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Tips to help make that holiday chaos feel better.
Guest post by Zoe Price
There are few things that can be as disheartening as having your holiday ruined by incompetence, negligence, or plain fraud. Having to go through the process of claiming compensation after having been slighted is even worse. Not only do you have to deal with financial loss and a ruined trip, but you have to wait in uncertainty until you can get retribution – that’s if you’re even eligible. Let’s take a look at what should be done if you’ve just been through a rough holiday and think a third party might be the cause.
Know Your Rights as a Passenger
Know that while some delays are completely normal and out of the control of the airline, there are circumstances when you could actually get compensation for flights delayed over a certain limit, refused boarding because of an overcrowded flight, or short-term cancellations (under 14 days). If that is the case and you were travelling with British Airways, for example, services like Flightright could help you get compensated. You can visit their website and see what they can do for you.
Flightright have been representing passengers for more than eight years and are known to get results. They also have a free online calculator that you can use to see if you are eligible. They will help you no matter your ticket’s cost and have a 99% success rate when taking cases to court. They have deep knowledge of the industry and how airlines work, and know how to get the maximal compensation for their clients. Once you have established that you may have a case, they will fight for you and make sure that you get the compensation you deserve fast in exchange for a small fee. They also have access to crucial data and the expertise necessary to know if the airline was truly responsible, or if it was due to circumstances out of their control.
What Constitutes Extraordinary Circumstances
You should know that the law can be very vague when it comes to assessing whether delays or cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances. For one, strikes are usually considered extraordinary circumstances, and if it can be proven that the delay was caused by one, you might not be eligible. Some carriers will also try to complicate things in order not to pay passengers. For instance, Jet2 will intentionally hide the reason for delays. Or they will change the reason at different times over the claim’s course. This is why it often helps to work with professionals who will be able to circumvent these roadblocks and get to the root of the issue.
Car rental companies are also known for trying to overcharge their clients. In one case, a UK man was asked to pay £564 by Europcar for a “75mm to 150mm” scratch. The driver disputed the claim, and Europcar first stated that they weren’t able to process damage claims for a few months. They then claimed that their systems were down. They finally were forced to settle after it was found that there was no picture of the vehicle before it was rented anywhere in their records. And this only happened after the case got media attention.
A few other ways a car hiring company could try to swindle you could be through hidden fuel shortfall clauses or shady insurance policies. But inflated repairs are probably the worst; not only will they often try to get you to pay for damage you weren’t responsible for, but they will charge you inflated prices for the repairs themselves when they actually get deals through partnerships most of the time.
What’s worse is that they can often directly take out the money from your credit card if they feel you’re responsible. If you feel like you’re being taken for a ride, no pun intended, what you can do is say that your payment is being made “under protest” and claim the money back from your credit card issuer under the Consumer Credit Act.
Online services like Booking.com and Expedia are also known for trying to dodge responsibility when it comes to issues. In one case, one family was asked to find another place to stay after arriving to their Turkey hotel which was booked and paid through Booking.com. They then refused to reimburse the family for the other room stating that they should’ve called them at the wee hours of the morning before booking, even though there was no phone number included in their booking confirmation.
While the CMA announced that laws would be changed in order to protect consumers from bad practices, there is still much more that needs to be done. While the new stipulations cite that booking websites have to point dissatisfied travellers through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, there is nothing obligating them to actually be members. As a matter of fact, Booking.com, who happens to be one of the worst offenders, declined to do so. So, until the sector is better regulated, it would be wise to look for alternatives.
Knowing your rights as a passenger is essential if you want to be able to actually defend them. You are not at the mercy of car hire companies, resorts, or airlines, no matter how powerful they can seem to be. Know what you’re entitled to and don’t stop until you get the compensation you deserve.