People should be on their guard against Black Friday deals that seem too good to be true when booking a trip abroad this month, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has warned.
Research from the Atol scheme has shown that 43% plan to book an overseas trip this autumn, with travel companies and airlines offering deals for Black Friday (November 24), Cyber Monday (November 27) and Travel Tuesday (Tuesday 28).
Michael Budge, head of Atol at the CAA, said: “Over the Black Friday weekend, there can be many attractive deals offered by holiday companies, but consumers need to be wary.
“It is vital that people research thoroughly before booking, as there can be a risk of getting caught out by hidden costs and extras, or potentially fraudulent companies.
“We urge consumers to check for Atol protection, book by credit card where possible and take out travel insurance to offer layers of financial protection for their next package trip.”
Travellers are being encouraged to visit the Atol website and use the ‘check for Atol’ tool to see if a holiday provider is licensed.
Travel companies selling air package holidays in the UK are required to hold an Atol, with the scheme also applying to some flight bookings.
If an Atol-licensed travel company stops trading, customers who booked a package holiday are protected, meaning they will not get stuck abroad or lose money if they are yet to travel.
As Black Friday approaches, the Atol scheme has published a series of “top travel tips” for people to follow. These are: check for Atol financial protection, watch out for hidden costs, use a credit card when booking, and get travel insurance.
The ‘hidden costs’ advice states: “Before booking a holiday, it’s important to check there are no hidden costs hiding in the terms and conditions or [the] bargain price will soon start to rise.”
The ‘credit card’ advice states: “Using a credit card may allow people to benefit from enhanced purchase protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
“This means if you pay for your flight or hotel with a credit card and something doesn’t go to plan, in many cases your credit card issuer should provide a refund (for purchases between £100 and £30,000).”