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Judgment of the European Court of Justice: Corona measures spoiled the vacation? money back


The European Court of Justice has made a holidaymaker-friendly judgment: under certain circumstances, you can ask for your money back if the trip was thwarted by corona measures.

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Corona spoiled their plans: the customers of a German package tour operator wanted to spend two weeks in Gran Canaria in March 2020.

Then everything turned out differently than planned.

Two days after their arrival there, the beaches were closed and a curfew was imposed due to the pandemic.

Access to pools and loungers was forbidden in the hotel, and the animation program was completely stopped.

The trip ended after seven days – so much earlier than planned.

The plaintiffs then only wanted to pay 30 percent of the price for the vacation.

The tour operator refused because he didn't have to answer for such a "general life risk".

The vacationers complained - and were rejected by the district court of Munich.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg should now clarify whether the corona measures on Gran Canaria were in breach of contract.

The judgment of the ECJ: Under certain circumstances, package travelers can request their money back if the trip was thwarted by corona measures.

Under EU law, holidaymakers are entitled to a reduction in the price of the holiday if the package tour fails to conform with the contract - unless the tour operator can prove that the non-conformity was the fault of the traveller.

The judges made a vacationer-friendly decision: Corona measures can constitute such a breach of contract.

The tour operators must be liable for this, regardless of whether the problems can be attributed to them.

It doesn't matter that similar corona restrictions applied at the same time at home.

The case is now going back to the Munich Regional Court, which must take the ECJ case law into account when making its decision.

Particular difficulties of the organizer should be taken into account

The previous ECJ opinion already spoke in favor of this.

As Advocate General Laila Medina said in her Opinion on Thursday in Luxembourg, the Corona measures in March 2020 are to be regarded as force majeure.

The restrictions are beyond the tour operator's control and the consequences could not have been avoided even with all reasonable precautions.

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But such unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances do not release the tour operator from his obligation to reduce the travel price.

The amount of the reduction depends on the individual case.

However, the organizer is only liable for services that are also in the contract.

Mere "lost holiday joy" can therefore not be replaced.

Exceptional difficulties of tour operators would have to be taken into account.

In a French case, Advocate General Medina came to a different conclusion in an expert opinion.

It was about a measure taken by the French government against which two consumer protection organizations had taken action.

During the pandemic, a regulation was introduced whereby tour operators were also allowed to issue a voucher instead of a full refund.

This should support the more than 70,000 tour operators in their corona-related emergency.

Medina refused: The European regulation only provides for reimbursement in money.

However, travelers could voluntarily opt for a voucher.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2023-01-12

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