There is an effort to reconcile discrepancies between current regulations and the transaction practices for international hotel bookings, and to amend current regulation deficits. Amendments have been made to the mandatory and prohibitory provisions of the standard contract regarding direct bookings from individual travelers at tourism hotels, standard hotels, and bread and breakfast hostels. The 50th meeting of the Executive Yuan's Consumer Protection Committee has examined and passed the amendments proposed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (the MTC) “The mandatory and prohibitory information of the standard contract regarding direct bookings from individual travelers at tourism hotels, standard hotels, and bread and breakfast hostels.” (Amendment Proposal) It was put into effect immediately after the MTC announced it in January 2017.
The focus of this amendment is as follows:
1. The scope of the amendment allows individual travelers to either directly or indirectly make a reservation at a tourist hotel, a standard hotel, or a B&B, through an official travel industry website or booking locally at a domestic travel service. (Preface)
2. Regulations regarding booking fee transactions for tourists: When a booking is made, except for existing rule that no deposit is due when booking occurs at the same time as check-in, 50% deposit for bookings of 3 or more consecutive days during holidays will be required. It also added how a business can agree and collect the deposit from a guest. (Ponit 4 of the mandatory provisions) (The relevant rule for paying for a reservation and getting a refund can be found in the attached list.)
3. According to “Reservation cancellation rules:” When a consumer cancels a booking contract, in addition to keeping the existing refund policy based on the number of days of notification, a new measure which allows both the hotel and the guest to agree on the total amount of the cancellation fee and other accommodations were added. For example, a full refund for cancellations made at least three days prior to check-in, or it can be credited towards future stay for up to one year. (Point 5. of the mandatory provisions.)
4. Regulations when responsible parties are unable to comply with the agreement: If the business operator is unable to fulfill the booking contract, the liability for damage to the consumer shall amount to one time the total amount of the agreed price. If the business operator intentionally causes the problem, then the consumer must be compensated three times the original total price.
(Point 8. of the mandatory provisions.)
Furthermore, the Executive Yuan's Department of Consumer Protection advises travelers to plan their itineraries very carefully prior to booking accommodations to avoid the complicated procedure of cancelling reservations. At the same time, it encourages domestic tourism operators and hotels to inform travelers as fully as possible about accommodation information, and to truly comply with the aforementioned regulations. In the event of any non-compliance with the provisions of this standard contract, the competent authority can, in line with Point 1 of Article 56 of the Consumer Protection Act, request the business operator to correct their mistake within a time limit. If the business operator doesn’t correct their mistake before the time limit, the competent authority shall see to it that a disciplinary fine ranging from (hereafter) NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 is imposed; and if the correction isn’t made before the second time limit, the fine will be raised to between NT$50,000 and NT$500,000.