Suggestions and complaints

In the case where a person finds it necessary to make comments or seek redress in some way, it is of vital importance that these complaints and/or suggestions are directed to the right parties, i.e. to those who should be able to and can help the person in question.

What can be directed to the Icelandic Tourist Board?

A common misconception is that the Icelandic Tourist Board can resolve all comments concerning tourism. The Icelandic Tourist Board, however, does not have the possibility of resolving people's complaints, except insofar as they concern licensing, e.g. a complaint received because a tourism operator does not have a license, no longer fulfills the conditions of a license or goes beyond the limits of a license, e.g. a tour operator sells a package tour, but only those who have a travel agency license are allowed to sell such tours.

Many complaints are civil cases

Many complaints received by the Icelandic Tourist Board relate to trade or communication between tourists and tourism operators, e.g. accommodation facilities, car rentals, travel agencies etc. Disputes between tourists and tourism service providers are private matters and do not fall within the remit of the Icelandic Tourist Board, as they deal with business or business and communication practices between two individuals of a private law nature. Furthermore, the Icelandic Tourist Board, which is a neutral party, does not have the legal authority to intervene in private matters and make claims on behalf of one party towards the other. In general, the complainant must seek the help that is available.

There is a difference between complaints and suggestions. A complaint usually involves some kind claims or compensation, but suggestions are usually made in such a way that what can be done better in individual cases is communicated. Suggestions can be general and private in nature and do not usually require direct action by the Icelandic Tourist Board.

It is important that the complainant always first seeks the assistance of the company with his or her claims before there is a possibility of further assistance when available.

Two types of complaints

Complaints can be roughly split into two parts:

  1. Due to tourists' trade or communication with tourism operators
  2. Due to the activities of tourism operators

1. Complaints concerning trade or communication between tourists and tourism operators

A complaint must be of such a nature that a request for rectification is made and it must be fully proven that the complainant does not receive rectification of his cases from a service provider. In that case the following associations can assist the complainant:

a. The Icelandic Consumer Association (I. Neytendasamtökin):
 - A complainant may be advised to contact the Consumer Association. They provide information on:

  • The Consumer Association's guidance and complaint service.
    All consumers who need information and assistance or believe that their rights have been violated can receive guidance and assistance from the Consumer Association's guidance and complaint service.

  • European Consumer Centre 
    Within the Consumers' Association, citizens of EEA states can receive information about their rights as consumers in European countries.
    Assistance is also provided if the person in question considers himself or herself to have been wronged by a seller in another European country.
    If the complainant is a citizen of an EEA state, it is appropriate for him to seek European assistance in his home country and seek its assistance.
    European Consumer Assistance is part of a service network called the European Consumer Center Net.

  • Travel Appeals Committee
    The Appellate Committee deals with complaints regarding the purchase of goods or services from companies within the tourism association. In order to apply to the Appellate Committee, the tourism company in question must be a member of The Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF).

Those not a part of the Consumer Association can receive assistance or instructions before noon on Mondays and Thursdays. 

The Consumer Association is located in Hverfisgata 105 and they can be contacted through email: ns@ns.is or by phone +354 5451200.
For further information see their website: ns.is

b. Legal Assistance

Complainants can always seek the help of lawyers.

2. Complaints or suggestions regarding the activities of tourism operators

When complaints concerning the framework of travel or activities of tourism operators, it is necessary to examine to which institution the relevant issue belongs. It is important to keep in mind that public institutions do not intervene in matters of a private law nature, but their actions focus on the activities of tourism operators.

Icelandic Tourist Board - Licensing
If a complaint is directed at the conditions for the issuance of permits or unlicensed companies, the Icelandic Tourist Board will deal with them. These are often complaints or suggestions from tourism operators where it is pointed out that parties are operating without a license or that a tourism provider goes beyond the limits of their license, e.g. a day tour provider sells a package tour. Complaints must be submitted in writing.

The Icelandic Tourist Board - Hafnarstræti 91, 600 Akureyri
E-mail: upplysingar@ferdamalastofa.is 
Phone number: 5355500

The Consumer Agency

Supervision of business practices, marketing and package tours
If a complaint or suggestion is directed at an agreement on the purchase of a package tour or other business practices in this regard, it should be sent to the Consumer Agency, which supervises the Act on Package Tours (available in Icelandic).

If a complaint or suggestion is made that consumers are being provided with incorrect, incomplete or misleading information in advertisements, or if suggestions are directed at unfair business practices, it should be forwarded to the Consumer Agency, which monitors business practices and marketing.

The Consumer Agency - Borgartún 21, 105 Reykjavík 
E-mail: postur@neytendastofa.is
Phone number: 5101100

The Icelandic Transport Authority

 - Air passengers' rights

On the website of the Icelandic Transport Authority you can find various information about various rights of air passengers, for example if:

  • A flight is delayed
  • A flight is cancelled
  • Luggage is damaged
  • Incorrect information is given or provided
  • Unforeseen events such as natural disasters

- Car rental, land transport, taxis , boats and ships

If a complaint or suggestion concerns illegal, unfair or unreasonable terms in car rental agreements, it should be sent to the Icelandic Transport Authority, which supervises the Car Rental Act (available in Icelandic). 

If a complaint or suggestion concerns the operation or licensing of passenger cars or taxis, it must be sent to the Icelandic Transport Authority.

The Icelandic Transport Authority also supervises the operation of boats and ships intended for passenger transport. If a complaint or suggestion concerns the condition of boats and ships, it must therefore also be sent to the Icelandic Transport Authority.

The Transport Authority - Ármúla 2, 108 Reykjavík 
E-mail: samgongustofa@samgongustofa.is 
Phone number: 4806000

The Environment Agency of Iceland

 - Animal protection and/or hunting of wild birds and mammals,  traffic in Iceland's nature, for example off-road driving

If a complaint or suggestion concerns the treatment and welfare of animals intended for commercial purposes or the protection, hunting and conservation of wild birds and mammals, it shall be sent to the Environment Agency, which supervises the Animal Treatment Act no. 15/1994. (Available in Icelandic).

If a complaint or suggestion concerns traffic in Iceland's nature, including off-road driving, it must be sent to the Environment Agency, which supervises the Act no. 44/1999 on nature conservation (Available in Icelandic). 

The Environment Agency of Iceland - Suðurlandsbraut 24, 108 Reykjavík 
E-mail: ust@ust.is
Phone number: 5912000

District Commissioners

 - Accommodation and restaurants permits

If a complaint or suggestion concerns accommodation or restaurant permits, it should be sent to the relevant district commissioners where the accommodation or restaurant is located. See the website for the District Commissioners for further information.