Trip cancellation: with or without fees?

LCan a customer who books a tour (most often a package combining accommodation and transportation) cancel it free of charge if there are dangerous events at the destination on the day of his departure? Should a judge sequestered in a dispute consider the post-termination situation? These are the questions that the following case asks.

In January 2020, the German Mr. 1ahem In March 2020, he terminated the contract due to fear of health risks that could threaten him there. Kiwi Tours is making him pay €307 in fees.

However, on March 26, 2020, eight days before the planned start of the trip, Japan closed its borders. Mr. The operator refuses.

Mr. This text says that the passenger has the right to a free cancellation “if exceptional and unavoidable circumstances occurring at or in the immediate vicinity of the destination have a significant impact on the execution of the package”.

German courts contradict each other in its interpretation, the Federal Court requests a decision from the Court of Justice of the European Union. On 29 February (2024, C-584/22), she replied that the judge should not take into account events that occurred after the termination of the contract.

Travel advice

“It is a guarantee of legal certainty for both the client and the expert,” comments Valérie Boned, president of the trade union Les Entreprises du voyage. If it were necessary to take into account the elements that occur between the termination and the planned start of the journey, it would be necessary to “in case of improvement”ask the consumer to pay the costs from which he was originally exempted.

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On the other hand, the court determines, the judge must take into account “risk” foreseeable, at the time of termination, and instead of each other “from the point of view of the average, commonly informed traveller”. With this point of view in mind, its chief legal representative, Laila Medina, noted that on 1ahem March 2020“the journey to Japan already entailed serious risks”.

He also ruled in favor of the consumer in another matter (C414/22): in January 2020, the Austrian Mr. Y booked a celebratory trip to Croatia from June 27 to July 3, 2020 with DocLX Travel Events for the amount of 787 euros. On 13 March 2020, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised postponing or canceling all unnecessary travel. On April 21, 2020, DocLX offered Mr. Y a cancellation for a fee of 227.68 euros.

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