Deficiencies at your holiday hotel
The hotel room is dirty or not available, instead of a "fine sandy beach" you find a rocky bay and instead of the longed-for peace and quiet you are tormented by annoying construction noise.
Especially during the peak travel season, we receive an increasing number of complaints from holidaymakers whose stay did not turn out quite as expected. But what can you do if you have problems on holiday? We provide information on the options available to consumers.
The tour operator must - irrespective of whether he is at fault for any defects or not - be liable for the services he has promised in the booking confirmation.
However, it is worthwhile to read the hotel descriptions with a critical eye before booking. For "seaside" does not automatically mean "with sea view", a "beautiful beach" is not per se a "sandy beach" and a hotel in a "convenient location" should better not be considered at all by noise-sensitive tourists.
If the accommodation in the hotel is not part of a package tour, the hotel itself is the contractual partner of the traveller. If the hotel is located outside the EU, enforcing rights - especially out of court - can be difficult in practice.
For reasons of proof, the complaint should be submitted in writing, i.e. by e-mail or fax.
Consumers who have booked their package tour through a travel agency can also send their complaint there. The travel agency is obliged to forward the complaint. However, we advise you to always contact the tour operator itself to be on the safe side.
However, holidaymakers do not have to spend their valuable time searching for the tour operator's representative should he or she not be easily found.
Improvement must be free of charge
The tour operator must always ensure that the defect is rectified free of charge. Often, moving to another room already helps.
Consumers who want to save their holiday on their own and move to another hotel immediately are taking a risk. There is no guarantee that the costs incurred will be paid or reimbursed.
Therefore, we advise explaining to the tour operator why a move is necessary in order to receive a service comparable to the booked trip. Then a deadline should be set and it should be communicated that otherwise one will change the hotel oneself if necessary and claim back the additional costs. Again, this should be put in writing.
To calculate this amount, i.e. the amount of the price reduction, one can refer to the Frankfurt List or the Zak Travel Price Reduction Table. The percentages listed in the table are not binding for companies, but they are a good guide.
Damages in case of fault
Compensation can only be claimed from the tour operator if the tour operator or its contractual partners on site are at fault for the defects. A classic example of this is an illness caused by a spoiled hotel buffet. In such a case, one is entitled to compensation for the medical costs as well as damages for pain and suffering.
However, the extent of the illness must be comprehensively documented (including a list of the sick tourists in the hotel, if applicable) and the course of the illness must be verifiable (e.g. by medical certificates).
In addition, there is the possibility of claiming compensation for lost holiday enjoyment if there were considerable deficiencies.
Vouchers do not have to be accepted
The tour operator cannot merely offer vouchers for compensation. The aggrieved consumers can insist on receiving a payout for both price reduction and damages.