highlight that the tour operator may simply be selling the excursion on behalf of a local provider and they are simply acting as agent for that provider.
So what does this mean? Well, in short, if you are injured on a holiday as a result of the negligence or breach of duty of the local provider, the tour operator may not be liable and you will have to seek remedy from the foreign provider often in the courts of the country where this occurred. Unfortunately, this often means that your damages will be extremely low and the cost of bringing the claim abroad make it uneconomical to pursue.
What can you do to avoid this problem? If you are booking a package holiday then you are best advised to book your excursion at the same time of booking your package holiday. This way, there is more chance that you are booking your excursion with the tour operator as part of a package holiday and therefore remedy can be sought against the tour operator, in the English courts with the correct level of English damages.
If you do decide to book an excursion at the welcome meeting with the rep then be sure to read the small print to find out who you are booking with. Often at the bottom of the excursion list there is a disclaimer to show who you are actually booking with. It is always wise to ask the rep and take a note of the rep's name, but there is no guarantee that the information you are given is correct. If there is a dispute as to what you were told, tour operators will point you straight to the written documents that you were provided with as evidence of what you were actually told by the rep and all you have to rely on at that stage is the faded memory of what was said by the rep several months earlier which is further clouded by the large glass of that local tipple you were given at the outset.
For a free consultation about an injury sustained on holiday, call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or from abroad on +44 20 7657 155. Alternatively you can contact us online and we will call you.