What to do if your dream holiday turns into a nightmare…

Ever arrived at a hotel to find it isn’t anything like the brochure, or fallen ill as a result of dodgy hotel food or pool facilities? Whilst there’s no getting away from the disappointment problems like this can cause, remember there is something you can do about it.

With holiday season just around the corner, we list some advice on how to make a claim for compensation for problems whilst on holiday.

First and foremost, get health and travel insurance before you travel – a­ small investment can save you a lot of money in the long run. In the event of a claim, you will need your policy number and contact details of the claims line, so remember to either pack or email yourself copies of your insurance documents so you have them to hand. Some policies have strict requirements on reporting certain incidents to the police or local authorities e.g. thefts, accidents etc – normally within 24 hours. Check carefully that you have cover for the area of the world you are travelling to – some European policies will not include Turkey for instance. Remember that many sporting and other activities are excluded unless you request cover – winter sports cover is an absolute must if you are skiing.

Take as many photos or videos as possible ­– you can never have too much evidence to support a case. These should aim to back up whatever claim you are making; so if you’ve suffered food poisoning for example, take photos showing poor food hygiene at the hotel, such as uncovered food or dirty kitchen facilities. If it is a dangerous swimming pool or building take photos from every angle and take measurements where relevant.

Don’t wait until the end of your holiday to report a problem, lodge your complaint as soon as possible, tell the holiday representative, hotel manager and police straight  away. Your claim may be affected if you don’t give them a chance to remedy things. Make sure you make a note of the person you reported it to and if it is for an injury, get it logged in their accident book and ask for a copy. If you’re not happy with their response, you’ll need to take this further when you get home. To help you, there are some template letters on holidays not matching the description and food/water poisoning.

Whether you’ve tripped up on faulty equipment, had an accident, or become unwell through the swimming pool water; get medical assistance as soon as it happens. Make sure you ask for a copy of your medical report, as well as any medical receipts for your claim. Often insurance policies require you to contact them before treatment starts. You should also get another check-up when back in the UK, as once you settle you can’t usually go back for more compensation if you later realise you are still suffering.

It’s important to keep a daily diary highlighting how your issues impacted your holiday, as this will ultimately affect how much you can claim back. For example, if you were bedridden for the entire holiday it might be reasonable for you to get a full refund, whereas if it only reduced your enjoyment for a small part of the holiday, then your reasonable compensation will be less.

It’s wise to take down names and addresses of other guests who witnessed your accident/ situation or have suffered the same problems as you. Your claim will be even stronger if other people are prepared to back you up and make a statement.

Be it a taxi fare to the hospital, medication or phone call to someone at home, keep a log of all expenses and receipts. You may be able to claim these back if they are a direct result of the breach or failings of the holiday company.

Don’t feel obliged to accept a small token of compensation if you feel you have a strong case. Remember you have rights and are entitled to a fair deal!

If you're travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport, then you have certain protections and rights under EU Regulations. The airline has an obligation to offer you help and possibly compensation if your flight delay is expected to go beyond a time of 2-3 hours depending upon the length of your flight. If the airline can prove the delay was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’, then no compensation is payable. Extraordinary circumstances are situations outside the control of the airline e.g severe weather. Keep a record of flight numbers, times and the reasons claimed for any delay.

For more advice and to find your nearest QualitySolicitors firm, visit our website on www.qualitysolicitors.com

As part of our commitment to serving you better, we highly recommend utilising the resources available at the Money Advice Service website. Their comprehensive guides and information cover various aspects of financial and legal matters, including small claims court procedures and may be able to give you the support you need.

Please note: the law varies from country to country so the following is only a general guide.

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