Elite agents claim ‘lack of clarity’ over Atol Certificates

Elite agents claim ‘lack of clarity’ over Atol Certificates

Agents say there is still a lack of clarity on how best to comply with the new Atol Certificates on the eve of them being enforced.

From today (Monday) agents will have to issue one of three-types of Atol Certificate when they take payment for a booking.

They will also need to have an agency agreement in place with any suppliers they intend to sell.

However agents at the Elite Travel Group Conference in Warwick this weekend said there is still a lot of confusion about the detail of how they comply with the regulations and little consumer awareness of the changes.

Elite Travel Group chairman Wayne Darrock (pictured) said: “It’s a mess, there’s no question.”

Nigel Arimtage from Millington Travel said: “We are sort of ready, but it has been too quick. With the tour operators, some know what they’re doing, some don’t. We’ve worked with our back office system provider to produce Atol Certificates and we have an Atol.”

But he said: “I don’t understand why this hasn’t been delayed,” adding “consumers don’t understand it and agents are worried about it.”

Kristina Hulme from Travel By Design said: “We have put in for an Atol with Abta, so are waiting to get the paperwork through. If I’m in a difficult position I will get Abta on the phone, but I don’t sell on the internet.”

Speaking to Travel Weekly at the conference Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said it has seen a lot of activity in the last five days to get agency agreements in place.

According to Tanzer, Abta has surveyed its tour operator members in the last couple of weeks and found that 90% were “in good shape” prior to today’s implementation.

“I think it will be ok,” he said. “I think the majority of tour operators have realised they have to get these (agreements) to their agents.”

Tanzer said there are still certain question marks over the scheme, for example if an agent takes money for a booking, but there is a delay before the booking is actually made, at what point is the certificate issued?

But he said that the scheme is “broadly a help” particularly when it comes to helping clients in the event of a failure.


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