ABTA, the Travel Association last week responded positively to the Government’s proposals for reform of the ATOL financial protection scheme, although they claimed they did not go far enough. A statement from the group claimed that by including in a protection regime all holidays put together by individual travel companies, the Government’s proposals for ATOL reform were a step forward in extending consumer protection. However, it continued that by excluding airlines and website click-through sales from the scheme, they remained flawed, adding that these exclusions will perpetuate confusion among consumers.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Financial protection should be comprehensive and transparent, otherwise it leads to real confusion and consumer detriment. British consumers and our Members deserve better than the unfair and unclear structures that we have suffered in recent years. While the Government’s proposals go some way to addressing the problem, we’re disappointed that airlines and online click-through sales have been excluded, as these will create competitive imbalance and leave passengers exposed. These exclusions will only perpetuate confusion among consumers. We also believe that key issues such as pricing and enforcement need to be considered carefully.”
In research conducted by ABTA, 93% of the public said they regard financial protection as essential or important. In their responses to consultation questionnaires, 85% of ABTA Members said that they wanted to see the scope of consumer protection extended to all holidays; 84% that click-throughs from airlines’ websites should be included; and 100% said that airlines should be included in a scheme of financial protection.