Thursday, 13 February 2014

German Supreme Court holds clauses of tour organizer on tentative flight times unfair

   The German Supreme Court, in a class action brought by a consumer organization (Verbraucherzentrale Deutschland), held two clauses in the general terms and conditions of a tour organizer (TUI Deutschland) to be unfair and thus not binding for consumers.

    The first clause declared information on flight times not binding for the organizer, which means that consumers had to verify them themselves. The Court judged it unfair because, contrary to good faith, it provided the organizer with the right to change unilaterally the terms of its performance without a justified reason, showing disrespect to the other party’s interests. 

   The second clause foresaw the organizer was not bound by that information on flight times communicated by its travel agents.  The Court held that the clause was obscure, i.e. it did not lay down the exact rights and duties of the parties, because it gave consumers the impression that all information communicated by the travel agent were not binding on the tour organizer, which legally is not the case. As a result, the clause caused a significant imbalance to the detriment of the consumer. 

   The full text of the judgment (X ZR 24/13) has not been published yet. For the Court’s press release (in German) click here.

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