The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a warning to travel and hospitality businesses to improve the clarity of cancellation fees when guests are booking a trip.
The CMA has launched a new campaign in a bid to encourage companies to give customers clearer Ts and Cs in contracts and be more up front about charges and fees in the event of a cancellation.
Under consumer law, businesses may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee to cover their losses, but the amount they keep must be in proportion to what they are losing.
Cancellation terms that don’t follow this approach are likely to be unfair and businesses can’t rely on them to resolve claims or disputes with customers.
The ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign is being run in partnership with the lead associations representing the holiday and travel industry, including ABTA – The Travel Association, UKHospitality and the Specialist Travel Association (AITO) amongst others.
Paul Latham, the CMA’s director of strategy and communications, 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.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The CMA’s campaign has followed legislation aimed at providing crucial accuracy and transparency for both businesses and customers. It is vitally important that our customers have full confidence when they make a booking with a hotel, a restaurant, a B&B or any other hospitality business.
“A clear understanding of terms and conditions can help foster an open and responsive relationship that gives our customers peace of mind and boosts businesses.”