Resolving disputes

Stage 1

Stage 1 is designed to bring you and the company together. You’re in control and can decide whether to settle or withdraw your case at any time. This stage comes at no cost and you don’t need legal representation. It’s also approved by Government as a Consumer ADR body under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.

You have the option to register online or via post. You may find it easier to use our online process as notifications will be sent directly to you via email and text. We don’t accept complaints over the phone, but we will give general advice. Stage one can take up to 50 calendar days, although this can vary depending on the documents you supply.

What will I need to register?

Whether you register online or via post, we will need the following documents:

  • Confirmation invoice and ATOL certificate (if applicable)  
  • All letters/emails relating to your complaint
  • Any phone conversations will need to be documented 
  • Register your complaint with us.

Once we have received your documents, we will review your complaint and provide you with any advice we feel necessary. If you have had difficulty getting a response from the company, we can contact them on your behalf. 

When all the information has been gathered, we will contact the company, asking them to review your case. 

We must stress that ABTA doesn’t award compensation or decide on your case. If you are unhappy with the outcome of Stage 1, you have the option to continue to Stage 2.


Stage 2

Your dispute can be dealt with either through the arbitration or conciliation scheme. Both schemes are independent and are only available when your complaint has been registered with us and you have been through stage 1. 

If your primary dispute is regarding an accident/illness, you will need to read the information below regarding the Conciliation scheme, for all other disputes please refer to the Arbitration Scheme. 


The scheme allows you to resolve your dispute without going to court; it's faster, less formal and costs less than instructing solicitors. It’s conducted privately upon written documentation and evidence.

What do I need to know? 

  • The arbitrator considers evidence submitted by both you and the company. 
  • After considering the evidence the arbitrator will make a legally binding award. 
  • Payment of the award is due within 21 days from the date it is issued. 
  • You can appeal the award within 14 days. 
  • A win is where you are awarded an amount higher than previously being offered. 
  • A loss is where you are awarded an amount equal or less than previously offered. 
  • If you lose, you will be directed to pay the company an amount equivalent to your registration fee. For example, if your claim is less than £7,500 and you lose, your maximum outlay will be £216. 

What is the registration fee for arbitration?

The registration fee depends on the amount you are claiming.

Claim amount Fee
£1.00 - £7,500 £108.00
£7,501 - £25,000 £135.00



Conciliation is a process through which a neutral third party seeks to help you and the company come to a satisfactory settlement by negotiation and compromise. It’s voluntary and conducted on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning that any compromises made during the process cannot be used as evidence should the process be unsuccessful and you decide to take the matter to court.

What do I need to know?

  • It’s flexible, confidential and actively facilitates negotiations between the parties.
  • The conciliation process is conducted via phone or in writing. 
  • The conciliator will advise of the parties’ role, time frame and things to consider. 
  • They may propose a solution in an attempt to close the matter. 
  • If settlement is reached it will be recorded in the outcome statement. 
  • There is a short cooling off period. 
  • It is binding once the confirmation of outcome is signed by both parties.