Air travel tops cross-border complaints list

Air travel, car rental, electronics, furniture, hotels, and accommodation are the top cross-border consumer complaints.

Last year, the European Consumer Centre in Dublin dealt with 4,337 contacts made by consumers, a 24% increase in contacts handled in 2015.

A total of 791 complaints required direct intervention by ECC Ireland — 552 were from consumers in other European countries against traders based in Ireland.

In the top spot again as the category most complained about is air travel, according to ECC Ireland’s latest annual report. The body dealt with 338 such complaints in 2016.

Air passengers complained most about flight cancellations and delays. Other air-related complaints were about lost, delayed, or damaged luggage, airline booking errors, denied boarding, and passenger illness.

An airline agreed to pay a man and his family €1,500 in compensation for advising him that the flight had been cancelled and then reinstating it on the same day.

The man had booked a flight with another airline, and when he got home, he received a text message that the original flight was reinstated.

For the first time since 2011, hotels and accommodation issues are among the top five consumer complaints, with 39 handled by ECC Ireland.

More people are booking their own accommodation rather than opting for package holidays, and some of those tourists unhappy with the service are turning to ECC Ireland for support.

Customers complained about online hotel and accommodation bookings and about not knowing who to contact. Other complaints related to overcharging and the standard and quality of the accommodation.

Car rental was in second place with 57 complaints, about 11% of the total number received by the consumer body.

A French tourist who hired a car in Ireland complained that a deposit of €1,300 was not returned to him.

The trader refunded the money after it was established that damage to the car was not found during check-in and both parties had left without noting it.

Most of the complaints about electronic goods, which accounted for 8% of all complaints, concerned the purchase of smartphones and laptops that soon became faulty or defective.

Only a third of the complaints were resolved after the ECC Ireland intervened. Some were referred to the courts or dispute resolution bodies. Five were ongoing and seven were closed as they were ill-founded.


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