29 Aug

ABTA releases figures on Consumer Helpline enquiries

“Nearly 15,000 calls managed by ABTA’s customer services team”

ABTA today releases figures that show the number of consumer enquiries it has managed in the last year. In the twelve months leading to June 2013, the ABTA customer services team handled 14,826 calls, which ranged from consumers looking for advice on destinations, queries about financial protection and assistance in resolving complaints with travel companies.

Many of the calls were from consumers wanting to find out more about destinations that have featured in the news in the last 12 months for political or economic reasons. ABTA staff help consumers understand what to do if they have booked to areas that the FCO is advising against travel to and also reassure consumers due to travel to other areas, helping to reduce the pressure on ABTA Members’ customer service departments.

The customer services team also helps ABTA Members and their customers manage complaints. The team is able to advise consumers of their legal rights and help them understand what they can and can’t claim for.  During the year, in the majority of cases where there was a valid complaint, ABTA was able to quickly settle the complaint between the consumer and the ABTA Member. In total, 407 complaints were referred to ABTA’s independent arbitration scheme. At the same time the department has also managed to improve its average response time to consumer complaints from seven to five days, helped by an increasing number of consumers using the online complaint form, up from 50.5% to 55.5%.

Charles Fachiri, ABTA Senior Consumer Affairs Manager said: “I am pleased that at a time when the public is increasingly turning to ABTA for advice we have been able to significantly reduce our response times. We’ve done this partly by streamlining our procedures and moving more and more correspondence online but also through the hard work of a dedicated, expert team. We are also seeing many more consumers choosing to phone us for advice, some of them with complicated problems, some simply needing reassurance about a destination. Our work not only helps them, we are also able to reduce the pressure on our Members’ customer services departments.”

The ABTA Consumer Helpline is open from 10:00-16:00 Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays. The number is: 020 3117 0599 (national rate).