23 Jan

Code of Conduct and Guidance changes

Members should update their privacy policies and booking conditions, if necessary.

1.    Privacy policies

The Code of Conduct now includes a new clause, requiring certain wording in Members’ privacy policies. It has been a requirement for some time that Members have privacy policies that are available to their clients. Now wording is required concerning what can be done with clients’ information in the event of the Member’s insolvency. Experience has shown that, when Members fail financially, there can be problems with obtaining customer data, making it hard for Members to deal with the aftermath, and for ABTA and the CAA to manage the claims process. 

New clause 1K

Privacy Policies
1K) Members shall have in place an effective policy for protecting the privacy of Clients, which shall be available to Clients, and which shall include any wording required by ABTA from time to time. 

Guidance on the application of the Code:
All Members must include in their privacy policies wording that, to the satisfaction of ABTA, ensures that, in the event of the Member’s insolvency, the client’s personal data can be passed to ABTA and the CAA by the Member or by the appointed insolvency practitioner. Suggested wording:
In the event of our insolvency we, or any appointed insolvency practitioner, may disclose your personal information to the CAA, and/or ABTA so that they can assess the status of your booking and advise you on the appropriate course of action under any scheme of financial protection. The CAA’s General Privacy Notice is at https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/About-us/General-privacy-notice/ ABTA’s Privacy Notice is at https://www.abta.com/privacy-notice.

2.    Booking conditions

There is a new requirement for Members, who have sales protected by the ABTA scheme of financial protection, to include a clause in their booking conditions about what happens in the event of their insolvency. It obtains clients’ consent to possible fulfilment of the travel arrangements, which can provide real benefits, rather than the client losing the holiday and making a claim. This is very similar to a clause required by the CAA of ATOL holders and the new requirement is:

Standards on Booking Conditions

If the booking conditions apply to sales covered by ABTA’s scheme of financial protection, you must include a clause stating that your Clients agree that, in the event of your insolvency, ABTA may arrange for the travel services to be provided by you to continue, or for a suitable alternative to be provided, or the Client may be required to claim a refund. Also, that the Client agrees to pay any outstanding sums.

The following suggested wording for Members has been added to our model booking conditions: package holiday. An updated version of our model has also been added to our website today.
You agree to accept that in the event of our insolvency ABTA may arrange for the services you have bought to continue, or for a suitable alternative to be provided at the same cost as your original booking. You also agree to accept that in circumstances where the travel service supplier provides the services you have bought, you agree to pay any outstanding sum under your contract with us to that alternative travel service provider. However, you also agree that in some cases the services will not be provided, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under ABTA’s Scheme of Protection (or your payment card issuer where applicable) for a refund of the monies you have paid.

3.    Other changes

ABTA’s Code of Conduct and Guidance on the application of the Code are now assured advice by our Primary Authority, Kent Trading Standards. As a result of this process, some minor streamlining and improvements have taken place. These are: the addition to the Code Guidance of examples of significant changes after departure; enhanced guidance in Standards on Booking Conditions (in the Code Guidance) regarding content of booking conditions; and some small changes to the product information section of Standards on Websites (in the Code Guidance).

The Code and Guidance can be found here.
The model booking conditions can be found here.

If you have any questions please contact Member Support on 020 3117 0597 or membersupport@abta.co.uk