Here are five ways to survive, or preferably avoid, the most common summertime consumer problems …
It’s summer and we’re all out and about, jetting off here and there, relaxing on a glorious beach, dancing till dawn at a festival or concert, or exploring some exciting city or country retreat. Yep, it’s great isn’t it, except when it isn’t! Sometimes, despite all our meticulous planning and crystal ball gazing things just happen, and unfortunately there’s only one thing we can do, and that’s to try to minimise the adverse effect it has on our holidays, reduce our stress levels and the danger posed to the poor unfortunates around us, and hopefully be in a better position to rectify the situation either then and there, or later on when we get home.
1. Check for restrictions placed on resold tickets
In a bid to tackle ticket touting and the selling of over-priced tickets, some artists, promotors and organisations are placing quite a lot of restrictions on events tickets recently. Some of these include a requirement to present the purchasing credit card and ID to reflect the family name on the ticket.
For example, in the run-up to the massively popular Ed Sheeran Irish tour, organisers Aiken Promotions published a statement which included the following:
So, if you’ve bought your ticket from an unauthorised re-seller, and you’ve made no arrangements to comply with these restrictions, then you could be left out in the cold.
You should also bear in mind that when you buy from an individual, as opposed to a business, consumer rights do not apply.
Other restrictions can relate to the actual site that you bought that ticket from, even if it’s a legitimate secondary reselling site.
2. Include the rental car in your holiday snaps
It’s always a good idea to take some pictures of your car rental when you’re picking it up from the car rental location and dropping it back. And we’re not talking about selfies showing off the rental to all your social media followers!
What we mean is for you to do a spot check of the vehicle, making sure that there is/isn’t damage and then taking a picture/video of your inspection. Do this even if there is a car rental rep also doing an inspection. Unfortunately, ECC Ireland hears a lot of reports from consumers about alleged damage and they often have a lot of difficulty proving their side of the story. It’s better to have photographic/video evidence to show that you didn’t cause any damage, and/or you complied with other policies such as returning the car with full tank of fuel (pic of fuel gauge). So, get snapping those car picks!!
3. Don’t forget your receipts:
While being able to jet off here and there is so easy these days, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. There can be flight delay or cancellation, and so you could end up stuck in the airport longer than you expected or must trudge to a hotel and wait for the next flight. Regulation (EC) 261/2004 provides for certain rights including the right to care and assistance when there is flight cancellation or flight delay of two hours or more. Care and assistance mean that the airline must offer meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time, hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation where a stay becomes necessary, and two telephone calls or emails. If, however, the airline is not able to provide this, and you must make your own arrangements then it’s extremely important for you to retain all relevant receipts so that you can get these expenses reimbursed later.
Not keeping your receipts may not be the only problem. The airline will only fork out for reasonable expenses so please please please don’t go on a crazy spending spree!
4. Expect the unexpected
When you’re booking the various elements of your holiday online always pay using a secure method such as credit card. Why? Well, the answer is simple; if it turns out to be a scam or there is a problem with the order, for example that gorgeous villa by the sea doesn’t actually exist or that swimwear doesn’t arrive, then at least you’ll have the option of going to your bank/credit card provider to see if you can avail of chargeback. You should also get yourself some travel insurance. This is not just to cover illness or injury. What if something happens and you can’t go on holiday, or something else goes wrong while there? If you can’t get redress from the trader, you can’t avail of consumer legislation, or you’re caught by the terms and conditions then it would nice to have something else to turn to, just in case!
5. Where to get travel and consumer advice in just a few clicks
When something happens on holiday it’s understandable that you can get stressed and frustrated trying to figure out what to do and what your rights are. It’s at times like these that you need easy-to-understand information made available to you quickly.
- The ‘ECC-Net: Travel’ app, which is available to download for Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Windows, provides a range of useful information and advice on common problem areas encountered abroad.
- The Flight Rights Calculator, developed by ECC Norway and the Norwegian Consumer Council, can help you find out what your EU air passenger rights are for flight problems such as delay, cancellation, overbooking/denied boarding, and/or baggage issues.