Travels and transportation
Your rights when buying package tours and linked travel arrangements
You have a number of rights when you buy a package tour, e.g. if the trip is changed or has deficiencies, or you change your mind about the purchase. If you purchase a linked travel arrangement, you are protected if the tour operator goes bankrupt.
The EU Package Travel Directive gives you a number of rights when you buy a package tour from a travel agency.
The tour operator is responsible for all travel services in the package, and you are covered by a number of rights when you buy a package tour in Denmark, the other EU countries or Iceland, Norway or the UK.
Any time you simultaneously buy at least two ‘travel services’ from the same tour operator for a single amount, this constitutes a package tour. Typical travel services in package tours are flights, hotel stays, major experiences and car rental.
You can read more about your rights in various situations below.
Your rights if you change your mind about buying a package tour
You have the right to cancel a package tour. However, the tour operator may charge a fee for the cancellation. The fee must be stated in their travel conditions, and will either be:
- A standardised fee in relation to how far ahead you cancel or
- A fee corresponding to the expenses that the travel agency cannot get refunded.
The fee normally gets larger as you get closer to the departure date. The cancellation fee may therefore ultimately end up being equal to the entire price of the trip. This is because the tour operator may have obligations towards its suppliers.
Note that the general cooling-off period does not apply to travel. You therefore cannot expect to be entitled to all your money back if you simply cancel the purchase within 14 days.
Your rights if changes occur in the package tour
The tour operator is obliged to inform you of any changes in the package tour. If any significant changes occur after you purchased a package tour, such as a new departure time or a different hotel, you may be entitled to cancel the trip without paying a cancellation fee.
Whether a change in the departure time is seen as significant will depend on a specific assessment, taking into account how big the change is and the length of the trip.
If minor changes are made, you may be entitled to a price reduction.
You can also choose to accept another package tour offer, at an appropriate price discount
If a change in the package tour does not suit you, you must contact the tour operator and lodge a complaint as soon as possible.
If a tour operator demands extra payment
A tour operator may only raise the price after purchase if the purchase contract states that this option exists.
The price may only be raised if the increase is the direct result of:
- Changes in the price of transport for passengers due to higher fuel prices, taxes, charges or fees for the package tour
- Travel services imposed by a third party not directly involved in providing the package tour, or
- Exchange rates.
If the price increases by more than 8 per cent compared to the purchase price of the package tour, you are entitled to cancel without paying a cancellation fee.
Note that the tour operator may not change the price at all less than 21 days before the package tour starting date. If this happens, you do not have to pay the extra.
Your rights in case of deficiencies during the package tour
If you want to lodge a complaint about a deficiency in a package tour, you must do so directly with the tour operator. They are responsible for all elements of the package tour, including travel services provided by others.
This is the case, for example, if a travel service cannot be provided, or the standard of a hotel is not in line with what you were promised at the time of purchase. If the matter cannot be remedied, you are entitled to a reduction in the price of the package tour and compensation for any inconvenience or for expenses associated with a specific deficiency.
If there is a deficiency that significantly affects the package tour, which the tour operator has been made aware of and has not remedied within a reasonable time, you may cancel the agreement.
If you cancel the agreement, you can get the price of the trip refunded. There is usually a deduction for the value you received from the package tour.
You must make a complaint as soon as possible
It is important that you make a complaint to the tour operator as soon as you become aware of a deficiency, so the tour operator has the opportunity to remedy it. If you wait to complain about inadequate cleaning at a hotel, for example, until you have returned home, it is not certain that your claim will be upheld.
If possible, you should lodge your complaint in writing, such that you can document the complaint and the time it was made. If the tour operator does not follow up on your complaint, you may be entitled to compensation.
Your rights in the event of cancellation
You are entitled to a full refund if the tour operator cancels the package tour. The tour operator must inform you as soon as possible, and the refund must be made no later than 14 days after the cancellation.
You will also be entitled to compensation in many cases. However, this is not the case if the cancellation is due to failure to achieve the minimum number of participants stated in the agreement, or to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances such as war or a natural disaster.
Get help lodging a complaint about a package tour
If you are dissatisfied with a change in the package tour, or experience a deficiency, you must contact the tour operator as soon as possible and make a complaint. The tour operator is the party that issued the order confirmation.
You should make a complaint in writing and as soon as you can after becoming aware of a change or deficiency.
Help with complaints in relation to tour operators in Denmark
If you purchased a package tour from a Danish tour operator and you cannot find a solution, you can lodge a complaint with Pakkerejse-Ankenævnet (the package tour appeals board).
You can find tips and read more about your rights when buying package tours from Danish tour operators at the Consumer Rights in Denmark website, forbrug.dk.
Help with complaints in relation to tour operators in other countries
If you purchased a package tour from a tour operator in another EU country, Iceland, Norway or the UK, and you cannot find a solution, you can lodge a complaint with European Consumer Centre Denmark.
European Consumer Centre Denmark offers free assistance to consumers who experience problems with purchases in other EU countries or Iceland, Norway or the UK. European Consumer Centre Denmark cannot help companies or business travellers.
What is a package tour?
A package tour is any travel arrangement that combines at least two different types of travel service within the same trip. Typical package tours include charter trips, cruises, adventure trips, city weekend trips or bus trips with hotel accommodation.
To be covered by the entitlements related to package tours, your trip must consist of at least two of the following services:
- Transport (usually by plane, bus or train)
- Accommodation (hotel, cabin, cruise ship)
- Car, motorcycle or other vehicle rental
- Other tourist services that account for a significant part of the value of the package tour (such as concerts, motorsport, football matches or other experiences).
The various services must be combined by a single travel provider, and the trip must be purchased for a single total price, and must either last more than 24 hours or involve at least one overnight stay.
Examples of package tours:
- A classic charter holiday purchased at a travel agency
- A trip that a travel agency puts together for you
- Travel where a hotel stay, flight etc. are purchased from different suppliers, but at one total price
- Adventure gifts/trips where you spend the night at a hotel and visit a sight or have an experience
- If you buy plane tickets, for example, AND within 24 hours you click a link in the order confirmation that takes you to hotel or car rental etc., where your information is transferred automatically
- Trips marketed as package tours.
What is a linked travel arrangement?
If you have purchased a linked travel arrangement, you may be protected if the organiser of a travel service goes bankrupt.
A linked travel arrangement is basically any trip where you buy travel services from several different dealers of travel services, but one dealer has mediated the purchase of the subsequent services (and in relation to the same trip).
An example: You book a flight to Malaga online. Right after purchasing the ticket, an offer for car rental in Malaga pops up on the airline website. You click the link to the car rental company website and pay for a rental car in Malaga to be used on the same holiday.
In linked travel arrangements, you buy services from different dealers, who are therefore only responsible for providing their element of the trip. This means, for example, that the car rental company is only responsible for having a car in the selected category available for the days you have selected. The car rental company is not responsible for whether you arrive on time.
Linked travel arrangements can be purchased in two ways
The first is that you buy both travel services during a single visit to the dealer’s point of sale (e.g. their website), or during a single telephone conversation with the dealer.
The second is that you buy one travel service from a dealer (e.g. a flight or hotel stay), and are then referred to another dealer’s website after the purchase (e.g. a car rental company), where you buy a travel service within 24 hours of confirmation of the first service purchase.
Travel services in linked travel arrangements
The rules on linked travel arrangements distinguish between two types of travel services:
- Transport, accommodation and vehicle rental.
- ‘Other tourist services’. These could be tickets to concerts, sporting events, outings or amusement parks, guided tours, lift passes and rental of sporting equipment, such as ski gear, or spa treatments.
If a tourist service is only combined with one other travel service, the trip will not be recognised as a linked travel arrangement unless the tourist service constitutes at least 25 per cent of the total value of the trip or is a major element of it.
When a package tour is purchased from a booking portal
It is popular to book travel via booking portals. Before you book, find out who you have to contact if you have a problem that you want to make a complaint about. It could be the travel agency or the booking site.
A booking portal may be viewed as a tour operator, or simply as an intermediary, depending on how each country interprets the rules.
An intermediary is responsible for any faults related to the actual transaction, e.g. that the payment can be made, that your tickets are sent to you, and that what is stated on the intermediary’s website is true. A tour operator is responsible for the travel services you have purchased.
It can be difficult to know who to lodge a complaint with and what your rights are when you buy a package tour from a booking portal. Contact European Consumer Centre Denmark if you are unsure and need help determining this.
Tip: Look for a link to the ‘standard information form’, which explains that you have been offered a linked travel arrangement, and what your basic rights are. Dealers are required to link to this.
If you receive a payment demand for a holiday you have not purchased
If you book a holiday home or purchase a package tour on a foreign website, note that even if you have not entered your credit card information, but have provided details such as name, address and email address, you may have made a binding purchase.
In Germany, for example, it is quite normal to order an item without paying by card, and then receive a payment demand by post afterwards. The cooling-off period that applies when buying goods online does not apply when renting accommodation (e.g. when booking a holiday home). This means that you only have the right to cancel the agreement if this is stated in the terms of the agreement that you accepted when you made the purchase.
To be clear on what to expect, read the website’s purchase information carefully. You should generally not accept the terms and conditions of sale and enter your name and other personal information until you are sure that you want to purchase the given product or service.
How to lodge a complaint if flight times change
You must always lodge a complaint with the tour operator (e.g. the travel agency) if there are changes to the package tour – even if it is the airline that changes the flight times. You can also lodge a complaint with the airline. It is a good idea to lodge your complaint in writing and as soon as possible, so you can document that you have made a complaint.
If you cannot resolve the matter by lodging a complaint with the tour operator or the airline, you can lodge a complaint with Pakkerejse-Ankenævnet (the package tour appeals board), if you have purchased a package tour from a tour operator established in Denmark.
The Center for Klageløsning (centre for complaint resolution) can handle complaints made against airlines if they are established in Denmark or have accepted that the centre can handle their complaints.
European Consumer Centre Denmark can also help you in cases where the tour operator is established in another EU country, or Norway, Iceland or the UK. See contact information here.