HOW TO PROTECT FROM FAMILY TOURS
How tourists are deceived
In the news, almost every day there are stories about travelers who have purchased non-existent tours, and in social networks outraged tourists say how instead of the promised comfortable room overlooking the sea got a cheap hotel, which does not even have basic amenities.
In fact, scams that “practice” tourist scams, many. Every year they come up with new ways to squeeze as much money out of the inattentive tourist as possible. But there is also good news – all this can be avoided by remembering a few rules and approaching the choice of tour operator responsibly.
How not to get on the hook of fraudsters
First of all, you need to check for a license from a tour operator. It is enough to visit the official site of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine section “Licensed Register of subjects of tour operator activity”. It will not be superfluous to visit special sites where travel lovers talk about decent tour operators and not very much.
Care should be taken when signing a contract with a tour operator. It is necessary to scrutinize all the points of the contract – from the conditions of rest to the responsibility of the parties.
Before signing the contract it is also necessary to check whether it contains the necessary conditions specified in Art. 20 of the Law of Ukraine “On Tourism”. The tour operator is responsible to the tourist for failure or improper performance of the contract. However, it should be noted that the same Article 20 establishes a number of exceptions to this rule, in particular where the non-compliance or improper fulfillment of the terms of the tourist service contract has occurred:
– because of the tourist
– through the fault of third parties unrelated to the provision of the services specified in this agreement
– as a result of force majeure or as a result of events that the tour operator (travel agent) and other tourist entities could not have foreseen
What to do if you are affected by the tour operator’s actions
Have you owned a nonexistent tour? It is a blatantly fraudulent act on the part of persons who impersonate a tour operator. In this case, urgently contact law enforcement agencies with a statement of fraud, citing Art. 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Let’s look at another case. For example, a tour operator has a license and all the necessary documents, but during the trip you have problems with air travel, hotel check-in, shuttle service, etc.
The law states that if your flight is canceled or you are lodged at a bad hotel, then you have the right to contact the tour operator directly and claim damages.
The victim’s tourist action algorithm should look like this: contact a tour operator’s representative, explain the situation, and try to get a solution.
The tour operator does not engage in dialogue. How to competently defend your rights?
Does the tour operator not contact or refuse to help? The first thing to do is to gather all the necessary evidence to prove that you have suffered damage from the tour operator. These can be checks, transport tickets, documents proving accommodation, food, etc.
The second step is to prepare a written request to the tour operator regarding compensation for the damage caused. The appeal should describe the problem situation in detail and provide supporting evidence.
An additional lever of influence on a tour operator may be to apply to the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, since the activity of tour operators is regulated by the Law “On Consumer Protection”. It is also possible to apply to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine as the central executive body that ensures the formation of state policy in the field of tourism.
As practice shows, appeals to the tour operator and complaints to the public authorities make the offender pay attention to the violation and try to resolve the situation in a pre-trial order.
If the above measures do not produce the expected results, you should consult an experienced lawyer to help you gather all the necessary evidence and protect your interests in court.
Author: Andrey Kubov