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Cancellation: You’ve booked a package holiday, but you have to cancel. What are your rights? This will depend on the reasons for cancelling as well as the terms and conditions of the holiday company. If it is because you can no longer go, it is likely that there will be a cancellation fee. If it is due to a medical or family emergency, any cancellation fees may be waived or you may be able to claim from your holiday insurance.
You have the legal right to cancel without charge if the company has made ‘major changes’ to the holiday after you booked it. There’s no exact definition for what a major change is, although supposing the company changes the hotel or you have booked a large room and it has been changed to a small one, you can argue that either of these is a major change and explain why the original booking was important.
You also have the right to a refund or to re-book your holiday if there is an increase in the price – but only if the price increase is due to fuel increase, taxes or the exchange rate. There may be a clause allowing the company to charge more, but they will also have to give a refund of any of these circumstances means the cost of the holiday goes down. You must be given at least 20 days’ notice of any increases and can be offered an alternative holiday but you should get a full refund if you can no longer afford to go.
NOTE: some of the rules have changed – if your holiday was booked AFTER 1st July 2018. The term ‘package holiday’ can describe where you have booked different parts of the holiday (travel, accommodation) at the same time from different companies but using the same travel agent, or online agent. This can include “linked” bookings, for instance for car hire, if done online and you “clicked through” from the original website.
Look at Citizens Advice website for full information about the type of holiday and what you can claim for.
If you can’t claim back from the company, you may well be able to get your money back through your insurance.
You can also cancel your holiday before you leave due to exceptional circumstances at or near your holiday destination such as war, natural disaster or disease, but you may not be due compensation. This article gives more information on compensation and how to claim.
There is a template letter here to ask for a refund or alternative holiday if your the one you booked has been changed.
Contact the Consumer advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06 if you need more help – a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone. You can also use an online form or write to them