Mr and Mrs Miser-Lee decide to go on a week’s holiday to Turkey and during the booking process are offered, in addition to flights and accommodation, various excursions and car hire which can be booked and paid for at the same time as the holiday.
They decide, at that stage, simply to book the flights and hotel and pay for these at once. However, they then decide, around six months later, to splash out on a jeep safari.
About a week before departure, Mr Miser-Lee gets a bonus at work and the and his wife decide to hire a car, although the tour operator tells them that as this is being booked at such a late stage, the agent is using a hire company with whom they have no formal contract.
Therefore the contract for the car hire is strictly between the couple and the hire company.
On the second night of the holiday, the barman at the hotel is very rude and abusive to Mrs Miser-Lee and she feels so intimidated that she and her husband are unable to drink in the bar for the remainder of their time there.
In addition to this, the car they hire breaks down. The jeep safari turns into a nightmare when that vehicle also breaks down and they are stranded in the middle of nowhere for a night. On their return, the Miser-Lees claim compensation from the tour operator for what has gone wrong.
Do the Miser-Lees have a claim against the tour operator for the rudeness of the barman at the hotel?
Do the Miser-Lees have a claim against the tour operator for the breakdown of the hire car?
Do the Miser-Lees have a claim against the tour operator for the breakdown on the jeep safari?
Question one: Yes, the hotel and its staff are suppliers for the purpose of the Package Travel Regulations, as the hotel was part of the original package.
Question two: Probably not, as this was booked separately and therefore not part of the package, and the tour operator in any event made it clear that the contract was with the hire company.
Question three: Possibly, although not part of the package, liability would depend on whether the excursion was provided by the tour operator, and, even if it was not, whether that was the impression that was given to the couple.
Mr and Mrs Fussie decide to go on a luxury safari in Africa with Splendid Tours and they sign a booking form accepting Splendid’s terms and conditions in its Safari brochure.
The terms and conditions state that, although it is a rare occurrence, such luxury safaris have to be cancelled if minimum numbers are not reached, but that in this event, clients will be informed of the cancellation within six weeks of departure.
In addition to this, there is a separate section in the brochure which makes it clear to customers that clients going on safaris should be prepared for sanitary conditions which are not always up to European standards.
This does not, however, apply to the “luxury” safaris offered by the company, as these are especially designed to cosset clients and protect them from such conditions.
Around eight weeks before departure, Splendid contacts the Fussies and tells them that the trip has had to be cancelled as they were the only people who had booked, but offer them an alternative, less expensive safari.
The Fussies accept the alternative but claim compensation for the cancellation of the first safari.
Splendid refuse to pay them anything, even a refund of the difference in price, on the basis that they have accepted an alternative.
On the safari itself, Mrs Fussie is horrified by the somewhat “basic” nature of the bathroom facilities and the fact that she has to sleep on a bunk bed, and on her return, complains to Splendid, seeking compensation for distress and embarrassment.
Is Splendid entitled to cancel the original safari?
Do the Fussies have any monetary claim against Splendid for the cancellation?
Does Mrs Fussie have any claim against Splendid for her distress and embarrassment?
Question one: Yes, the Package Travel Regulations permit the cancellation of packages for low bookings, so long as the time limit for informing clients of the cancellation is made clear in the brochure.
Question two: Yes, the Fussies will be entitled to a refund of the difference in price between the luxury safari and alternative, less expensive safari. However, they will not be entitled to any additional compensation.
Question three: No, as the Fussies signed a form indicating their acceptance of the brochure and booking conditions which made it clear that on “typical” safaris, European standards of sanitation could not be expected.
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