One factor in choosing holidays is the fear that things may not work well. So, people try to eliminate the risks – read reviews of previous customers of airlines, tour operators, landlords and car rentals. An overview of the basic rules and advice for situations when things go wrong was prepared by the European Consumer Centre.
“In a number of unpleasant situations, consumers have their rights and it’s good to be prepared. That’s why we developed a mobile application ‘ECC-Net: Travel’ for traveling in Europe – it contains information for 101 situations in 30 countries, plus phrases for complaints in 25 languages,” says Ondřej Tichota from the European Consumer Centres Network. The app can be downloaded for free in the Apple Store, Google Play, and Microsoft Windows Store.
Problems with flights and luggage
When passengers encounter flight cancellation or significant flight delays as well as luggage problems, they may be entitled to compensation. For flights it may be between 250 and 600 euros depending on the distance of the flight if the delay or cancellation was caused by a fault of the carrier.
“If there is an extraordinary circumstance such as weather or strike, there is no right for any compensation, but the operating carrier is obliged to take care of the passengers at least and provide them with free-of-charge refreshments and, if necessary, accommodation while waiting for a delayed flight or rerouting,” explains Ondřej Tichota.
In case of luggage delay, damage and loss, the amount of real damage incurred shall be proven by receipts up to approximately CZK 35,000, for example, for things that one had to buy in the destination. The Property Irregularity Report will be issued at the appropriate airport counter, and consequently the damage must be claimed in writing at the carrier within the particular deadline.
Beware of cancellation fees
Sometimes, Czechs book accommodation or a tour online and later they find a more favourable offer. Before cancelling the original reservation, it is advisable to read the terms of the contract with the other party – cancellation fees can be surprisingly high even if the consumers change their opinion during several hours only. The agreements must be kept – even those concluded with just one click on the internet.
Always take pictures of a rented car
Take a good look at the car you rent and take a picture of any obvious damages. Do the same when returning the car. It is advisable to return the car in person and ask for a written confirmation (protocol) on handover of the vehicle in accordance with the contract and without any further damage. “Thus, consumers will have evidence that they have not damaged the car, even if the car rental company claims the opposite, and for example, withdraws from consumer’s credit card an amount for an alleged car repair. It is also good to check whether one is expected to pay unnecessary fees for unneeded items and whether the affiliated insurance contains what is really needed,” notes Ondřej Tichota.