Travelwatchdog - The only truly independent consumer voice in Travel

Accident or Illness Abroad?

the very best legal assistance

Recent Complaints of Note
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High street travel agents historically offered the customer reasonable service and, despite recruiting only poorly paid staff who often departed for pastures new before they had completed their training, they were in a location where they could be made to face up to problems if they arose. The growth of teletext and on-line bookings, has brought a remoteness from the client, low standards and often deplorable customer service. Travel agents are under constant pressure to cut their costs to compete in this environment. Our experience shows that poor service and sometimes child-like errors by these on-line companies, OPODO, and particularly are responsible for the great proportion of the complaints we receive. Of course the consumer would prefer everything to be perfect all the time, but we all understand that mistakes are made. What riles travel consumers about these on-line giants is that they are not prepared to put their mistakes right. OPODO even has a premium rate number (10 pence per minute) for their customer service so that the innocent consumer ends up paying to get OPODO's errors addressed. £10 for telephone calls is the report from one complainant. Like most companies they have Terms and Conditions that exclude them from liability for even their most incompetent failings was created in June 2002 and was born out of frustration with the travel industry who, with increasing frequency, treat their clients with disdain. It is operated by a handful of highly experienced travel specialists who are no longer in the industry and whom, at Dec 2012, continue to fund the operation.

With on-line agencies, there is also a fast growing use of call centres where staff are located remotely in countries like India, well shielded from customer contact and more prepared and better placed to 'brave-out' any dispute until the client gives up in frustration. There are regulatory bodies that can help the dissatisfied customer, but they are run by the industry and often display an unrealistic attitude to complaints by the public. The first response you will hear from an ABTA representative is a trite phrase something like: "Let me start by saying that 99% of customers are totally satisfied by the service they receive". One percent dissatisfied with their treatment is a lot of people and for those people, their holiday or travel has often been 100% ruined. Moreover, ABTA is lowering standards of consumer care in an attempt to entice the big on-line agents to join and thus swell their ABTA's income. The last thing the industry needs is for ABTA to accept the lower standards of these giants: they will soon become the norm for all in the industry

With no Travel Ombudsman in the UK, Travelwatchdog is really the only public voice in the travel industry. Travelwatchdog will endeavour to publicise malpractice and poor customer service, whilst at the same time giving recognition to those companies who provide or exceed the level of service to which the customer is entitled. In the near ten years of our existence, the necessity for a site such as this has been evidenced by the growing number of readers and correspondents. The effectiveness has been illustrated by our success in helping those who have been badly treated by the industry. Our only weapon is publicity, but it remains a weapon of considerable power!

Our presence has been welcomed by responsible traders - Some who appear in these pages are not so happy.

Accident and Illness Abroad has always presented a problem for the traveller who wishes to seek a legal remedy. Very few UK law firms have the ability to litigate in other countries and we are fortunate to have links with Irwin Mitchell who can fill that void. See this link

A travellers motto: 'Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today - If you enjoy it today, you can do it again tomorrow'!





I have heard of a man who had a mind to sell his house, and therefore carried a piece of brick in his pocket, which he showed as a pattern to to encourage purchasers. (Jonathan Swift 1667 - 1745 )