Details of fines imposed on the UK’s two largest tour operating groups for breaching Abta’s code of conduct have been revealed in a BBC investigation.
Tui was fined 48 times during 2015 and 2016 by the travel association.
The breaches included inaccurate advertising and sending holidaymakers to resorts where significant building work was being carried out.
The figures, compiled from industry data by You & Yours on Radio 4, show Tui’s most recent fine of £1,500 was imposed in December for cancelling a customer’s travel arrangements after the holiday had already been paid for in full.
Many of the other fines were for failing to respond quickly enough to correspondence.
However, three of them were for not telling customers about significant building works at their resorts before they went on holiday.
Tui said it was committed to resolving any issue a customer experiences.
Thomas Cook was fined on 24 occasions during 2015 and 2016, often for failing to deal with customer’s complaints or for not paying arbitration awards on time.
Thomas Cook was charged at total of £10,750 while Tui was fined a total of £38,500 over the same period.
An Abta spokesman said: “You really need to look at the percentage of problems you are seeing in terms of the total number of people they take away.
“If it is just a one-off problem, obviously that’s not good enough for you as the holidaymaker, but it doesn’t necessarily represent a systemic problem with the company.”
Tui said in a statement the vast majority of its customers have a “great holiday”, adding: “We are sorry to hear if a holiday falls short of expectations or is impacted by circumstances, which are sometimes beyond our control. We remain committed to resolving any issue a customer experiences.”
Thomas Cook said: “We aim for zero breaches of the Abta code and we continue to improve the business and put our customer at the heart of everything we do.”
The Abta spokesman added: “We would like to see no breaches of the code as well.
“The point is, when they do occur, it is essential the tour operator does their best to address it straight away, or if it is not resolved satisfactorily, then people should come and tell us about it.”
The code of conduct states customers should be told about building work in advance, or offered alternative travel arrangements or a full refund if the alternative would constitute a significant alteration to their holiday.
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