Abta 2012: Abta working with OFT on members' protection claims

Abta 2012: Abta working with OFT on members' protection claims

Read all our other Abta Travel Convention 2012 coverage here

Abta has had an initial meeting with the Office of Fair Trading following a complaint about the way members promote the consumer protection they offer by Travel Counsellors.

Last month David Speakman, chairman of Travel Counsellors, made an official complaint to the OFT about Abta members who claim on their websites to offer “full financial cover”.

He has since continued to highlight instances to Abta about alleged breaches of its own advice to agents to avoid suggesting sales are fully covered unless this applies to everything they sell.

Abta says it does not expect there to be a formal investigation by the OFT, but that it is cooperating with an existing joint Civil Aviation Authority and OFT move to consult on the issue.

A meeting took place this week with the OFT and Abta’s head of legal Simon Bunce and consultation documents about what both Abta and non-Abta agents can claim to offer is expected within days.

Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, admitted that some instances highlighted by Speakman did contravene its own advice on the wording members should use when explaining the protection they offer.

“We are always grateful to David when he points out that there are things we should look at on our members’ websites.

“We have a monitoring team but it’s very difficult to monitor every single page on each one of our members’ websites but when we do see people over-claiming [about the protection they offer] we get them to change it.

“We are in contact with the OFT and we work together on having transparency within the industry across Abta members and are looking forward to continuing that collaboration.”

Tanzer said there were instances in which members are able to claim that everything they sell is fully protected by Abta, but admitted some of the instances highlighted by Speakman were valid.

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