Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours are fully bonded and licensed, all vetted by external official organisations, for your 100% financial protection and genuine peace of mind no matter what type of travel you choose to book with us. This covers ALL bookings made with us and ALL holiday and travel payments made directly to us. Non UK clients, who book directly with us, and commercial bookings are covered as well. This is the highest level of Consumer Financial Protection available.
This goes well beyond the legal minimum and is of course very expensive for us to provide, but we consider it money well spent and I’m sure you do too as this brings absolute financial security to you. As the world’s leading Wine Tours specialist, we view providing complete, unequivocal and fully regulated protection of your booking, as an integral part of our delivery to you.
ATOL For our flight inclusive holidays, booked with us or through a UK Travel Agent
All the flights and flight‐inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.
ABTA For our non flight based holidays, booked with us or through a UK Travel Agent
We are Members of ABTA (Membership Number Y5806). ABTA and ABTA Members help holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist them when things do not go according to plan. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA’s Code of Conduct. For further information about ABTA, the Code of Conduct and the arbitration scheme available to you if you have a complaint, contact ABTA, 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ. Tel: 020 3117 0500 or www.abta.com.
Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In the event of Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours’ insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly from Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours.
In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.
For clients making their booking via non-UK based agents: Please check what arrangements your travel agent has made for your financial protection.
The AITO Quality Charter
AITO is an association of companies independent from the large vertically integrated firms specialising in particular areas or types of holiday and sharing a common dedication to high standards of quality and personal service. AITO defines “quality” as “providing a level of satisfaction which, based upon the holiday information provided by the tour operator, aims to meet or exceed a customer’s reasonable expectations, regardless of the type of holiday or the price paid”. This is how we aim to achieve it:
Accurate Brochures: Members ensure that their brochures clearly and accurately describe the holidays and services offered.
Professional Service: Members are committed to high standards of personal service maintained by the thorough training of employees.
Financial Security: AITO takes care that all members comply with the current Government Regulations regarding the protection of clients’ money.
Product Improvement: Members listen to their customers and welcome suggestions for improving standards. All customers receive a post-holiday questionnaire.
Exclusive Membership: AITO has strict membership criteria which must be satisfied before new companies are allowed to join. All members must adhere to a rigorous Code of Business Practice which governs their operational conduct.
Environmental Issues: AlTO is committed to raising the level of environmental awareness within the travel industry.
If you have a dispute with Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours, which you are unable to resolve, you may refer the matter to a court of law or call upon the low cost AITO Independent Dispute Settlement Service (UK Only). THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT TOUR OPERATORS. THE QUALITY ALTERNATIVE. For further information call AITO on 0208 7449280. www.aito.co.uk
ALWAYS book with a fully bonded Tour Operator that can cover all aspects of your travel, no matter how you choose to do so. There are many companies who still do not offer full financial protection:
- All British companies offering holidays that include flights are required to have an ATOL. Some don’t bother or are not financially sound enough to be granted one; use these companies at your peril.
- Also note that ATOL gives no protection regarding holidays that do not include a flight or holidays where the flight was purchased by you direct from the airline. In such circumstances the operator needs to cover your booking with another bond such as ABTA, AITOT or ABTOT.
- There are companies that have an ATOL Licence who do not financially protect your monies when you book a holiday with them that does not include a flight.
Much Wine Tourism is not Protected
For some reason there are many people in the wine trade who offer wine tours who seem to see it as a quick way to make money, but have no protection in place either for your money or for your welfare. The complex laws surrounding travel apply equally to wine merchants, wine writers, wine lecturers and restaurants as they do to any other business. These organisations seem to believe, wrongly, that the laws do not apply to them or their accounts clearly show that they are not financially viable enough to be eligible for external licensing and bonding. So you should always ask your holiday provider, even if they are principally a wine trade member, what financial protection they have put in place for your money, what back up they have if things go wrong and what insurances they have in place for your protection. As with all such things it may seem irrelevant to you when booking your jolly wine holiday – but it would soon become so should you lose all your holiday payments!
In order to get bonding, become a member of ABTA, AITO or be granted an ATOL licence, a company must be solvent and pass a number of stringent tests including liquidity and asset ratios.
Travel Trust Funds
offered by some companies instead of bonding – Buyer Beware
An alternative to bonding to protect Client’s money is to hold this money in a separate ‘trust’ bank account until the holiday is supplied. This form of protection is only really suitable for someone offering tours as a hobby or a church, social or school group. This form of protection is totally unregulated and in these financially stretched times, the temptation for a company to help themselves to the cash in advance of a tour will be great. Trust funds also offer no arrangements in the event that your tour provider goes out of business whilst you are abroad. So, you may well find yourself having to pay for your return journey with no recourse for repayment to you.
However much a firm protests that it takes consumer protection and your peace of mind seriously, if it has a Trust Fund arrangement rather than bonding, and does not even accept credit card payments,
Payment by Credit Card
Theoretically you can protect your payments by using a Credit Card and we are often asked by clients if payment by Credit Card will give them additional protection. The answer in Arblaster & Clarke’s case, is NO. We have already put all the necessary protection in place for your funds.
However, some credit cards do offer the customer complimentary travel insurance and as long as you are satisfied that the level of insurance offered by your card provider gives you the protection that you might need both in the case of cancellation and emergency assistance on tour, then, by all means do pay us by Credit or Debit Card if you prefer.