Consumer authority issues warning on travel providers without travel compensation measures
Recently, the court of appeal in The Hague decided in favour of the Netherlands Consumer Authority (Consumentenautoriteit) in legal proceedings instituted with it. The Consumer Authority had brought the action in question against a tour operator that had failed to arrange the travel compensation measures required by law when providing package tours. The court of appeal ruled that the company, Akwaaba Tours B.V. from Maastricht, was to take steps to arrange the travel compensation measures required or stop providing package tours. The court imposed penalties on the company in order to force it to comply with the ruling. At the current time, this company is not offering the travel compensation required by law, but is still providing tours.
The company mentioned above is also required to publish a communication referring to the ruling by the court via its website. It has failed to do this to date. Because of this, the consumer authority is calling on consumers to carefully check that travel compensation is in place before booking their holidays.
Travel compensation offered by the travel industry
Tour operators that provide package tours are required by law to put measures in place in relation to the situation that would arise if they were to go into liquidation. These measures culminate in so-called travel compensation. Under travel compensation measures, travellers who have already paid their travel sum will have their money refunded if the tour operator goes into liquidation. Travellers who are already travelling will be repatriated. Most tour operators have arranged their travel compensation via the Travel Bookings Compensation Fund (Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden (SGR)). However, various activities undertaken by the consumer authority have revealed that a small group of travel companies have still not arranged travel compensation. These businesses are being summoned to appear in court. Rulings in a number of other cases are expected very soon.
Added to the above, consumers themselves must be alert and check which measures a travel provider has put in place to protect them should it go into liquidation. Tour operators are obliged to publicly state which measures they have taken.