Let’s Get One Thing Straight #3 – Cooling Off Periods

Does the 14-day ‘Cooling Off Period’ apply to Travel and Leisure? Anna Wendel settles the debate in this, the third entry in Travlaw’s ‘Let’s Get One Thing Straight’ series.

Cancellation policies and what is refundable to consumers are the subject of many queries (read = headaches) in the world of travel & leisure. The specific question here is “can a customer exercise a 14-day ‘cooling off period’ after purchasing travel services from you”?

In short, the answer is no, and here’s why:

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 brought together the various do’s and don’ts of distance selling previously covered by laws such as the Distance Selling Regulations, but not all contracts are covered.

Notably, Regulation 6(1)(g) states that package travel and tours (as defined by the 2015 EU Package Travel Directives and their implementations such as the 2018 Package Travel Regulations) are exempt from the 14-day cancellation period. So basically, all package holidays!

What about non-packages?

Regulation 28(1)h says that cancellation rights do not apply to “the supply of accommodation, transport of goods, vehicle rental services, catering or services related to leisure activities, if the contract provides for a specific date or period of performance.” That is quite a wide range and has always been interpreted to cover most, if not all, travel services.

So, to reiterate, a customer does not have the right to exercise the 14-day cancellation period if they have purchased travel services, and your business is not obliged to offer it either. Still, it always helps to have a clear cancellation policy.

Anna Wendel

Catch up with the previous entries in the ‘Let’s Get One Thing Straight’ series;

Number 1 – Card Fees

Number 2 – Freedom of Information Requests

This article was originally published on: 29 May 2024

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