Apr 4, 2016

Posted by in Trip Advice | 89 Comments

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How to book your next holiday with confidence

A new report released by the London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, ABTA and Get Safe Online has revealed that holidaymakers lost £11.5 million in 2015 as a result of holiday booking fraud.

Coastal view in Montenegro

According to the report, the level of travel fraud has rocketed by 425% compared to 2014 – up from £2.2 million – highlighting how important it is to stay vigilant when booking holidays online.

It revealed that the biggest areas for fraud included criminals hacking real accounts and websites to exploit people booking holiday accommodation, fake tickets for airline flights, fraudulent tickets for big sporting events and popular religious pilgrimages, as well as timeshares and holiday clubs.

So, to help you prevent any holiday disasters, we’ve put together some simple tips to ensure you can book your next break safely and securely.

How should you pay for your trip?

Man booking travel with credit card

These days, many of us look out for charges being added to our bookings when we pay by card, which can hike the cost of our travel plans by up to 2.5%.

However, there are benefits to paying by credit card – namely that you are covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act when paying for anything by this method, as long as the amount being paid is £100 or more.

And that means you are protected should your holiday company, airline or other travel arranger go out of business – well worth the small cost of an extra card charge.

What’s more, this is the case even if you only pay for part of your holiday by credit card and the remainder by another payment type, so long as the total payment comes to £100 or more.

If you don’t have a credit card, or the transaction is under £100 in value, then the best option is to pay the whole amount by debit card.

MasterCard and Visa operate a chargeback scheme that will generally pay out should your travel plans disintegrate before you set off.

And that’s a lot better than paying by cash, cheque, pre-paid card or bank transfer, with which you receive no protection at all.

Should you look for ATOL, ABTA or other cover when booking?

The ATOL logo

There is a lot of confusion around the financial protection offered by organisations such as ATOL and ABTA, with many holidaymakers failing to understand what’s on offer and getting mixed up regarding the benefits offered by the various schemes.

That’s hardly surprising when you consider that ATOL holders can also be ABTA members, and ABTA members can sell trips that are not ATOL covered.

So, to help keep it simple, we advise looking out for companies that can book your trip with what is known as ATOL cover, which ensures that you will be looked after if either all or part of the travel you have booked goes wrong.

Should something happen before you travel, for example your travel company going out of business or the FCO advising against all but essential travel to the destination you are visiting, you would receive a full refund, replacement travel or new dates of travel, depending on the situation.

And should problems arise while you are away, you would get the help you need to continue your holiday as planned or assistance getting home.

For more information about what ATOL means, or if you wish to check an ATOL licence, head to the CAA website.

Not everyone can get ATOL cover, though, which only applies to package holidays in the main.

Fortunately, however, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) provides cover that protects you if you pay money to one of its members which then goes out of business before they have paid any airlines, tour operator or other travel company.

Similar schemes are offered by the Global Travel Group and the Travel Trade Association, so remember to ask if a travel agent is a member of one of them (and check their answer is accurate with the relevant organisation) before confirming a booking, be it online, in a shop or by phone.

If you are independently booking a flight, ferry crossing or hire car, on the other hand, remember that such travel arrangements are NOT covered by ATOL or any agency protection scheme when booked direct.

Consequently, it is best to protect yourself by paying by credit or debit card as described above.

What if my booking is not covered by the ATOL scheme?



DIY travel arrangements such as flights, a hotel or a day trip are unlikely to be covered by ATOL. So if your travel plans fall into this category, it is sensible to take steps to protect yourself.

Firstly, ensure you have a travel insurance policy that includes End Supplier Failure. This covers you for unexpected losses if any part of your travel plans collapse due to a company going out of business. Our travel insurance search tool will help you to find companies that offer it – simply filter your results to find the right cover for you.

Secondly, pay by credit or debit card to get the protection described above.

How to avoid fraudulent websites

Woman snared by fraudulent travel website

The sheer wealth of flight, hotel and holiday options now available online has led to an increase in fake websites trying to catch out unsuspecting consumers.

In response to an influx of complaints reporting such fraudulent travel websites, ABTA has outlined some key warnings that you should be aware of when booking your holiday on the internet.

First of all, if the site you’re on is offering holiday prices a lot cheaper than other competitors in the field it could be a warning of fraud. The reason for this? Airlines set the fares, so they are largely the same across all providers.

Other key indicators of fraudulent travel websites include constantly being ignored when chasing up missing tickets and the only payment option available being a bank transfer. This last one is particularly important as it suggests no bank will offer credit card facilities.

Another big giveaway is a cheap-looking, low-resolution site, with fuzzy logos for the major trade associations (such as ABTA) and credit card companies. Remember, most fraudsters are looking for a quick rip-off, so investing large sums of money into a fake website isn’t high on their priority list – scrutinising these little details could save you a lot of hassle, and money, in the long run.

Even something as small as a change in the domain name – for example, going from a co.uk to .org – could be a sign of fraud.

What should I do if I suspect I’ve been a victim of fraud?

There is no reason to be embarrassed about being the victim of fraud. People behind scams are professionals who spend their lives trying to catch out others – the worst thing you can do is sit at home and do nothing.

If you think you’re a victim, or know someone who is, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Alternatively, you can register online here.

And finally….

Seen an offer that looks too good to be true? An amazing price when everyone else seems to be fully booked? If in any doubt at all, put the company name into a search engine and check the reviews and comments made by other travellers.

Then double-check the memberships and licences they trade under, and remember to only pay by credit or debit card. That way, you should avoid becoming a victim of any form of travel fraud and having your dream break turning into a holiday from hell.

Now you know how to book your holiday securely, it’s time to get looking and get away for less in 2016.

Please note: This is an updated version of a previously-published article. All facts were correct at the time of updating.

Do you have any questions about booking your next holiday securely? Leave a comment below to let us know.

  1. im really stressing because i put a cash deposit of 200 down to go to spain in may…however i will be be paying my whole balance in cash cos i dont use credit cards,,,,so will my holiday not be protected..this is at thomas cook…thet sed that cos i paid the lowest deposit option that i still have to pay it in full which makes it 525…but i get no holiday and loose that amount..i cant afford to do that im only parttime job and single parent…please help

    • Hi Sandra,

      As you have booked a package (flight + accommodation) with Thomas Cook (who are ATOL holders) you will be protected so there is no need to worry.

      I hope that helps.



  2. Hi

    I have booked a hotel through a website called olotels.com and I have since read that customers sometimes have problems with hotels not being booked or being swapped to worse hotels at the last minute. I currently have no reason to doubt them but I am concerned as I dont want to turn up at the hotel with no reservation and be left paying for the full cost again or even having to move hotels(friends and family are in the hotel so this is not an option to me).

    What sort of cover do I need to take out to cover myself against having to pay for a hotel room again? I paid for it all on credit card so I can claim any money back from them but I dont want to be left paying twice as much for my room should they fail to provide the service.


  3. I’ve booked a holiday packege with easyJet and made a deposit of £600 but unfornately a serious situation has accured and i cant go on to this holiday is there a way i can get my money back asap? HELP PLEASE

  4. we have booked and paid for a trip to goa in india for our 20th wedding anaversary , we found out after we paid the full amount that we need a visa for india , now we have never been on holiday before , we did not even have a passport so we never really knew anything about going abroad , now we have applied for our visa’s and there should be no problem getting them but if we dont get them and cant go on holiday what will happen to the money we have paid wich was nearly £2000 , we booked with thomas cook , i am very worried incase we dont get our visa’s which cost us another £100 , then the passports we had to pay for , its all added up so you can imagine my fears , will we get our money back in full or will they offer us a new holiday , your help would be greatly appreciated

  5. Katy J says:

    My holiday will cost £3000 , I paid a £300 deposit by debit card. I want to pay the remaining balance partly by debit card and partly by visa. To qualify for the protection that visa payment offer how much do I have to pay on my Visa card.

  6. RACHEL says:

    We booked a holiday yesterday and paid for it now the company who are ATOL protected have called and said the price of the hotel has gone up and the baggage was not included and want nearly 200.00 more for the holiday. what can i do.

  7. sirs
    booking a flight only thro the above website they are asking for optional additional fees to atol protection and for a scheduled airline failure administration fee. are they really necessary or are they trying to sell you something that is not needed?

  8. martin says:


    I am booking a flight and hotel through virgin holidays, but I do not have my own credit card, if I use a friends card to pay the deposit, and use my own debit card to make the other payments will I be covered?



  9. Stella Chiotis says:

    Hi there, there is a charge of around £28 for booking Ryan air flights with a Visa Credit card, will a Barclays Visa Debit card give me the same benefits as a credit card?

  10. graham smith says:

    hi we booked our holiday at the travel agents to tunisia and paid deposit but have now read some very very bad reviews about hotel including prostitution activity in the hotel can we ask to change hotels we are with thomas cook

  11. Paid by credit card for holiday only to find ive been scamed is there anthing I can do

    • Hi there

      If your transaction by card is over £100, you should contact your card company and ask them to do a charge back for no delievery of the product. You should then be able to recover the monies.

      Let us know how you get on.


  12. I found this website through cheapflights.co.uk – I called them to book. I am really worried the company is not legit or something will go wrong, they say they have ATOL and are registered with TTA – not sure what to do?

  13. Julie says:


    We have just arrived from a weekend in Nice which we booked through Tour Center – flights & hotel. Outbound with Easyjet which booked in online and return with Monarch. When I tried to book in with Monarch it wouldnt accept my booking info so I phoned Tour Center and they told me MOnarch do not require online booking and I could do it at the airport.

    When we got to Nice Airport this morning the flight they had booked us on with Monarch had been withdrawn. This was done earlier in the year and Monarch say they contacted Tour Center with this information in June but did not get a reply. We could not get hold of anyone at Tour center and ended up paying £600 to fly home as most flights were full. I have emailed Tour Center asking for a refund of the £600 but they have not replied yet.

    What should I do if they dont reply or refund my money.

    • Hi there

      Tour Center claim on their website to be operating under CAA ATOL 3517 and I would imagine that they sold you this deal as part of a package covered by their ATOL licence.http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=1080&pagetype=70

      This requries them to find alternative flight arrangements for you should a flight they arrange no longer operate.

      The first thing is to complain to them. They are a travel agent http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=1080&pageid=143

      They should acknowledge your complaint within a week and reply in full within 28 days.

      If they fail to reply adequately refer them to Citizens Advice or threathen them with taking out a small claims procedure to revoer your losses.

      They would appear to be clearly at fault here and should pay out.

      Kind regards


    • Hi there

      What an awful way to start your holiday. Im sure Thomson never intend for this kind of thing to happen, however it appears that they didn’t handle it as well as they could have done for you and your family.

      The first thing to do is to write to them and make a formal complaint. Make the point that you lost a day of your holiday for the travel delay. Their booking conditions are here;

      http://www.thomson.co.uk/editorial/legal/booking-terms-and-conditions.html – these tell you how to make a complaint and also talk about travel delays. You should aslo tell them about the case and that you could not get food, I assume you asked if they could bring food to your room? If you hae receipts for food you purchased submit these as well.

      You should also ask them if they are paying out under EU261 flight delay compensation which runs as a separate issue to how they handled the delay itself.

      Finally check your travel inusrance to see if you can claim for travel delay on that. You will need a letter from Thomson to confirm your delay for this.

      I trust that once you arrived you enjoed your holiday and your journey back to the UK was trouble free.

      Do let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards


  14. Meera J says:

    My family and I traveled to Malta during the October half term. we booked scheduled flights via Vienna, using Austrian Airline to Vienna and Air Malta to Malta.Our luggage did not arrive for 2 days of our 5 day stay. We had to buy emergency supplies which we kept to a bare minimum. We now need to claim for these and the inconvenience. I booked these flights using my Visa debit card. Please can you advice as to whether we have any cover/ protection.
    Thank you

    • Hi there Meera

      There are two courses of action open to you.

      1. Contact Austrian Airlines Customer Services and file a complaint for your losses. I assume that you completed a PIR at Malta when your bags did not arrive and they gave you some guidance on what you could and could not buy.
      You should attach scanned in receipts for your purchases. They will then deal with you direct.

      2. You should check your travel insurance and if you have delayed baggage cover you can claim on that within one month of returning to the UK. You will need a letter from Austrian Airlines confirming the amount of time your bags were delayed in reaching you.

      Do let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards

  15. John Scott-A says:

    I am considering going to Burma. I have agreed the price with a tour operator in Burma who accepts payment by credit card, What protection would I enjoy if he fails to meet the required tours including the hotels and internal flights etc. but not international flights which I shall book separately here in the UK

    • Hi there

      You have no protection under CAA rules as this company is not registered in the UK.

      However, as long as the transaction is over £100 in value you have protection under the Consumer Credit Directive should either the company fail or if you arrive and they have not made your arrangments. However you may be then left with international flights and no holiday. Unless those flights are fully refundable you will be left holding those.

      I would also ensure you take out an insurance policy with End Supplier Failure cover to protect you in this instance.

      Have a great trip.


  16. I booked a holiday flights with Easy jet for a family holiday and have now found out that my sons partner is pregnant and will be 40 weeks by the time we fly which is against the airlines policy. they have said that we cannot get a refund, as we paid by Barclaycard does anyone know if we would be entitled to get cover from them.


    • Hi Joe,

      Thank you for your comment (and congratulations to your son and his partner).

      Does your son’s partner have travel insurance? If so, it is worth checking the terms and conditions of her policy (or ringing up the company she has bought it through) to find out if it covers this type of cancellation.

      If not, you could try the Barclaycard route (as long as you paid more than £100 for the flights on it). However, this is not a standard claim under the section 75 rules so you may have to appeal to their good will. If you are not happy with Barclaycard’s response, the Financial Ombudsman may also be able to help.

      Alternatively, could you change the date of your family holiday and travel before your son’s partner is over the airline’s travelling limit for pregnant women?

      Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

  17. Saffron2345 says:

    I have made direct contact with a 5*hotel I stayed in a few years ago and they have offered me a good rate for accommodation and half board as well as complimentary transfers to/from airport. They have provided me with their business bank account and requested I transfer in Dinars the full amount from my bank in UK. Credit cards usually give protection when purchasing from within the UK. Is this a safe option to deal direct?

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I’d suggest going back to your hotel and asking whether you can pay by credit card instead. This will give you financial protection should anything go wrong – and peace of mind in the run up to your holiday.

      If you pay by bank transfer or cash you won’t receive any financial protection (unless you book your hotel as part of an ATOL-backed package holiday).

      Have a great time in Dubai,

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am booking a villa but the company will only accept cash transfer or chequesunless a 45 syrcharge is paind to use credit or debit crads. The company is not ABTA or ATOL registered. Should I avoid this??

    • Good morning

      If you choose to pay by cash or bank transfer for travel products that are not ATOL or ABTA backeed then you have to accept that you have no protection at all should the company you are booking with go out of business or there be problems with the booking itself.

      You could ensure that you take out a travel insurance policy which has an End Supplier Failure cause, however this will only give you limited protection dependent on the ts and cs of your actual policy.

      The decision has to be yours.

      Kind regards


      • Charles says:


        If I pay for a villa £100 deposit by credit card then the rest by Bank Transfer then buy the flight tickets within 24 hours with a debit card will all be covered by section 75 on the credit card.
        also if I cant make the holiday because of illness or accident can I claim back all the money from the credit card including flight tickets.

        • Hi Charles

          If you are buying the villa separately to the fights then as long as you pay at least £100 by credit card you will be covered under section 75 however you choose to pay the balance.

          Your flights should also be paid by credit card to secure the same cover as long as the value is over £100. If you pay by debit card you can only charge back but there is no legal requirement for the card issuer to refund you if the company collapses.

          You will need travel insurance to cover you for illness or accident. Credit card payments would not cover that for you.

          Hope this clarifies the matter.

          Kind regards


          • Charles says:


            Why should I pay flight ticket by credit card if section 75 cover’s all when I put deposit £100 by credit card on villa rental and balance in bank wire.
            surely this would cover flight tickets and villa rental.

          • Hi Charles

            If your are booking the flight and villa together as a package with one supplier then you can do that. If you are booking them separate to each other so they are not linked together as an ATOL backed package, then you only get the cover if you pay for them both by credit card. Who are you booking the holiday with?



  19. Leanne says:

    I was wondering, if your passport says your name is say Maxwell, and you have booked your holiday under the name Max, will this be a problem?


    • Hi Leanne

      The general ruling is that passports and booking details should match as these are used for security verification by the authorities when we travel.

      My advice is to contact the holiday company and advise them that the full passport name is Maxwell and not Max. They may reserve the right to make an admin charge to do this as it is the responsibility of the person making the original booking to supply the correct information at the time the booking is made. However this is obviously not a name change and just a small oversight, so depending on the company they may waive any fee or they may insist on charging it.

      If you are travelling within the EU I doubt it would be an issue at any stage to leave it as it is, however we cannot guarantee that. So give them a call for peace of mind.

      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards


      • upset says:

        can anyone help me please? ive booked for a surprise holiday for my son and his family the travel agent seems not to care now hes been paid! he only sent me airline times and hotel confirmation no transfer documents at all and when I booked I asked for A.I. he said his suppliers said FULL BOARD is all inclusive at the hotel in Spain that is how they describe it but now says if I want all inclusive it could cost me maybe another £1000 or more he as completely mislead me –he even said if im paying him £1000 a month –which I did he gets charged £15 by his bank so would I pay that too I did but its only about 2 weeks for me to give my son his holiday information and all this man keeps saying –I will try and send the full intenary out re transfers im really not sleeping with worry as my son wont have proof??

        • Hi there

          Not knowing any of the holiday details, what you have booked, when, where or who with I cannot give a detailed response.

          However you should contact your travel agent and ask for the Manager. Calmly lay out the reason for you contacting them and what you are looking for as a resolution to this problem. If they are not responding and they are part of a chain you should go straight to the Head Office if you do not get an immediate response.

          That should be your start point. If they are an ABTA member you can then consider going through ABTA arbitration service for further assistance.

          We have an article here on how to make a complaint and to get a resolution on holiday problems.


          Let us know how you get on.

          Kind regards


  20. Hi, I am about to book a holiday ( for October 2016 ) to Florida . Would you recommend paying the whole amout when I book or, pay the deposit and square up the remainder at the later date? It’s around £5000
    Many thanks

    • Hi there Ross

      It should make no difference other than your own cash flow. If its a package holiday covered by an ATOL then you are usually able to pay a deposit and then the balance around 8 to 12 weeks prior to travel. That of course gives you nearly a year and a half of interest of some form if you save the money rather than paying it all out now when you don’t need to. You could also pay the deposit now and save up the balance each month to allow you to pay the balance without having to go into your existing savings.

      Whatever you do, ensure you pay the deposit by credit card to give you financial protection for your holiday over and above anything from the tour oeprator. This needs to be at least £100 on your card.

      Kind regards


  21. Melanie Gray says:

    Hi can you help we were trying to book a holiday on line and the holiday was priced at 2150 we phoned the company to see if there was any hidden extras that may have to be paid and they said the dates and hotel was available but the price they said was double the girl went over the holiday dates times she couldnt understand why the price was different if we pay online will we get the holiday for the 2150 thanks

    • Hi there Melanie

      Can you tell me please the name of the company and which website you were looking at so I can try and work this one out?



  22. I have booked and paid for a flight to Peru but have now broken my leg. I had not yet taken out insurance as I am not due to fly until May (Silly me I know!!).I am told that it is not refundable. Is there anyway to get some, if not all, of the costs back?

    • Hi there Alli

      Hope you’re getting better. Unfortunately its one of the reasons we advise for taking travel insurance out. Oh well, next time eh!

      It all depends what you have booked. if you ahve booked a package holiday then you are subject to the terms and conditions of the tour operator. If you have just booked a flight then you can claim back some fo the taxes and fees, which varies from airline to airline. If you can tell me which airline you have booked and whether direct or through an agency I can advise further.

      Kind regards


  23. saffron fulton says:

    booked a holiday with ba, called under 24 hours because i couldn’t go on the holiday anymore ( no way of paying because of an emergency) they refuse to give me my money back…the £300 deposit was paid by credit card- can i cancel this payment?

    • Hi there

      Im sorry to learn that something has happened meaning you do not now have the finance for your planned trip.

      Once you make a booking you would have a grace period of a few hours for making changes such as getting a name wrong or inadvertantly booking the wrong date. However asking to cancel your booking once you have accepted the booking conditions on or off line will result in cancellation charges which can be as much as 100% of what you have paid. This may seem harsh, however it is what you agree to when making the booking.

      Not knowing the emergency, you may have travel insurance you can claim against (for instance if it is due to medical reasons), so check your policy to see if you can claim the money back from that.

      If you stop the card payment you are likely to incur costs for that and ultimately you would be found liable to pay as at the point of the transaction you had agreed to the booking and the associated conditions. BA (and any other retailer) is within their rights to pursue you for that.

      A final option is to ask BA if they can maybe allow you to delay your booking and change to a later time when you can afford the trip or you could consider a low cost loan or an interest free credit card to help you through your difficulties. Compare these on line at our sister company http://www.moneysupermarket.com and read articles there to help you decide the bext product.

      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards


  24. paddy says:

    hi looking for some help we where to fly out of belfast airport to rome on the 7th of may and stay until the 14th of may but due to fire at rome airport the flight was cancelled. but jet2 put us on the next available flight which was on the 10th of may which meant we missed out on three days at our hotel.plus we had to pay to stay at another hotel for the three days we lost.travel insurance said we are not covered.but can we claim off our credit card. look forward to your reply

  25. ok here goes i have book a holiday but paid for it on three difference cards can i just get one fund to the name the holiday is booked in.
    or does it have to be transferred back the same way it came

    • Hi there

      I am not that clear what you are asking here. If you are asking about refunds, any refund being made is normally paid back to the card it was paid for by. So if you used three cards to pay then usually the refunds would go back to those three cards in appropriate amounts.

      I would need to know more on this to advise you correctly.

      Kind regards


  26. hi there,i am looking to go on holiday to africa. i have searched the airlines’sites directly and they are very high priced. i googled and a site called the flightcompany came up with almost halfprice offers, they are not atol or abta registered but they claim to be TTA members. should i avoid them? help please.

    • Hi there

      They are not a company I know however to check TTA membership you can verify it here http://www.traveltrust.co.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=148 and ensure you read any reviews you can find of the company. Ultra cheap deals from one company when no-one else has that kind of price should make you suspicious, so be careful and ensure what you are buying is legitimate.

      Also ensure you pay by credit or debit card to ensure you have any financial protection, not in cash or a bank transfer.

      Kind regards


  27. BEWARE!
    How Ironic! That you run an article – How to book your holiday with confidence – but yet promote the company: VOYAGES-SNCF.COM
    This company sold me international rail tickets that were not accepted for travel and almost left me stranded in Europe and according to their web site I was not the only one! Did they resolve the issue of invalid tickets or refund me? What do you think?
    As a responsible web site maybe you would like to revisit your promotion or let people know if they use VOYAGES-SNCF.COM that this company is affiliated/regulated to any governing body who will refund them their money and resolve their issues for them unlike their so called customer services. Alternatively use a credit card! That is How to book your holiday with confidence!

  28. Sophie says:

    Thanks so much for this article – I’m really panicking as do not have ATOL protection and wondered if you could offer me some advice?

    I’ve booked a hotel (it’s an Iberostar) for two months time. I opted for their flexible booking service, which means (I think) that whilst I gave them my credit card details, they will not take payment until we check in. Also I am allowed to cancel before 4days of holiday date, and also think of its within 4 days of checkin and I had to cancel for whatever reason, they only charge a small admin fee.

    My worry isn’t so much me cancelling as THEM cancelling my booking!

    I have booked flights directly with easyjet, hence the lack of ATOL.

    My main worries are:

    – flying out to the hotel only to find when we get there that our room booking has been cancelled, or that we’ve been moved to one of the hotel’s sister hotels (which are inferior…)

    – our flights being cancelled as not ATOL protected (there is only 1 flight a day to the location, and some days no flights – so if outbound was cancelled, presumably I’d have to either fund alternative accommodation and a new flight, or else abandon the trip altogether…)

    I suppose what I’m asking is, without ATOL, what exactly should I do? Is there an insurance policy I can buy (you mention the end supplier failure one) that simply serves as everything ATOL would cover, ie alternative accommodation and flights in the face of either company cancelling flights or hotel booking?

    It’s my kids first ever holiday so it would be really upsetting if we had to cancel.

    Would Iberostar be legally allowed to cancel the booking, or is the booking legally binding?

    Any advice really welcome – I used a UK credit card for all of the above.



    • Hi Sophie

      Let me try and set your mind at rest.

      Your flights are with easyJet, a reputable and responsible airline. They would only cancel the flights if they were forced to do so under extreme circumstances. If that did happen you would be entitled to a refund and possibly compensation under the EU261 rules. You can read more here;


      Ibersotar are also a very well known and reputable hotel chain and you will have signed their terms and conditions when making the booking. If they were to cancel the booking this condition applies from their website;

      12) IBEROSTAR reserves the right to change reservations in case of system errors, third-party actions or other unforeseen events. If this is the case, the user shall be informed in writing of their booking’s valid price, as well as of alternative choices. In case of non-acceptance of the new booking terms and conditions, the user can cancel their booking at no charge. If no reply from the user is received within 48 hours since the booking was changed, IBEROSTAR shall proceed to cancel the booking with no charge for the user.

      If the flights did not go ahead you are liable to the cancellation charges for Iberostar and vice versa for easyJet if the hotel was to go wrong.

      As you have booked a non ATOL covered holiday the only way you can cover yourself to contra one or other of the elements cancelling is to have a travel insurance policy with End Supplier Failure. I have such a policy with Holiday Extras http://www.holidayextras.co.uk/holiday-insurance.html and you can compare policies from several companies here http://www.travelsupermarket.com/travel-insurance/ and use the filters on the left of the results to find those that offer this type of policy.

      If you have already bought a travel insurance policy you can buy standalone End Supplier Failure here;


      Personally I don’t think you have anything to worry about with these two suppliers and if I was a betting man I would bet that you will have no problems. I hope this sets your mind at rest a little even if it does mean a little more searching around.

      Have a fantastic break.

      Kind regards


  29. Laura says:

    Hi there,

    Please could you give me some advice. I was booking a trip over the phone with Tour Center. I asked the lady on the phone to tell me the total amount, including the 2% fee (very clear I felt) that would come off my card. Then the email confirmation was nearly £80 more due to booking fee charges that were in the small print. I argued with her that she has just told me a different price. She asked me to confirm the booking by replying to the email or over the phone and I said I would do it later as I felt bullied. I’ve since received another call from them and told them I don’t want to confirm it as the price is not what I was told.

    No money has come off my card. Do I have to proceed with this booking and will there be a fee? If it’s booked why are they hassling me to confirm the booking so much? Can they really say one price then send me another? They have my card details so I am worried.


    • Hi Laura

      I have no personal knowledge of Tour Center, however they are ATOL registered and if you are booking your arrangements of flight and accommodation together they would be issuing you with an ATOL certificate which protects your holiday against failure.

      However you should have an agreed total price before confirming and if this is not the case you should speak to a manager to rectify the situation as soon as possible. You should not have to proceed if you are not happy with the booking and can prove your were misquoted. Make the call and see what happens. If you do not wish to process with them you should be clear about telling them why and that expect no charge to be taken from your card. make this call as soon as possible.

      Let me know how you get on. You can always charge back the transaction with your card issuer if necessary and then enter into a dispute with them via your credit card company.

      Kind regards


    • heather says:

      i have booked a holiday for 14 people with5 rooms my i have to cancel 1 room the agent says i must pay all the money for that room 2 adults 1 child its because it is because we did not pay a full amount we have to pay all amount for that room if we cound we will not be cancelling it is a family hol for our golden anniversary

      • Hi Heather,

        Thank you for your comment and congratulations on your golden anniversary.

        So I can help you, please can you describe your situation in more detail? When are you travelling and what exactly are you trying to cancel? Is it just a hotel room or is it a holiday for a certain number of people in your group? And is there a reason behind why you need to cancel this?

        Thank you,

  30. Michael says:

    Hi there,

    I am planning a trip to Thailand later this year.

    The hotels website advises of two payments options, 1 – Confirmation by fax i.e. they would like me to Fax my credit card details to them to confirm the booking. 2 – Confirmation by Bank Transfer, i.e. depositing the funds directly into their bank account.

    I am conscious of the fact that if I pay by transferring the funds directly into their account then I will not get the financial protection of paying by credit card. At the same time I am also wary of faxing my credit card details to a foreign hotel. I have been in email contact with the hotel direct and have managed to negotiate a slight reduction on the room price but I have still not discussed payment options with them.

    I was just wondering if I you think I am correct in exercising caution by not faxing/emailing my credit card details to someone as my guess is that there would be a risk there.

    Could you suggest any other options?


    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Have you mentioned your concerns to the hotel – perhaps via email as you’ve already got a contact? They may be able to suggest an alternative?

      Let us know how you get on.

      Thank you,

  31. I paid for a holiday to on my credit card, due to current terrorist activity, the flight was cancelled by the airline. The agent I booked through has confirmed that I can have a refund, but are not refunding credit card charges. Can they do this or not. It’s not our fault the holiday had to be cancelled, therefore why should I be out of pocket?

    • Hi Gail

      The credit card charges are the discretion of the holiday company and they are allowed to charge under OFT guidance as they will have been charged by the card company. As for a return of these by them I would speak to your card issuer and ask them there policy on charging retailers when a transaction is then refunded. If they say they waive any original charges, then go back to the holiday company and challenge them.

      kind regards


  32. Hi
    Have booked a villa for May/June 2016 and paid our deposit of £700 by credit card our provider who is not ATOL registered has now put the villa up for sale. However he has assured us that any future purchaser would honour all of the bookings. (we intend to pay the balance in full by credit card).

    We now have concerns should a new purchaser refuse to honour our booking. Are we covered by the credit card.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Geri

      You should be covered by the credit card in this situation as it would qualify as non-receipt of goods assuming that nether the current or the new owner failed to refund the money. However any flights or car hire are not covered for this as it has not been bought as a package.

      I hope that answer helps you in some way.

      Kind regards


  33. Dion Green says:

    Hi, I was due to go Vienna the week leading up to Christmas but my brother passed away suddenly meaning I couldn’t go, explained to the company and they have only agreed to refund my full amount but only £60 for my girlfriend, though I can’t find anywhere on their website anything to say they are protected. I want to take this further, is there anything I can do?

    • Hi Dion

      I am sorry to learn of your personal loss. It must have been very difficult for you at the time. When you say ‘company’ do you mean the travel company or your travel insurer? I can then advise you back accordingly.

      Kind regards


  34. Jo Irving says:

    Hi there, I have just booked a hotel in Tulum in Mexico through bookings.com. I haven’t got round to booking flights yet but was going to book Thomas Cook. I have since found out it’s hurricane season and am slightly concerned that we are not ABTA or ATOL protected if things take a turn for the worst. I am still in a position to cancel – Totally unsure which way to go. Any help would be gratefully appreciated!

    • Hi Jo

      We always recommend booking holidays as ATOL backed packages as this gives you the protection that you need for circumstances such as hurricanes. When you travel independently you do not have that level of protection.

      You can sometimes find better prices and even more flexibility when you book separate flights and accommodation, however the compromise in situations such as this are that independent arrangements do not have protection. Its a choice you therefore need to make, based on the level of risk that you are prepared to accept personally as opposed to a tour operator looking after you.

      Travel insurance may or may not offer you assistance here dependent on the policy that you have so do read that cover carefully and give them a call to check if you are insure.

      Kind regards


  35. Hi, a friend of mine has paid in full for a holiday on credit card but now wants to cancel. It is over 84 days which means in the t&c’s that he will only lose the deposit. How does this work if you have paid in full? Thanks.

    • Hi there

      If you had paid in full, the travel company would refund the difference between the amount paid and the cancellation amount onto the same payment method used to make the original payment.

      Does that answer your question?

      Kind regards


  36. Top Vacation Spots says:

    “He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” — Dutch proverb

  37. Hi

    I recently bought a flight ticket through a travel agent and then realised that the name of one of the passangers was incorrect on the ticket I contacted the travel to get the name change and was quoted £250 to get it changed (siting that the airline charges £200 to get the name changed plus a £50 admin fee) i called the airline and they confirmed that they do not charge £200 but £50 for a name change I called the travel agent back and challenged them they reconsided and told they would do it for do it for £175. I was forced to pay £175 to get the name changed (i fly out in 2 months), is this correct? If not to whom can i escalate this? the agency its both ATOL and ABTA certified.

    Thank you

    • Hi Ash

      Which travel agent did you use? Which airline is involved? Are the flights booked as part of a Tour Operator package?

      Let us know and we can see how we can advise.

      Kind regards


      • Hi Bob

        Thank you for your reply. The airline is South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) and i used a travelagency I found online called Traveasy (http://www.traveasy.com/). It was only the flights that i booked.

        Thank you for help


  38. Irene Sartorius says:

    Hi Bob, My partner and I are due to visit Florida in April. However, I have now been told that I need a major operation and will not be fit to travel for at least 3months. I paid for the flights on my credit card, will I be able to get a refund

    • Hi Irene

      I have no idea what you have actually booked and how you have booked it, however if you have booked a package or just a flight only, you should firstly speak to the company you have booked with to see what your cancellation charges would be or if you can transfer to new dates. Any amount you would lose you would then look to claim on a travel insurance policy if you have that in place under cancellation due to medical reasons.

      You are not able to claim cancellation charges from a credit card company. You can only claim if the airline or travel company does not provide a service, which in case they are still able to do.

      Kind regards


    • Thanks Bob

  39. Jason Brown says:

    Via Travel Supermarket, I thought I had just booked flight to attend my Aunties funeral in Ghana (£540). In actual fact the following company does not exist:

    Travel Path
    12B, High Street, Cranford
    Middlesex, Tw59RG

    Please be careful, as I have just been conned out of £540, Travel Supermarket really should do better with their security systems, disgraceful!

    • Hi Jason,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you have lost money.

      Please can you give me further information on how you booked your flight as we don’t have a company by that name on our site?

      Best wishes,

  40. I have booked a flight direct with Thomas Cook Airlines and having researched this I find it is not ATOL protected. I did pay by direct debit, so is it possible to do a charge back if it should go into liquidation before I travel?

    • Hi Ray

      I am sure you are correct on the ATOL cover here as it is a flight only. So your only right of recourse should the airline go out of business would be;

      1. Charge back to your debit card issuer. However this is not legally binding as it would be for a credit card where the value is over £100. It would be your card issuers decision whether to refund.

      2. Take out a travel insurance policy that includes ‘End Supplier Failure’ or ‘Airline Failure’. You You could then make a claim.

      Hope that helps.

      Kind regards


  41. Harry Wilford says:

    Thanks for the informative article, keep up the good work

  42. Larry says:

    These days of austerity and also relative anxiousness about incurring debt, many people balk up against the idea of utilizing a credit card in order to make purchase of merchandise and also pay for a vacation, preferring, instead just to rely on the particular tried plus trusted method of making payment – cash. However, if you possess cash available to make the purchase in full, then, paradoxically, this is the best time for them to use the card for several motives.

  43. Hi. Please help – I’m really stressing out, I’ve just been on Skyscanner paid for flights to Australia through Travelup. Presumed this was legitimate as skyscanner took me there. They’ve taken the money from my account but I have only received reservation details.

    Their ATTOL number is 7227. Don’t think they’re ABTA protected. IS this ok? Am I protected? I paid by debit card!


    • Hi Gem

      I am not sure what your query is here.

      TravelUp are a legitimate travel company. You should have received a flight confirmation from them with details of your reservation and payments. An ATOL certificate would be issued if you have bought more than just a flight from them, otherwise it is not necessary for an ATOL certificate to be issued as flight only is not considered a ‘package’ and therefore requiring protection under the law.

      Being a member of ABTA is irrelevant. ABTA is an organisation of UK travel agents and only gives you protection if TravelUp were to go out of business before they had paid the airline for the flights you had booked.

      Check with your airline to make sure they have your booking from TravelUp and look to ensure that you have travel insurance that covers your for End Supplier failure if you want to get protected. having paid by debit card you have no protection in law, however you could approach your card company to charge the amount back if TravelUp or your airline go out of business and your flights don’t operate.

      if you are not happy with aspects of the service the TravelUp provide you should speak to Skyscanner as it was from their site you transacted with the company.

      Kind regards


  44. Why do tour operators charge so much for a simple name change on a flight? The ticket hasn’t even been printed yet! All I want is the first name changing from Haley to Jurate…. Surname is the same! I’m going to be changed £50! That the same amount as the desposit I paid for the holiday. Really annoyed…. Any suggestion it reduce the amount? Really Appreciate any suggestions…..

    • Hi Bina

      It is down to each company to decide what charges they want to levy for administration. it is the passengers responsibility to ensure that when bookings are made that the correct names are supplied to match passports. If subsequently you need to change this OR you wish for a different person to travel then each company has the right to charge its own fees to make the changes. These are signed up to when you accept the terms and conditions when making the booking.

      Kind regards


  45. Niall says:

    I am booking a hotel in France as an independent traveller. We have stayed there before, and they are offering us a very attractive price. They want some form of security to guarantee the booking.I cannot use the hotel’s secure server as it is run by a third party and commission would be added. they have asked for my debit card details. I would be happy to provide these via the secure server – but this is not available, I do not want to give them over the phone. What are other options? How easy is it to do a bank transfer in Euros, or to send a cheque in Euros?

    • Hi there

      If you cannot use a credit card (with legal protection for transactions of £100 or over) or a debit card (ability to charge back to provider in the UK), then your only options are bank transfer, sending a cheque in sterling or getting your bank to issue on in Euros or cash. Additionally you could ask if they have a Paypal account. None of these give you any legal protection in case the hotel goes out of business or the money is scammed so it is your choice whether you wish to accept that as a risk. You could insure by having End Supplier Failure as part of a Travel Insurance Policy in case the hotel goes out of business but not obviously for any fraud involving you paying the money to them and it going missing.

      Kind regards


  46. hi, I have booked a holiday with booking.com. I now need to cancel this holiday they say I have to pay 30% of the cost. They have my credit card details. Can they take anymore than the agreed amount?

    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you for your question. What is it you’re trying to cancel with Booking.com specifically?

      The confirmation email you received should have all of the details around the cancellation policy and the amounts you’ll need to pay. You shouldn’t have any more money taken than is stated here (depending on the timings of when you cancel and what the T&Cs say around this).

      Why do you need to cancel your holiday? If you have a travel insurance policy, it’s worth checking whether this includes cancellation cover and, if so, whether the reason for your cancellation is covered by this.

      Good luck,

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