Online use requires new protections for holidaymakers

The increase in people booking package holidays online rather than relying on a travel agent to handle matters means that new measures are needed to protect consumers, the EU consumer affairs commissioner has said on a visit to Ireland.
Speaking to media, Meglena Kuneva said that current EU laws designed to protect consumers were out of date. About 46 per cent of people now book their holidays themselves and laws to protect them are now no longer adequate.
Complaints by holidaymakers include hotels not being as described in brochures and on websites, companies going bust and problems with poor standards of service and car hire. Kuneva admitted that new protections may mean higher costs for consumers.
Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny on RTE Radio 1, travel agent John Galligan said the government should stop penalising small Irish businesses with draconian regulation which only applied to the “little people” and not their much larger online competitors.
“It’s a crazy situation when small businesses selling travel may only do so if they comply with outdated, anti-competitive and expensive legislation while their much larger competitors, some of whom report massive losses each year, do not have to,” Galligan added.

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