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extra charges on a holiday

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jefner | 21:51 Wed 24th Jan 2007 | Law
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Please help! we have booked to go to ibiza in May with Going Places/Airtours. They cancelled the flights we were supposed to be on and changed them to 2 days later. They also downgraded us to a 1 bedroom apartment from a 2 bedroom and then told us we had to pay �120 more. They told us we could have the 2 bedroom apartment but only if we flew from gatwick and there would be no extra charge. Unfortunately gatwick is a 4-5 hour drive from home - longer than the flight to Ibiza! can they charge us when they changed everything? ABTA do not want to know - they only get involved when you have corresponded with the company and have not got anywhere - i havent gone this far - yet! Can anyone help? thank you

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Have you looked at the booking conditions attached to your contract with Airtours. There is bound to be a clause about unavoidable changes they might have to make, but you should have the option of cancelling for a full refund. Not much consolation in place of a holiday but at least you can try and book somewhere else.
For proper legal advice you should consult a solicitor, but...

Under section 11 of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 the only price increases allowed are those for increased transport costs (fuel prices, etc), increased taxes and exchange rate fluctuations.

Section 12 requires the operator to notify the consumer of any significant changes (to what was in the brochure) as soon as possible, and grants the consumer the right to cancel WITHOUT PENALTY, or to accept the changes.

If you are unwilling to accept the changes to the holiday you could write to the Tour Operator (as soon as possible), requiring a full refund, and stating that you will take legal action if the refund is not made.

If you're willing to travel 2 days later, and up for a fight, you could write to the Tour Operator and demand either the 2 bedroom apartment or a reduction in price (for the 1 bed). If you cannot agree a new deal you can then cancel anyway.

You should also check the reason for the cost increase, unless it is for one of the reasons above it could be illegal.

Hope this helps.

LS
The holiday you booked is not the holiday you will receive. If you wanted to change one little thing they would charge you handsomely for it.

The flight changes alone warrant a full refund of all monies paid and that is what you should do.
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thanks to everyone who replied - i am off to the travel agent armed with my new found knowledge and hoping for a good result!

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