Everything you need to know before booking a staycation this summer
As international travel restrictions look set to continue, consumers may now be more likely to consider a ‘staycation’ when planning a summer holiday this year.
Given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has put together the following tips to help consumers before they book:
Take time to read the t&cs: Read the terms and conditions (T&Cs) and make sure you understand them before you pay a deposit, or pay in full. Look for the cancellation policy and any references to public health measures, or Government advice that may affect your booking. Only book when you are happy with what you are agreeing to.
Request a copy before you book: If you cannot find the T&Cs, for example on the business’s website, contact them directly and ask for a copy before you pay any money. If the business does not have this information available, ask them to confirm the details in writing.
If anything is unclear – contact the business: If any of the T&Cs are unclear, or if you need to clarify any details, get in touch with the business to make sure you fully understand your rights and obligations before you book. If any important information is given over the phone, follow up with an email confirming the details. This will mean you have a record of your conversation, which may help in the event that you need to request a refund in the future.
Ask the ‘what if..?’ questions: Many standard T&Cs may not cover alternative arrangements, or deposit refunds where public health measures prevent a booking from going ahead. You can contact the business and ask them for additional information before you make a payment.
Scenarios to consider include:
What are my options if my booking is cancelled due to public health measures, or other COVID-19 related circumstances?
Am I entitled to a refund if I cancel my booking because of Government guidance?
If I feel uncomfortable travelling due to circumstances at the time and wish to cancel my booking, will I be offered a refund?
If I am unable to travel due to mandatory quarantine, am I entitled to a refund? If not, what are my options?
Ask about payment options: Find out if it’s possible to pay in instalments rather than paying up front? You may wish to consider looking for businesses that offer payment closer to departure when there’s more certainty about travel proceeding.
Keep a copy of the t&cs: Keep a copy of the T&Cs at the time of booking as proof of your entitlements if there is a change of plans or something goes wrong. For example, if the original T&Cs give you the right to a refund, the business is not allowed to change that term without your agreement.
Do your research & be vigilant: Be sure to do your research before you book. Watch out for rental accommodation scams. This is where scammers go to a genuine holiday website and put up a fake listing for a place to rent. These scams will try and get you to pay the full rental price or a sizeable deposit upfront. Therefore it’s important to do some quick research, check reviews and social media pages before paying either a deposit or providing payment in full.
Visit ccpc.ie for more information and the latest updates, or call the dedicated consumer helpline on 01 402 5555.