How the Czech Trade Inspection Authority can help you claim compensation for travel-agency blues

The regulator is able to review poor services and help claim compensation if tour operators do not fulfill commitments. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.07.2023 11:49:00 (updated on 24.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

People planning holidays this summer with a travel agency or tour operator should know that the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) can step in to help should any issues arise. Last year, the ČOI dealt with 40 such complaints. Česká televize writes that should a complaint made to a travel agency be rejected or not compensated, then a separate complaint can be lodged higher up to the ČOI.

Failure to provide adequate services

Possible complaints can encompass a variety of factors, such as: improper advertising; failure to supply the services offered; excess noise around the place of accommodation (or other disturbances); undue delays; and general low-quality service. 

One such complaint last year, Česká televize describes, is a tour operator failing to ensure that accommodation had step-free access. The complainant also noted false advertising: the beach was not actually 50 meters from the hotel, as the travel company said.

Complaints to the ČOI can be made digitally or via post: full details in Czech can be found here. An English version of the website, which shows how to submit digital complaints, is here.

Legal experts say that they always recommend solving problems directly at the location – if possible – and also suggest taking photos and videos as evidence. It is also a good idea to have the complaint confirmed in writing. However, experts also point out that unfulfilled vacation plans do not always constitute a legitimate reason for a complaint.

expats tip

If going away on holiday, consider registering on the government's DROZD system. This makes it possible for the government to effectively provide up-to-date information on travel during emergencies. It also helps the embassy organize assistance for Czech citizens during unexpected events (such as natural disasters).

It is also pertinent to note that natural-disaster-based causes of disruption – current Greek forest fires being an example – tend to invoke force majeure and may clear the travel company of any contractual liability. However, there may still be chances to claim compensation if the travel agency fails to offer a refund or alternative travel options.

In addition to the ČOI, dissatisfied clients also have the option to seek assistance from companies authorized by the Ministry of Industry, where services are provided free of charge. Some of these companies are non-profit entities that can cooperate with law firms and also assist in court proceedings.

Compensation levels vary

People can file complaints about, and claim compensation for, all tourism services in Czechia. However, there are no concrete laws with regards to the amount of compensation that companies should pay. Thus, the ČOI often uses German regulations as a guideline.

In the case of accomodation, the compensation is 10 to 15 percent of the tour price. For air travel, customers can obtain compensation in the event of a flight delay, cancellation, denied boarding, or loss or damage to luggage.

As per EU regulations, this amount depends on the length of the flights. For flights up to 1,500 kilometers in length, the claim can be up to EUR 250. Delayed flights up to 3,500 kilometers can result in a compensation of up to EUR 400, and longer flights can lead to a compensation of up to EUR 600. This does not apply to non-EU-based airlines.

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