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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Travel agencies will return funds for unused travel vouchers

< previous | next > 30.08.2022

Travel agencies will return funds for unused travel vouchers
  • In response to consumer complaints, the President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, examined the practices used by twelve travel agencies.
  • The President of UOKiK verified how the businesses redeem vouchers offered for cancelled services due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Travel agencies under examination have changed the illegal rules – tourists will be reimbursed for unused travel vouchers.

The COVID Act provided for support for travel enterprises who have found themselves in a difficult situation due to restrictions imposed in connection with COVID-19. In the face of closed borders, travel restrictions, suspended flights, or decisions made by certain countries to temporarily close hotels and resorts, many tourist services have not been provided. Travel vouchers represented a new form of settlements between tourist agencies and consumers. Instead of a cash reimbursement, travel agencies could offer customers a voucher representing an equivalent of the previously paid amount.

As a result of numerous consumer signals, the President of UOKiK took tourist organisations under the microscope to check how they redeem vouchers in practice. Doubts were raised by the terms and conditions laid down in regulations concerning information provided to customers regarding tourist vouchers, especially ones that could be misleading as to the customers’ right to be reimbursed for the unused voucher value, both during its validity period and following its expiry.

Actions taken by the President of UOKiK applied to ten travel agencies: Best Reisen Group, Coral Travel Poland, Ecco Holiday, Exim, Grecos Holiday, Konsorcjum Polskich Biur Podróży Trade&Travel Company, L.T.M. Luxury Travel Management, Nowa Itaka, Orient Travel, Rainbow Tours, TOP Touristik, TUI Poland, and businesses cooperating with these companies. Through investigations and requests, it was possible to change the practices of travel agencies without the need to take formal administrative measures. In the case of Orient Travel, UOKiK determined that they did not give consumers vouchers regulated in the COVID Act, whereas L.T.M. Luxury Travel Management issued only several of them at the express request of customers, without any additional terms and conditions concerning their redemption.

“We have analysed the terms and conditions of agreements, regulations and guidelines applied by travel agencies. We checked how they informed consumers and how they redeemed the vouchers issued during the COVID-19 epidemic in practice. We have called on ten out of twelve investigated businesses to cease practices that infringe the collective interests of consumers and to remove the effects of their application. Thanks to the open attitude of businesses, it was possible to remove the illegal provisions. Consumers have the right to be reimbursed funds for unused tourist vouchers,” said Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

The examined travel agencies have acknowledged the reservations raised by the President of UOKiK and voluntarily removed misleading and illegal provisions from draft agreements. The companies also undertook to reimburse the value of unused vouchers after their expiry date has lapsed or whenever requested by the customer.

In case of legal doubts, we encourage you to seek free consumer assistance provided by municipal and district consumer ombudsmen.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL
You can also follow us on Instagram: @uokikgovpl

Consumer Support:

Phone: 801 440 220 or +48 22 266 76 76 – consumer helpline
E-mail: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer Ombudsmen – in your town or district

Attached files

 

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