Atol Certificate deadline is 'too soon for some agents'

Atol Certificate deadline is 'too soon for some agents'

Smaller agents and operators are struggling to meet the deadline for issuing Atol Certificates, according to the Association of Atol Companies (AAC).

The certificates, due to launch on October 1, form a key stage of Atol reform. Retailers will need to issue certificates to consumers at the point of booking any Flight-Plus, flight-only or package, or they will not be permitted to accept a payment.

Alan Bowen, adviser to the AAC, warned: “There is a considerable number of people whose systems are a long way from being able to issue Atol Certificates.

“It’s going to be a mess. The process is going to take months.

“People are being told: ‘If you can’t issue a certificate, you can’t accept a deposit.’

“I don’t think many agents are in a position to issue a certificate.”

Writing in Travel Weekly, David Moesli, deputy director of the CAA’s consumer protection group, confirmed: “From October 1 any business selling an Atol-protected trip must issue customers with an Atol Certificate as soon as they receive any payment. If they do not, they will be in breach of the regulations.”

Abta and the CAA are holding meetings for agents and operators to clarify the requirements.

An Abta spokesman said: “Businesses are preparing. We’ve had more people ringing with queries about agency agreements than Atol Certificates.”

Tui Travel and Thomas Cook confirmed they would be ready.

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