Holidaymakers are being given a new option to “sidestep” claims management firms to resolve disputes with Abta member travel companies.
The travel association is extending its long-running alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme to cover personal injury.
Personal injury claims have not previously been covered by the current scheme, which has been resolving customer complaints for more than 40 years.
The conciliation option is described as a “simple and cost effective” means for members and consumers to resolve personal injury claims, including for holiday sickness, up to £10,000.
The independent scheme offers travel companies and holidaymakers a means of resolving complaints without the need to go to court.
“With ADR there is no need for the holidaymaker to work with a claims management company, meaning that they would receive any award in full,” Abta said.
ADR decisions take no longer than eight weeks from start to finish.
The scheme is administered by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), which is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).
It is available to holidaymakers who have booked with an Abta travel company and are unable to resolve their differences through the firm’s complaints process.
The change follows a “dramatic rise” in holiday sickness claims, while reported sickness levels in resort remain stable since changes to the law in 2013, according to Abta.
Holiday sickness claims now represent nine in 10 personal injury complaints received by Abta members – a figure that stood at around 60% in 2013.
“Due to a loophole in the law, holiday sickness claims have become a lucrative area for claims management companies who typically take a significant cut out of any award, “ the travel association added
Legal affairs director, Simon Bunce, said: “Abta has been successfully helping to resolve holiday complaints for over 40 years and we are delighted to be able to extend our complaints resolution to cover personal injury claims.
“The new ADR scheme means that people who have travelled with an Abta tour operator can now access a straightforward, cost-effective and fair resolution service for personal injury claims without the need to go to court.
“This enables members to save on legal costs and holidaymakers to save time and sidestep claims firms that are likely to take a large slice of any award.”
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