Travel companies will have to notify their customers if they do not have access to a recognised body to resolve grievances from today (Thursday).
The warning came from Abta as EU Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) legislation came into power.
This requires all companies to notify their customers of an approved third party who can help resolve disputes.
Abta’s ADR scheme has been audited by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and gained approval under the legislation.
Last year the scheme managed 12,000 cases, of which 400 went through to independent arbitration.
Abta has invested in the scheme by introducing online complaints procedures and improved guidance for customers.
The Chartered Institute of Trading Standard’s audit recognised the ease of use of the scheme and the clear guidance for customers.
While companies are not legally required to use ADR, they are obliged to tell customers if they do not use an approved provider.
The legislation aims to widen the availability of low-cost ADR processes to consumers who wish to raise complaints against businesses but who do not want to embark on costly and lengthy court action.
All Abta members and their customers are entitled to use Abta’s ADR scheme.
The association’s head of legal services, Simon Bunce, said: “Many customers will now be looking out for companies offering ADR schemes and travel companies will have to actively inform their customers if they do not offer access to an approved ADR scheme.
Abta’s ADR scheme offers a bespoke and specialist system for Abta members and their customers and it can offer a substantial marketing advantage to Abta members over their competitors, as well as showing an ongoing commitment to the highest standards of customer care.”
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