ABTA has submitted its formal response to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skill's (BIS) Consultation on the Consumer Rights Directive opposing its extension to cover package holidays.
The Consultation focuses in particular on whether pre-ticked boxes for additional payments and premium rate consumer helpline numbers should be allowed.
ABTA believes it is unfair to extend the policy changes to cover package holidays, which sit outside the scope of the Consumer Rights Directive.
It says package travel is covered under the Package Travel Directive, currently under revision by the European Commission.
ABTA also believes it is unfair to extend the Directive to cover sales of timeshares, which are sold by some members, as these are regulated under the Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations.
It says the timeshare industry is one of the most strictly regulated in Europe and attracts few complaints today.
With regards to the point raised in the consultation around whether pre-ticked payment boxes should be allowed, ABTA's Code of Conduct requires that all members must be transparent on pricing and has discouraged the use of opt-out/pre-ticked boxes.
"Therefore use of these boxes in the package travel and timeshare markets is minimal. However, there are some exceptions when it comes to charitable donations with some ABTA members using pre-ticked boxes to fundraise for charities," it said.
"ABTA believes the proposals could have a negative knock-on effect on charitable donations and has suggested that these could be allowed on an opt-out basis, perhaps with a cap on the amount."
With regards to access to basic rate customer help lines, all ABTA members are expected to provide an accessible and professional service to consumers who might have queries or complaints to make.
"ABTA is not aware that Members apply premium rate numbers to such services and sees no reason to prohibit this when the need to do so does not exist."
Luke Pollard, ABTA head of public affairs, said: "The package travel and timeshare markets are already governed by their own specific sets of regulations and our members operating in these markets will also be regulated by the ABTA Code of Conduct. We strongly oppose any extension of the Consumer Rights Directive to cover these products and believe that the correct route for any changes should be via the existing legislation to avoid complexities and unnecessary red tape."
Friday, November 2, 2012