As part of a major overhaul of consumer protection laws in the UK and across the EU, new measures will be introduced in 2022 which are designed to address perceived flaws in consumer protection laws such as those dealing with package travel, unfair contract terms and misleading practices.
Regulators will receive significantly greater powers to deal with non-compliant travel businesses. This will include GDPR-level fines that will make compliance with consumer protection as business critical as ensuring that customer data is handled lawfully. These are changes which will affect every travel company in 2022.
In the UK, the Government has highlighted several problems within the consumer protection system – enforcement powers are inadequate, and the enforcement process itself is too slow and too expensive.
Under the new proposed measures, regulators will have more control to determine whether there has been a breach of consumer law and then to take appropriate action. Sanctions could include fines of up to 10% of global annual turnover.
In addition, travel companies will need to pay attention to new laws which prohibit the use of fake consumer reviews and techniques used to pressure consumers into making purchases (e.g., countdown timers or “drip pricing”). It will also become easier for consumers to bring class actions against travel companies.
UK based travel companies selling into the EU will need to ensure that they are compliant with new measures coming in under the EU’s New Deal for Consumers. These new laws aim to modernise and enhance existing EU consumer laws.
Under these provisions, EU regulators will receive increased powers to fine non-compliant businesses (up to 4% of annual turnover or €2m). Additionally, travel companies will have to inform customers about how search results are ranked and the basis upon which prices are personalised.
Travel companies will also need to ensure that customer reviews and endorsements are genuine and that they do not fall foul of the new prohibition on bulk ticket purchases and resales. These measures will come into force in May 2022. Further measures will also be introduced to encourage EU consumers to bring class actions against non-compliant companies.
To learn more about the new UK and EU consumer protection measures and how they may impact your travel business, please use the links below to review our three-part series of articles:
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