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ACM instructs MediaMarkt to adjust its ‘Grand Prix’ holidays

Instructed by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to do so, consumer electronics retailer MediaMarkt has adjusted the way they sell their so-called Grand Prix holidays. MediaMarkt now makes clear who organizes these holidays, and displays their prices in a more transparent manner. In addition, the company that organizes these holidays now also offers the statutorily mandated warranty scheme for package tours. Finally, the credit card fees for these holidays have been set at €0, which is below the current maximum. Consumers who paid too much in credit card fees have been reimbursed.  

What was the issue?

Several weeks ago, ACM received indications alleging that ‘MediaMarkt Club’ did not properly comply with consumer protection regulations when selling the Grand Prix package holidays. ACM subsequently assessed the situation. As a result, MediaMarkt made several adjustments:

  • The unavoidable fixed costs of the holidays are now easy-to-spot at a single glance;
  • Consumers receive information about, among other things, who organizes the holidays;
  • The statutorily mandated warranty scheme for bankruptcies has been taken care of; 
  • No credit card fees will be charged. Consumers who have already booked a holiday will be reimbursed any excess credit card fees that they may have paid.  

Bernadette van Buchem, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, explains: “The rules that protect consumers are not in place for nothing. It is important that everyone complies with these rules when selling travel products. With this swift intervention, we have been able to prevent further harm to consumers.”

New rules for package tours

ACM enforces compliance with consumer protection rules. Over the next couple of months, ACM will closely monitor whether MediaMarkt and other providers of package holidays comply with the rules, and, more precisely, with the requirement to have taken care of at least the warranty scheme for bankruptcies. New rules for package holidays are expected to come into effect on July 1, 2018. After that date, more providers of package holidays are expected to have such a warranty scheme for bankruptcies than currently is the case. That is why ACM already points out the existing rules to providers of package holidays.

What are package holidays?

Package holidays consist of different elements:

  • Transport and accommodation (overnight stay or a stay of more than 24 hours)
  • Or one of the above plus another tourist service that is an essential part of the holiday such as pre-booked excursions. 

When consumers take out the entire package or a part thereof, it is usually considered a package holiday, to which specific rules apply. For example, a warranty scheme must be in place for paying back the costs of the holiday and repatriation of travelers if the tour operator goes bankrupt.