I’ve booked a package holiday but will have to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances. Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

If you cancel a package holiday, you will likely have to pay a cancellation fee.

If the company you used to book cancels the holiday, they must provide you with a full refund within 14 days of the cancellation.

Cancelling without incurring a fee

There are some circumstances in which you may be entitled to cancel the holiday without incurring a fee.

If the company made significant changes to your holiday, or if certain prices have increased after you booked, you may be entitled to cancel at no charge. Significant changes may include changes to the main features of your holiday such as your hotel or accommodation being amended. If there is a significant change, the company must write to you detailing what the change is, whether the price is reduced, and the reasonable timeframe to let them know if you accept the changes or wish to cancel. You must let the company know by the deadline provided if you accept the change or wish to cancel.

If there are exceptional circumstances such as natural disaster or war which prevent you from reaching the area, you should be able to cancel at no extra charge.

Price amendments

If the company has increased the price since you made the booking, they must inform you in writing. The price can only be increased if the contract allows this. This will be included in your terms and conditions.

If the contract allows price increases, the price can only be raised if certain criteria apply.

If mean transport costs have increased due to fuel price rises, taxes or fees by third parties have increased, or exchange rates affecting the price of the holiday have changed, the company may increase the price.

The company must tell you in writing about the price increase at least 20 days before the holiday starts and explain why the prices have increased. If the price increases by more than 8%, you can cancel without having to pay a fee.

How much will the cancelation fee cost?

Any cancellation fees should be detailed in the terms and conditions which were provided at the time of booking. If you can’t find your terms and conditions or they are unclear, you can contact the company to request they be resent or ask for clarification.

The fee will most likely increase for cancellations near to the departure date.

The fee should only be equal to what the company will lose as a result of the cancellation. If you feel the amount is too high, you can ask how the fee is calculated.

Can I transfer the holiday to a friend?

If someone else agrees to take the holiday instead, it could be cheaper to transfer rather than cancelling.

You should ask the company for a transfer in writing at least 7 days before the holiday is due to start.

The company must inform you of the cost to transfer. It must be reasonable and can’t be more than it costs them to make the transfer.

The company must also provide proof of the cost. Either you, or the person you are transferring the package to will need to pay the transfer fee. If the other person does not pay the fee, you will be liable for the charge.

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