Summertime is vacation time. Finally getting away from the daily routine and find time for the beautiful things in life. Even worse, when suddenly problems occur and disturb the long-desired journey. A list of ECC Austria shows how to react to which situation and where to turn to for help.
In case of sudden illness, accident, car breakdown or many other emergencies, the Austrian automobile club ÖAMTC provides support. The so called "Schutzbrief" (protective letter) covers comprehensive assistance. A list of all services can be found here. Furthermore, the ÖAMTC operates several hotlines, like its emergency number 120 where you can get help from legal and technical experts.
If a problem occurs that requires consular support, like imprisonment or loss of documents, EU citizens are entitled to consular assistance. This means, if Austria has no embassy or consulate at your destination, you can turn to any other representation of a EU Member State. As ECC Austria reported (see article), this entitlement was improved by new regulations this year.
European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card, short EHIC, enables you to stay at a hospital in all EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following must be considered: The treatment has to be medically necessary and happen in a public hospital. Unnecessary treatments or therapies are not covered. If it is the purpose of your journey to get such a treatment, it will not be covered by the EHIC.
If you suffer from a chronic disease and plan a trip abroad, you can ask your doctor for a cross-border prescription for necessary medicals.
More information about the EHIC is provided by the smartphone app. In Austria, the card is on the back of your eCard, so you don't have to order it from your insurer.
Your rights as travelling consumer
As an EU citizen, you have comprehensive rights when you travel. Besides the above mentioned entitlements to consular protection and treatments in public hospitals, you can also profit from the European consumer rights. Those protect you e.g. when your transportation by plane, bus, train or ship does not go as planned, but also when you're shopping abroad or book your journey at a travel agency or online.
So if the tour operator of your package travel becomes insolvent, your flight is delayed, your rental car isn't available, your new pair of Italian shoes fall apart after one week or your hotel room is a disaster, you can do something about it. A helpful companion on your trips is the free ECC-Net: Travel App by the European Consumer Centres. Under the section Travel you find all information about your rights as a travelling consumer.
Whenever you need further assistance for solving a problem with a foreign company, you can turn to ECC Austria. Send all relevant documents via mail (email@example.com), via the online complaint form or call under 01/588 77 81 (Mo-Fr, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
Money, money, money
You dreamed about a journey for a long time and finally want to realise it by taking out a credit loan? Please not that you are entitled to the following things:
- Transparent and easy to understand advertisment
- Access to information that enables you to compare different offers ("European standard information")
- Provision of these information on a durable medium (paper copy, USB stick)
- Right to withdraw from the contract within 14 days
- Possibility to pay off your credit early
Find more information regarding your credit rights here.
A matter of expense that often causes anger during your vacation are high roaming charges. The roaming caps were gradually reduced in the last years, in April 2016 a last reduction will take place before it will be completely abolished in June 2017.