There is currently no EU-wide legislation when it comes to regulating consumer rights for individual bookings made directly with hotels. Nevertheless, consumers can avail of some of the consumer protections in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. Some countries have their own national regulations for the hotel sector that will also apply.
Unfair practices refer to actions that mislead or deceive hotel customers or where hotels fail to comply with basic obligations and/or specific national regulations relating to their industry.
Businesses have to comply with the general principles of acceptable advertising, i.e. the advertising must be legal, honest and truthful, and not misleading in any way. They must always provide clear and accurate information about the property, booking conditions and the total cost of the reservation upfront. Businesses must display tax-inclusive prices of goods and services offered to consumers.
The terms of your direct reservation with the hotel apply to all contracts, changes and cancellations. Where you have made a booking through a third-party website, your contract is still with the individual hotel, but the price you have paid on the third-booking website might come with some restrictions. It is advisable that you read the Terms and Conditions of both the hotel in question and the booking platform, review the information on refunds and rescheduling, as well as the penalties for changes and cancellations. The Terms and Conditions should include information on cash refunds or reimbursement through vouchers.
Where Irish consumers experience issues with a hotel in another EU/EEA country, the European Consumer Centre Ireland can assist and follow up with the accommodation provider or booking platform.