General terms and conditions of the Disputes Committee
1. General terms and conditions of the Travel Disputes Committee for package travel agreements.
Article 1: Scope
These General Terms and Conditions apply to package travel contracts booked from July 1, 2018 and are governed by the Law on the Sale of Package Travel, Linked Travel Arrangements and Travel Services of November 21, 2017.
Article 2: Information of the organizer and the retailer prior to the conclusion of the package travel contract (PRW art. 5, 1°)
§ 1. The organizer and also the reseller, shall provide the traveler, before he is bound by a package tour contract, with the legally prescribed standard information as well as, insofar as it is applicable to the package tour:
1° the main characteristics of travel services:
(a) the travel destination(s), itinerary and periods of stay, with dates and number of nights;
(b) the means of transport, their characteristics and categories
(c) the main characteristics and category of accommodation according to the rules of the destination country;
(d) the meals provided
(e) the visits, excursions or other services included in the total price agreed for the package tour;
(f) in case this is not clear, a clarification whether the travel services are provided to the traveler as a member of a group
(g) the language in which other tourism services are provided, if applicable;
(h) whether the trip is generally suitable for persons with limited mobility;
2 ° the total price of the package tour, and where applicable, indication of the type of additional costs that may still be borne by the traveler;
3 ° the terms of payment;
4 ° the minimum number of persons required to carry out the package tour and the deadline for possible cancellation of the contract if this number is not achieved;
5 ° general information on passport and visa requirements in the country of destination, including the approximate time required to obtain a visa and information on applicable health formalities;
6 ° the statement that the traveler may cancel the contract upon payment of a cancellation fee;
7° information on cancellation and/or assistance insurance;
§ 2 The professional shall ensure that the appropriate standard form is provided to the traveler (cfr. PRW art. 6);
§ 3 The pre-contractual information provided to the traveler is an integral part of the package travel contract. It cannot be modified except by mutual agreement of the parties. (cfr. PRW art. 8).
Article 3: Information due to the traveler
1. The person concluding the package travel contract shall provide the organizer and the retailer with all useful information concerning himself and his fellow travelers which may be relevant to the conclusion or performance of the package travel contract.
2. If the traveler provides false information and this leads to additional costs for the organizer and/or reseller, those costs may be charged.
Article 4: The package travel contract (cfr. PRW art. 10-14)
§ 1: 1° Upon conclusion of the package travel contract or within a reasonable period of time, the organizer or, if a retailer is involved, the latter shall provide the traveler with confirmation of the contract on a durable data medium, such as e.g. an e-mail, a paper document or a PDF.
2° If the package travel contract is concluded in the simultaneous physical presence of the parties, the traveler is entitled to request a paper copy.
§ 2: The package travel contract or its confirmation shall contain the full contents of the contract, including all information, as mentioned in Article 2, and the following information:
1° the special wishes of the traveler to which the organizer has responded;
2° that the organizer is liable for the proper execution of the package tour and has an obligation of assistance;
3° the name and contact information of the entity in charge of insolvency protection;
4° the name, address, telephone number, e-mail address of the organizer or other service in case the traveler is in trouble or to complain about possible non-conformity;
5° the obligation of the traveler to report the non-conformity during the trip;
6° information allowing direct contact with an unaccompanied minor or with the person responsible for him/her at his/her place of residence;
7° information on internal complaint handling;
8* information about the Travel Dispute Resolution Committee and the E.U. online dispute resolution platform; see art. 19.
9° information on the traveler’s right to transfer their contract:
§ 3: No later than 1 week before the start of the package trip, the organizer shall provide the traveler with: 1° the necessary receipts;
2° vouchers and tickets will be provided by Joker’s attendant at the airport.
3° information on scheduled departure times and, if applicable, the latest time for check-in, scheduled times of stopovers, connections and arrivals.
Article 5: The Price
§ 1: 1° After the conclusion of the package travel contract, prices may only be increased if the contract expressly provides for this.
2° In this case, the package travel contract shall specify how the price revision is calculated.
3° Price increases are permitted only as a direct result of changes in:
(a) the price of passenger transportation attributable to the increased cost of fuel or other energy sources; or
(b) the amount of taxes or fees on the travel services included in the contract levied by third parties not directly involved in the performance of the package tour including tourist taxes and departure or arrival taxes at ports and airports, or
(c) the exchange rates relevant to the package tour.
4° If a price increase is anticipated, the traveler is entitled to a price reduction in the event of a decrease in the costs listed above.
§ 2: If the increase exceeds 8% of the total price, the rules on modification shall apply.
§ 3 : A price increase is only possible if the organizer notifies the traveler at least twenty days before the start of the package tour via a durable data medium, such as e.g. an email, a paper document or the PDF, indicating a justification for that price increase and a calculation.
§ 4: In the event of a price reduction, the organizer is entitled to deduct the administrative costs from the refund due to the traveler. If requested by the traveler, the organizer shall substantiate those costs.
Article 6: Payment of the travel sum.
1. Unless otherwise agreed, the traveler, at the conclusion of the package tour contract, shall pay as an advance, a portion of the total travel price as stipulated in the special conditions.
2. Unless otherwise agreed in the package travel contract, the traveler shall pay the balance of the price no later than 6 weeks before the departure date.
3.. If the traveler, after having been given prior notice, fails to pay the advance or the travel price demanded of him, the tour operator and/or the retailer shall be entitled to terminate the contract with the traveler by operation of law, with the expenses to be borne by the traveler.
Article 7: Transferability of the package travel contract
§ 1. The traveler may transfer the package tour contract to a person who meets all the conditions applicable to that contract provided that:
1. notifies the organizer and possibly the reseller as soon as possible and no later than seven days before the start of the package tour via a durable data medium, such as e.g. an email, paper document or PDF, and
2. bears any additional costs arising from the transfer.
§ 2. The one who transfers the package tour contract, and the one who takes over the contract, are jointly and severally liable for the payment of the amount still due and for any additional fees, which result from the transfer. The organizer shall notify the person transferring the contract of the cost of the transfer.
Article 8: Other changes by the traveler
If the traveler requests any other change, the tour operator and/or the reseller who can respond to it may charge all costs caused by it.
Article 9: Modification by the tour operator prior to departure
§ 1: The organizer cannot unilaterally change the terms of the package travel contract, with the exception of price changes before the start of the package travel, unless:
1° the organizer has reserved this right in the contract, and 2° the change is insignificant, and
3° the organizer notifies the traveler of this via a durable data medium, such as an email, paper document or PDF.
§ 2: 1° If, before the start of the journey, the organizer finds himself obliged to significantly modify one of the main features of the travel services or is unable to meet the confirmed special wishes of the traveler, or proposes to increase the price of the package trip by more than 8%, the organizer shall inform the traveler of this and notify him:
(a) of the proposed changes and their effect on the price of the package tour;
(b) from the possibility of terminating the agreement without charge unless he accepts the proposed changes;
(c) of the time limit within which he must notify the organizer of his decision;
(d) of the fact that if he does not expressly accept the proposed change within the specified period, the contract will be automatically terminated; and
(e) if applicable, the proposed substitute package tour and its price.
§ 3: If the changes to the package tour contract or the replacement package tour have the effect of reducing the quality or cost of the package tour, the traveler shall be entitled to an appropriate price reduction.
§ 4: If the package tour contract is cancelled pursuant to §2 and the traveler does not accept a replacement package tour, the organizer shall refund all amounts paid to the traveler no later than fourteen days after the contract is cancelled.
Article 10: Cancellation by the organizer before departure
§ 1. The organizer may cancel the package tour contract:
1° if the number of persons registered for the package tour is less than the minimum number specified in the contract and the traveler is notified by the organizer of the cancellation of the contract within the period specified in the contract, but no later than:
(a) twenty days before the start of the package trip for trips of more than six days;
(b) seven days before the start of the package trip for trips of two to six days;
(c) 48 hours before the start of the package tour for trips lasting less than two days; or
2° if he cannot execute the contract due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances and he informs the traveler before the start of the package tour that the contract is cancelled.
§ 2. In these cases, the organizer shall refund to the traveler all amounts received for the package tour, without owing any additional compensation.
Article 11: Cancellation by the traveler
§ 1: 1° The traveler may cancel the package travel contract at any time before the start of the package travel. Upon cancellation, the traveler may be required to pay a cancellation fee to the organizer.
2° Standardized cancellation fees may be determined in the package travel contract based on the time of cancellation before the start of the package travel and the expected cost savings and revenue from alternative use of the travel services.
3° If no standardized cancellation fees are established, the amount of the cancellation fee corresponds to the price of the package trip minus the cost savings and revenues from alternative use of the travel services.
§ 2: 1° However, if unavoidable and
extraordinary circumstances occur which have a significant impact on the performance of the package tour or which have a significant impact on the passengers’ transportation to the destination, the right to cancel the package tour contract without payment of a cancellation fee.
2° In the event of cancellation of the package travel contract pursuant to this article, the traveler shall be entitled to a full refund of all amounts paid for the package travel, but shall not be entitled to additional compensation.
§ 3: The organizer shall refund, no later than fourteen days, all sums paid by or on behalf of the traveler, less the cancellation fee.
Article 12: Non-compliance during the trip
§ 1: The traveler shall without delay notify the organizer of any non-conformity that he has detected during the performance of a travel service included in the package travel contract.
§ 2: If any of the travel services are not performed in accordance with the package travel contract, the organizer shall remedy that non-conformity, unless:
1° is impossible, or
2° disproportionately high costs, taking into account the degree of non-conformity and the value of the travel services in question.
3° If the organizer does not remedy the non-conformity, the traveler shall be entitled to a price reduction or compensation in accordance with Article 15.
§ 3: 1° If the organizer does not remedy the non-conformity within a reasonable period set by the traveler, the traveler has the option of doing so himself and requesting reimbursement of the necessary expenses.
2° It is not necessary for the traveler to set a deadline if the organizer refuses to remedy the non-conformity, or if an immediate solution is required.
§ 4: 1° If a significant portion of the travel services, cannot be provided the organizer offers, at no additional cost to the traveler, other arrangements of, if possible, equivalent or higher quality
2° If the other proposed arrangements result in a package tour of lower quality, the organizer shall grant the traveler an appropriate price reduction.
3° The traveler may reject the other proposed packages only if they are not comparable to what was agreed in the package travel contract, or if the price reduction granted is insufficient.
§ 5: 1° If the non-conformity has significant consequences for the execution of the package tour and the organizer has not remedied it within a reasonable period set by the traveler, the traveler may terminate the package tour contract without payment of a cancellation fee and, where applicable, request a price reduction and/or compensation.
2° If the package trip includes passenger transportation, the organizer shall also provide for repatriation of the traveler.
3° If no other arrangements can be proposed or the traveler rejects the other arrangements proposed, the traveler is entitled to a price reduction and/or compensation, where applicable, even without cancellation of the package travel contract
§ 6: If, due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances, the return of the traveler as agreed in the package tour contract cannot be provided, the organizer shall bear the cost of the necessary accommodation, for a maximum of three nights per traveler.
§ 7: The limitation of costs referred to in §6 shall not apply to persons with reduced mobility, to persons accompanying them, to pregnant women, to unaccompanied minors and to persons in need of specific medical assistance, provided that the organizer has been informed of their special needs at least 48 hours before the start of the package trip.
§ 8: The organizer may not invoke unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances to limit liability if the carrier concerned cannot invoke them under applicable Union law.
§ 9: The traveler may address messages, requests or complaints related to the execution of the package tour directly to the retailer from whom he purchased the package tour. The reseller shall transmit such notices, requests or complaints to the organizer without delay.
Article 13: Liability of the traveler
The traveler is liable for damages incurred by the organizer and or reseller, their appointees and/or representatives due to his fault, or when he has not fulfilled his contractual obligations.
Article 14: Liability of the organizer and the professional
1. The organizer is liable for the performance of the travel services included in the package travel contract, regardless of whether these services are provided by the organizer or by other travel service providers.
2° Where the organizer is established outside the European Economic Area, the obligations for organizers shall apply to the reseller established in a Member State, unless the reseller proves that the organizer meets the conditions prescribed by the Law of 21/11/2017.
Article 15: Price reduction and compensation
§ 1: The traveler is entitled to an appropriate price reduction for any period during which there was non-conformity of the services provided, unless the organizer proves that the non-conformity was due to the traveler.
§ 2: The traveler is entitled to appropriate compensation from the organizer for all damages incurred as a result of non-conformity. Compensation will be paid without delay.
§ 3: The traveler is not entitled to compensation if the organizer proves that the non-conformity is due to:
1° the traveler;
2° a third party not involved in the performance of the travel services included in the package travel contract and the non-conformity could not be foreseen or prevented or 3° unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.
Article 16: Obligation to assist
§ 1: The organizer provides appropriate assistance without delay to the traveler who is in difficulty, in particular by:
1° provide useful information on medical services, local authorities and consular assistance;
2° assist the traveler in using remote communication and in finding other travel arrangements.
§ 2: If the difficulties are the result of intention or negligence of the traveler, the organizer may seek compensation for such assistance. Such reimbursement shall in no case exceed the actual costs borne by the organizer.
Article 17: Complaints procedure
1. If the traveler has a complaint before departure, the traveler must submit it to the reseller or tour operator by durable data carrier as soon as possible.
2. Complaints during the execution of the package tour contract must be reported by the traveler as soon as possible locally, in an appropriate and probative manner, so that a solution can be sought.
3. If a complaint was not satisfactorily resolved on site or if it was impossible for the traveler to formulate a complaint on site, he must formulate his complaint by durable data carrier to the retailer or to the tour operator no later than one month after the end of the package tour contract.
Article 18: Reconciliation procedure
1. In case of dispute, the parties should first seek an amicable settlement among themselves.
2. If this attempt at an amicable settlement fails, each of the parties involved may ask the asbl Disputes Committee to initiate a conciliation procedure. All parties must agree to it.
3. To this end, the Secretariat will provide the parties with conciliation rules and a “conciliation agreement.”
4. In accordance with the procedure described in the Rules, an impartial conciliator will thereafter contact the parties in order to pursue a fair reconciliation between the parties.
5. Any agreement reached will be recorded in a binding written agreement.
Article 19: Arbitration or Court
1. If conciliation proceedings are not instituted or fail, the claimant may, if it so desires, institute arbitration proceedings before the Travel Disputes Committee or bring proceedings in court.
2. The traveler can never be obliged to accept the jurisdiction of the Travel Dispute Committee; either as a plaintiff or as a defendant.
3. The organizer or reseller who is a defending party may refuse arbitration only if the amount claimed by the claimant exceeds 1250 €,. He has a period of 10 calendar days from receipt of the notice sent by durable medium, indicating that a file with claim from 1250 € was opened with the Travel Disputes Committee.
4. This arbitration procedure is governed by dispute regulations, and can only be initiated after a complaint has been lodged with the company itself and as soon as it has been established that the dispute could not be settled amicably or as soon as four months have elapsed since the (foreseen) end of the trip (or possibly from the performance that gave rise to the dispute).
5. Disputes relating to bodily injuries can only be settled by the courts.
6. The joint arbitral tribunal, in accordance with the dispute regulations, shall rule on the travel dispute in a binding and final manner. This is not subject to appeal.