An ATOL holder that sells flight-only or packages through agents is required to have a written agency agreement with each of its agents. If the correct agency agreement is not in place the ATOL holder and the agent are in breach of the ATOL Regulations.
Here are a few useful points to note:
- Agency agreements must contain the Schedule of Terms published by the CAA in Official Record Series 3
- Agency agreements must include the name of the ATOL holder and its agent
- Agency agreements must be dated
- Agency agreements can be in electronic or hard copy
- To obtain acceptance of agency agreements, some ATOL holders may request their agents to sign and return the agreement or e-mail their consent to the ATOL holder or refer to their website and tick a box to confirm consent to the agreement. Other ATOL holders may choose to issue agency agreements to their agents, which the agents will be regarded as having agreed to when the agents make bookings on behalf of the ATOL holder
- In the event of failure of an ATOL holder, an agent is required to provide a copy of its agency agreement to the CAA so that claims from consumers that booked through the agent can be processed. If an agent does not have an agency agreement, the agent will be liable to refund the consumer.
Schedule of Agency Terms
Section 1.4 of the Official Record Series 3 includes the Terms to be included in agreements between ATOL holders and their agents. Section 1.4 can be found on page 29 of Official Record Series 3.
When an agent makes a booking on behalf of an ATOL holder, the agent must ensure an ATOL Certificate is issued to the consumer immediately any payment is taken. This applies irrespective of whether the booking is made in a shop, by telephone or on the internet. ATOL holders and their agents should agree between them who is going to produce the ATOL Certificate and how it is going to be issued to the consumer.
Agents should be aware that where they issue other documentation to consumers in addition to the ATOL Certificate, it needs to comply with the terms of their Agency Agreement and the ATOL Standard Terms. Failure to do so may be considered a breach of the ATOL Regulations, which can result in a consumer claim being refused, thus being referred back to the agent for a refund. Agents must refer to the terms of their agency agreement for full details of their obligations but should particularly note the following with regards to documentation:
Agency Term 2.3
Where an agent produces a receipt for money paid by a consumer, the agent must identify which part of that money is protected by the principal ATOL holder's and which, if any, is not. This means that any booking fees charged by an agent must be separately identified on receipts.
ATOL Standard Term 1.5
Any receipts or invoices supplied by the ATOL holders (or it's agent) for a licensable transaction must contain the ATOL holders name, ATOL number and the following statement:
“Your Financial Protect. When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.”