Air travel continues to be the most complained about cross-border consumer issue, according to European Consumer Centre Ireland’s Annual Report 2017, just published. The report shows that within the top five consumer complaints for 2017 are air travel, car rental, and accommodation.
In 2017, ECC Ireland dealt with 4,108 total contacts from consumers (cross-border complaints and requests for information). Cross-border cases actively pursued by ECC Ireland and requiring further assistance from the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) came to 1,031, a jump of 45% on the figure for the previous year (just 719 in 2016).
Martina Nee, Spokesperson, ECC Ireland, said: “With 385 cases actively pursued by ECC Ireland, air passenger rights was once again the most popular area of complaint in 2017. This category has held the top spot year-after-year. With thousands of people travelling by air sometimes difficulties can arise. Often it is resolved through the airline’s own complaint procedure but sometimes consumers require further assistance in seeking redress. By liaising with airlines based in another EU/EEA country on their behalf, ECC Ireland and the wider ECC-Net has assisted many of these consumers to avail of their rights under EU legislation and to reach an amicable solution.
“Car rental, which came in fourth place with 99 cases, has always been problematic for consumers as there is no sector-specific legislation that can curtail the ability of some car rental traders to treat consumers unfairly; ECC Ireland would certainly welcome a change here.
“Accommodation experienced an increase in complaints (54% between 2017 with 60 cases and 2016 with 39). This may be explained by the popularity of consumers booking their own holidays online, which did not benefit from the protections of package travel legislation, and the rise of accommodation sharing platforms.”
Of the 1,031 cross-border cases that required direct intervention on behalf of consumers, 327 involved Irish consumers against traders based in other European countries, while 704 cases related to complaints by consumers from other European countries against traders based in Ireland.
Air Passenger Rights
- There were 385 cases dealt with by ECC Ireland, the majority of which were complaints made by consumers based in another European country against Irish airlines.
- Flight cancellations and delays were the number one cause for air passenger-related complaints. This was followed by complaints of a more general nature and which are often governed by the terms and conditions of the contract between the airline and passengers.