New policies have been published which it is hoped will give customers greater clarity over what protection they are entitled to through the Atol licencing scheme.
The publication of the policies by the Air Travel Trust (ATT), which backs the UK financial protection regime, come after new Atol regulations were brought in in April.
It sets out the circumstances in which customers can expect payments to be approved by trustees of the ATT in the event of an Atol holder failure.
The ATT said it is designed to address long-standing concerns about the ‘poor standard’ of documentation in the travel industry which has in the past caused customer confusion about what is protected and what is not.
It claimed this has led to inefficiencies in the process of assessing claims from customers in the event of a company failure by the CAA, causing delays in payment.
The new policies set out clearly what documentation travel firms must provide, including the new Atol certificates which are due to officially come in in October following a delay to allow the industry to update their systems.
The policy also sets out the requirement for all retailers to have agency agreements in place which clearly state the relationship between supplier, or Atol holder, and agent.
The ATT said: “These are vital pieces of documentation that the travel trade must have in place and issue correctly, as otherwise payments made by the ATT may be affected and potentially agents could find themselves responsible for refunding customers.”
An ATT spokesperson said: “When an Atol holder fails, the trustees want to make payments as quickly as possible so that consumers can either continue their holiday or get their money back to rebook.
“Having the right documentation in place is absolutely essential, and the revised policy makes this clear to travel businesses and sets out what their obligations are.
“This new policy brings clarity to the industry on when payments will and will not be made, and reiterates how important it is that travel businesses understand and comply with the new documentary requirements following Atol reform.”
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