Cosmos Holidays will be asking direct customers to pay the balance of their holidays four weeks earlier than their standard eight weeks before departure.

Cosmos mainstream managing director Stuart Jackson said the terms and conditions are being changed for the operator’s summer 2010 second-edition brochures released at Christmas, requiring customers to settle the balance 12 weeks before departure.

While he added agents have different periods of grace for making payments according to their commercial terms, he would not rule out asking agents to pay up earlier when their commercial deals are renegotiated.

Nor does Jackson believe the move will deter customers from making early bookings thanks to the change in rules.

He said: “I think most people booking online or through a travel agent on the high street are paying 12 weeks in advance anyway.”

Meanwhile, a TUI UK spokeswoman said the operator is still considering changing its own final balance collection from eight weeks before departure to 12 weeks.

If the change is implemented, it would be undertaken before Christmas and wheeled out across all of the vertically integrated operator’s brands.

The spokeswoman said: “Our partners have been supportive of this move and we will advise them as soon as any decision is made so that they have enough time to make any necessary changes to their systems.”