Consumer protection: new travel law also brings disadvantages

Consumer protection: New travel law also brings disadvantages

The new travel law is a source of criticism. "The standard in germany was very high, mainly due to case law. Overall, the law means a deterioration for consumers," said felix methmann of the federation of german consumer organizations (vzbv) to the deutsche presse-agentur.

In addition methmann fears competition disadvantages for smaller and middle tour operators.

Background to the changes, which came into effect on 1. The EU package travel directive, which is to provide better protection for online bookings in particular, will come into force on 1 july. The legislator had a certain amount of leeway when it came to transposing the law into national law. "Day trips up to 500 euros as well as vacation homes and vacation apartments of tour operators no longer fall under the travel law", methmann criticized.

Vacationers who book at least two different services, such as flights and hotels separately, should receive minimal basic protection, according to methmann. Package holidaymakers get their money back in the event of the organizer’s insolvency, can reduce the price in the event of defects and claim damages. "In principle, there was already this protection by the jurisdiction for building block trips, if a vacationer in the travel agency or on a portal has individually arranged and booked various services for the purpose of a trip," explained methmann.

In the future, the agent will not be liable for defects if he invoices each service individually and points out that it is not a package tour, said methmann. "The agent then only has to insure himself against insolvency. And that too only if it takes customer money. Thus holiday-makers stand worse, than before the law change."The travel association DRV points out, however, that the customer money collected by the travel agency has not been protected so far.

Industry leader tui and other major tour operators will in future also offer individual services with package tour protection. "Medium-sized providers are unlikely to be able to afford this because of the cost of insolvency insurance for individual services," methmann fears. "This can distort competition."

From the point of view of the consumer protection agency, there is an improvement for vacationers who book individual services, such as flights and rental cars, on the internet within 24 hours by clicking on them. "The first with whom bookings are made and who forwards to the next page is liable for the entire package like a package tour provider".

The travel industry, on the other hand, complains about uncertainty and the expense of forms. The agent must inform the vacationer with a form what kind of trip he is booking – a package trip or several individual services.

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