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Recent Complaints of Note
Booking with Credit/Debit Cards

Should I use a Credit Card when Booking my Holiday?

If your holiday costs more than £100 (up to £30,000), it is a good idea to pay for it, or part of it, using a credit card. This is because S75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes the credit card issuer equally liable for any breaches of contract, including the tour operator going broke, or the holiday they provide not being the holiday you booked. However, this provision only applies if you book directly with the tour operator, and not through a travel agent. Be wary, although your debit card has visa written on the front, our experience is that it does not provide the credit card level of protection.

If you use a Visa debit card it offers significantly better protection. Their scheme is called Visa Debit Chargeback and any bank that issues a Visa debit card has to comply with the scheme. You can claim money back if the goods you buy are damaged, or the product or services are not delivered. There is no limit on what you can claim. But you have to claim within 120 days of the date you expected the goods to be delivered or the firm going bust. However, you do get significantly better protection if you use a credit card.


What about charges using my card abroad?

The best way to get cash abroad is to use a debit card. In almost all countries, there are adequate numbers of cash dispensing machines where the traveller can make withdrawals. If you use a credit as opposed to a debit card, you will always be charged a cash advance fee, commission on the transaction and interest from the date of the withdrawal. Some debit cards still provide free overseas withdrawals, but the scene is constantly changing. When using card abroad, take the usual precautions at the ATM, check for onlookers or devices on the machine that may seem unusual. Don't forget, much of the credit card fraud in the UK is committed by criminal gangs that have migrated to UK from the continent. Some stayed at home!

Credit Cards & Medical Insurance

it is not unusual for us to hear people say " I don't bother with travel insurance unless I am forced to. I use the credit card cover". Unless it is provided by a bank specifically as travel insurance as is the case with some types of account, this insurance provides very limited cover, the extent of which is dependent upon the terms and conditions imposed by the card issuer. It is never adequate cover. Any responsible tour operator requires you to have adequate travel cover, though they are not permitted to require that you buy their insurance policy.



You should always take out the insurance as soon as you have booked the holiday, in order to secure cover for pre-holiday events that may force cancellation. We get frequent correspondence from people who have not done so and are trying to hold the tour operator responsible for circumstances that prevent them from taking the holiday. One complainant cited pregnancy as a reason why the tour operator should give a refund. We do not know the circumstances of the conception, but no evidence was provided that implicated the tour operator!

Amazon River Boat - Manaus -Amazonia


The Most important piece of Advice we can give

One of our most frequent complaints concerns unauthorised charges against credit cards used to pay deposits to hotels, car hire companies etc. The traveller gives the credit card details to the trader and some weeks after returning from holiday, finds that false charges have been levied on the card for additional extras, alleged damage to hire vehicles etc. Contact the card company and they will do nothing about it. We have reports from seemingly reputable companies that have levied several hundreds of pounds for the smallest dent in a car, or the loss of a hub cap. One American visitor saw an endless stream of charges from a flea pit in Kensington that she had refused to occupy and cancelled. Our best advice, and a practice we follow, is to obtain a credit card with a very low limit that you can use for deposits for car hire, hotels etc. Alternatively or in addition, open a separate 'travel' bank account and deposit just the cash you need for the holiday for withdrawal on your debit card. Take a spare card for emergencies and keep that in the hotel safe. If your debit card is stolen, the thieves cannot take what is not there.


It is not my interest to pay the principal, nor my principal to pay the interest                                   Richard Brinsley Sheriden 1751 - 1816