INFORMATION OBLIGATIONS AND CONTENT OF THE PACKAGE TRAVEL CONTRACT

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Chapter I. SUBJECT MATTER, SCOPE, DEFINITIONS AND LEVEL OF HARMONISATION

Article 1

Subject matter

 

The purpose of this Directive is to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market and to the achievement of a high and as uniform as possible level of consumer protection by approximating certain aspects of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States in respect of contracts between travellers and traders relating to package travel and linked travel arrangements.

 

Article 2

Scope

 

  1. This Directive applies to packages offered for sale or sold by traders to travellers and to linked travel arrangements facilitated by traders for travellers.
  2. This Directive does not apply to:

(a) packages and linked travel arrangements covering a period of less than 24 hours unless overnight accommodation is included;

(b) packages offered, and linked travel arrangements facilitated, occasionally and on a not-for-profit basis and only to a limited group of travellers;

(c) packages and linked travel arrangements purchased on the basis of a general agreement for the arrangement of business travel between a trader and another natural or legal person who is acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession.

  1. This Directive does not affect national general contract law such as the rules on the validity, formation or effect of a contract, insofar as general contract law aspects are not regulated in this Directive.

 

Article 3

Definitions

 

For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions apply:

(1) «travel service» means:

(a) carriage of passengers;

(b) accommodation which is not intrinsically part of carriage of passengers and is not for residential purposes;

(c) rental of cars, other motor vehicles within the meaning of Article 3(11) of Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council <*>, or motorcycles requiring a Category A driving licence in accordance with point (c) of Article 4(3) of Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council <**>;

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<*> Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (Framework Directive) (OJ L 263, 9.10.2007, p. 1).

<**> Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on driving licences (OJ L 403, 30.12.2006, p. 18).

 

(d) any other tourist service not intrinsically part of a travel service within the meaning of points (a), (b) or (c);

(2) «package» means a combination of at least two different types of travel services for the purpose of the same trip or holiday, if:

(a) those services are combined by one trader, including at the request of or in accordance with the selection of the traveller, before a single contract on all services is concluded; or

(b) irrespective of whether separate contracts are concluded with individual travel service providers, those services are:

(i) purchased from a single point of sale and those services have been selected before the traveller agrees to pay,

(ii) offered, sold or charged at an inclusive or total price,

(iii) advertised or sold under the term «package» or under a similar term,

(iv) combined after the conclusion of a contract by which a trader entitles the traveller to choose among a selection of different types of travel services, or

(v) purchased from separate traders through linked online booking processes where the traveller’s name, payment details and e-mail address are transmitted from the trader with whom the first contract is concluded to another trader or traders and a contract with the latter trader or traders is concluded at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking of the first travel service.

A combination of travel services where not more than one type of travel service as referred to in point (a), (b) or (c) of point 1 is combined with one or more tourist services as referred to in point (d) of point 1 is not a package if the latter services:

(a) do not account for a significant proportion of the value of the combination and are not advertised as and do not otherwise represent an essential feature of the combination; or

(b) are selected and purchased only after the performance of a travel service as referred to in point (a), (b) or (c) of point 1 has started;

(3) «package travel contract» means a contract on the package as a whole or, if the package is provided under separate contracts, all contracts covering travel services included in the package;

(4) «start of the package» means the beginning of the performance of travel services included in the package;

(5) «linked travel arrangement» means at least two different types of travel services purchased for the purpose of the same trip or holiday, not constituting a package, resulting in the conclusion of separate contracts with the individual travel service providers, if a trader facilitates:

(a) on the occasion of a single visit or contact with his point of sale, the separate selection and separate payment of each travel service by travellers; or

(b) in a targeted manner, the procurement of at least one additional travel service from another trader where a contract with such other trader is concluded at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking of the first travel service.

Where not more than one type of travel service as referred to in point (a), (b) or (c) of point 1 and one or more tourist services as referred to in point (d) of point 1 are purchased, they do not constitute a linked travel arrangement if the latter services do not account for a significant proportion of the combined value of the services and are not advertised as, and do not otherwise represent, an essential feature of the trip or holiday.

(6) «traveller» means any person who is seeking to conclude a contract, or is entitled to travel on the basis of a contract concluded, within the scope of this Directive;

(7) «trader» means any natural person or any legal person, irrespective of whether privately or publicly owned, who is acting, including through any other person acting in his name or on his behalf, for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession in relation to contracts covered by this Directive, whether acting in the capacity of organiser, retailer, trader facilitating a linked travel arrangement or as a travel service provider;

(8) «organiser» means a trader who combines and sells or offers for sale packages, either directly or through another trader or together with another trader, or the trader who transmits the traveller’s data to another trader in accordance with point (b)(v) of point 2;

(9) «retailer» means a trader other than the organiser who sells or offers for sale packages combined by an organiser;

(10) «establishment» means establishment as defined in point 5 of Article 4 of Directive 2006/123/EC;

(11) «durable medium» means any instrument which enables the traveller or the trader to store information addressed personally to him in a way accessible for future reference for a period of time adequate for the purposes of the information and which allows the unchanged reproduction of the information stored;

(12) «unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances» means a situation beyond the control of the party who invokes such a situation and the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken;

(13) «lack of conformity» means a failure to perform or improper performance of the travel services included in a package;

(14) «minor» means a person below the age of 18 years;

(15) «point of sale» means any retail premises, whether movable or immovable, or a retail website or similar online sales facility, including where retail websites or online sales facilities are presented to travellers as a single facility, including a telephone service;

(16) «repatriation» means the traveller’s return to the place of departure or to another place the contracting parties agree upon.

 

Article 4

Level of harmonisation

 

Unless otherwise provided for in this Directive, Member States shall not maintain or introduce, in their national law, provisions diverging from those laid down in this Directive, including more or less stringent provisions which would ensure a different level of traveller protection.

 

Chapter II. INFORMATION OBLIGATIONS AND CONTENT OF THE PACKAGE TRAVEL CONTRACT

Article 5

Pre-contractual information

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that, before the traveller is bound by any package travel contract or any corresponding offer, the organiser and, where the package is sold through a retailer, also the retailer shall provide the traveller with the standard information by means of the relevant form as set out in Part A or Part B of Annex I, and, where applicable to the package, with the following information:

(a) the main characteristics of the travel services:

(i) the travel destination(s), itinerary and periods of stay, with dates and, where accommodation is included, the number of nights included;

(ii) the means, characteristics and categories of transport, the points, dates and time of departure and return, the duration and places of intermediate stops and transport connections.

Where the exact time is not yet determined, the organiser and, where applicable, the retailer shall inform the traveller of the approximate time of departure and return;

(iii) the location, main features and, where applicable, tourist category of the accommodation under the rules of the country of destination;

(iv) the meal plan;

(v) visits, excursion(s) or other services included in the total price agreed for the package;

(vi) where it is not apparent from the context, whether any of the travel services will be provided to the traveller as part of a group and, if so, where possible, the approximate size of the group;

(vii) where the traveller’s benefit from other tourist services depends on effective oral communication, the language in which those services will be carried out; and

(viii) whether the trip or holiday is generally suitable for persons with reduced mobility and, upon the traveller’s request, precise information on the suitability of the trip or holiday taking into account the traveller’s needs;

(b) the trading name and geographical address of the organiser and, where applicable, of the retailer, as well as their telephone number and, where applicable, e-mail address;

(c) the total price of the package inclusive of taxes and, where applicable, of all additional fees, charges and other costs or, where those costs cannot reasonably be calculated in advance of the conclusion of the contract, an indication of the type of additional costs which the traveller may still have to bear;

(d) the arrangements for payment, including any amount or percentage of the price which is to be paid as a down payment and the timetable for payment of the balance, or financial guarantees to be paid or provided by the traveller;

(e) the minimum number of persons required for the package to take place and the time-limit, referred to in point (a) of Article 12(3), before the start of the package for the possible termination of the contract if that number is not reached;

(f) general information on passport and visa requirements, including approximate periods for obtaining visas and information on health formalities, of the country of destination;

(g) information that the traveller may terminate the contract at any time before the start of the package in return for payment of an appropriate termination fee, or, where applicable, the standardised termination fees requested by the organiser, in accordance with Article 12(1);

(h) information on optional or compulsory insurance to cover the cost of termination of the contract by the traveller or the cost of assistance, including repatriation, in the event of accident, illness or death.

For package travel contracts concluded by telephone, the organiser and, where applicable, the retailer shall provide the traveller with the standard information set out in Part B of Annex I, and the information set out in points (a) to (h) of the first subparagraph.

  1. With reference to packages as defined in point (b)(v) of point 2 of Article 3 the organiser and the trader to whom the data are transmitted shall ensure that each of them provides, before the traveller is bound by a contract or any corresponding offer, the information set out in points (a) to (h) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 1 of this Article in so far as it is relevant for the respective travel services they offer. The organiser shall also provide, at the same time, the standard information by means of the form set out in Part C of Annex I.
  2. The information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be provided in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner. Where such information is provided in writing, it shall be legible.

 

Article 6

Binding character of pre-contractual information and conclusion of the package travel contract

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that the information provided to the traveller pursuant to points (a), (c), (d), (e) and (g) of the first subparagraph of Article 5(1) shall form an integral part of the package travel contract and shall not be altered unless the contracting parties expressly agree otherwise. The organiser and, where applicable, the retailer shall communicate all changes to the pre-contractual information to the traveller in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner before the conclusion of the package travel contract.
  2. If the organiser and, where applicable, the retailer has not complied with the information requirements on additional fees, charges or other costs as referred to in point (c) of the first subparagraph of Article 5(1) before the conclusion of the package travel contract, the traveller shall not bear those fees, charges or other costs.

 

Article 7

Content of the package travel contract and documents to be supplied before the start of the package

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that package travel contracts are in plain and intelligible language and, in so far as they are in writing, legible. At the conclusion of the package travel contract or without undue delay thereafter, the organiser or retailer shall provide the traveller with a copy or confirmation of the contract on a durable medium. The traveller shall be entitled to request a paper copy if the package travel contract has been concluded in the simultaneous physical presence of the parties.

With respect to off-premises contracts as defined in point 8 of Article 2 of Directive 2011/83/EU, a copy or confirmation of the package travel contract shall be provided to the traveller on paper or, if the traveller agrees, on another durable medium.

  1. The package travel contract or confirmation of the contract shall set out the full content of the agreement which shall include all the information referred to in points (a) to (h) of the first subparagraph of Article 5(1) and the following information:

(a) special requirements of the traveller which the organiser has accepted;

(b) information that the organiser is:

(i) responsible for the proper performance of all travel services included in the contract in accordance with Article 13; and

(ii) obliged to provide assistance if the traveller is in difficulty in accordance with Article 16;

(c) the name of the entity in charge of the insolvency protection and its contact details, including its geographical address, and, where applicable, the name of the competent authority designated by the Member State concerned for that purpose and its contact details;

(d) the name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and, where applicable, the fax number of the organiser’s local representative, of a contact point or of another service which enables the traveller to contact the organiser quickly and communicate with him efficiently, to request assistance when the traveller is in difficulty or to complain about any lack of conformity perceived during the performance of the package;

(e) information that the traveller is required to communicate any lack of conformity which he perceives during the performance of the package in accordance with Article 13(2);

(f) where minors, unaccompanied by a parent or another authorised person, travel on the basis of a package travel contract which includes accommodation, information enabling direct contact with the minor or the person responsible for the minor at the minor’s place of stay;

(g) information on available in-house complaint handling procedures and on alternative dispute resolution («ADR») mechanisms pursuant to Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council <*>, and, where applicable, on the ADR entity by which the trader is covered and on the online dispute resolution platform pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council <**>;

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<*> Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Directive on consumer ADR) (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, p. 63).

<**> Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Regulation on consumer ODR) (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, p. 1).

 

(h) information on the traveller’s right to transfer the contract to another traveller in accordance with Article 9.

  1. With reference to packages as defined in point (b)(v) of point 2 of Article 3, the trader to whom the data are transmitted shall inform the organiser of the conclusion of the contract leading to the creation of a package. The trader shall provide the organiser with the information necessary to comply with his obligations as an organiser.

As soon as the organiser is informed that a package has been created, the organiser shall provide to the traveller the information referred to in points (a) to (h) of paragraph 2 on a durable medium.

  1. The information referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3 shall be provided in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner.
  2. In good time before the start of the package, the organiser shall provide the traveller with the necessary receipts, vouchers and tickets, information on the scheduled times of departure and, where applicable, the deadline for check-in, as well as the scheduled times for intermediate stops, transport connections and arrival.

 

Article 8

Burden of proof

 

As regards compliance with the information requirements laid down in this Chapter, the burden of proof shall be on the trader.

 

Chapter III. CHANGES TO THE PACKAGE TRAVEL CONTRACT BEFORE THE START OF THE PACKAGE

Article 9

Transfer of the package travel contract to another traveller

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that a traveller may, after giving the organiser reasonable notice on a durable medium before the start of the package, transfer the package travel contract to a person who satisfies all the conditions applicable to that contract. Notice given at the latest seven days before the start of the package shall in any event be deemed to be reasonable.
  2. The transferor of the package travel contract and the transferee shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of the balance due and for any additional fees, charges or other costs arising from the transfer. The organiser shall inform the transferor about the actual costs of the transfer. Those costs shall not be unreasonable and shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the organiser due to the transfer of the package travel contract.
  3. The organiser shall provide the transferor with proof of the additional fees, charges or other costs arising from the transfer of the package travel contract.

 

Article 10

Alteration of the price

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that after the conclusion of the package travel contract, prices may be increased only if the contract expressly reserves that possibility and states that the traveller is entitled to price reduction under paragraph 4. In that event the package travel contract shall state how price revisions are to be calculated. Price increases shall be possible exclusively as a direct consequence of changes in:

(a) the price of the carriage of passengers resulting from the cost of fuel or other power sources;

(b) the level of taxes or fees on the travel services included in the contract imposed by third parties not directly involved in the performance of the package, including tourist taxes, landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports; or

(c) the exchange rates relevant to the package.

  1. If the price increase referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article exceeds 8% of the total price of the package, Article 11(2) to (5) shall apply.
  2. Irrespective of its extent, a price increase shall be possible only if the organiser notifies the traveller clearly and comprehensibly of it with a justification for that increase and a calculation, on a durable medium at the latest 20 days before the start of the package.
  3. If the package travel contract stipulates the possibility of price increases, the traveller shall have the right to a price reduction corresponding to any decrease in the costs referred to in points (a), (b) and (c) of paragraph 1 that occurs after the conclusion of the contract before the start of the package.
  4. In the event of a price decrease, the organiser shall have the right to deduct actual administrative expenses from the refund owed to the traveller. At the traveller’s request, the organiser shall provide proof of those administrative expenses.

 

Article 11

Alteration of other package travel contract terms

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that, before the start of the package, the organiser may not unilaterally change package travel contract terms other than the price in accordance with Article 10, unless:

(a) the organiser has reserved that right in the contract;

(b) the change is insignificant; and

(c) the organiser informs the traveller of the change in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner on a durable medium.

  1. If, before the start of the package, the organiser is constrained to alter significantly any of the main characteristics of the travel services as referred to in point (a) of the first subparagraph of Article 5(1) or cannot fulfil the special requirements as referred to in point (a) of Article 7(2), or proposes to increase the price of the package by more than 8% in accordance with Article 10(2), the traveller may within a reasonable period specified by the organiser:

(a) accept the proposed change; or

(b) terminate the contract without paying a termination fee.

If the traveller terminates the package travel contract, the traveller may accept a substitute package where this is offered by the organiser, if possible of an equivalent or a higher quality.

  1. The organiser shall without undue delay inform the traveller in a clear, comprehensible and prominent manner on a durable medium of:

(a) the proposed changes referred to in paragraph 2 and, where appropriate in accordance with paragraph 4, their impact on the price of the package;

(b) a reasonable period within which the traveller has to inform the organiser of his decision pursuant to paragraph 2;

(c) the consequences of the traveller’s failure to respond within the period referred to point (b), in accordance with applicable national law; and

(d) where applicable, the offered substitute package and its price.

  1. Where the changes to the package travel contract referred to in the first subparagraph of paragraph 2 or the substitute package referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 2 result in a package of lower quality or cost, the traveller shall be entitled to an appropriate price reduction.
  2. If the package travel contract is terminated pursuant to point (b) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 2 of this Article, and the traveller does not accept a substitute package, the organiser shall refund all payments made by or on behalf of the traveller without undue delay and in any event not later than 14 days after the contract is terminated. Article 14(2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

 

Article 12

Termination of the package travel contract and the right of withdrawal before the start of the package

 

  1. Member States shall ensure that the traveller may terminate the package travel contract at any time before the start of the package. Where the traveller terminates the package travel contract under this paragraph, the traveller may be required to pay an appropriate and justifiable termination fee to the organiser. The package travel contract may specify reasonable standardised termination fees based on the time of the termination of the contract before the start of the package and the expected cost savings and income from alternative deployment of the travel services. In the absence of standardised termination fees, the amount of the termination fee shall correspond to the price of the package minus the cost savings and income from alternative deployment of the travel services. At the traveller’s request the organiser shall provide a justification for the amount of the termination fees.
  2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, the traveller shall have the right to terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package without paying any termination fee in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the package, or which significantly affect the carriage of passengers to the destination. In the event of termination of the package travel contract under this paragraph, the traveller shall be entitled to a full refund of any payments made for the package, but shall not be entitled to additional compensation.
  3. The organiser may terminate the package travel contract and provide the traveller with a full refund of any payments made for the package, but shall not be liable for additional compensation, if:

(a) the number of persons enrolled for the package is smaller than the minimum number stated in the contract and the organiser notifies the traveller of the termination of the contract within the period fixed in the contract, but not later than:

(i) 20 days before the start of the package in the case of trips lasting more than six days;

(ii) seven days before the start of the package in the case of trips lasting between two and six days;

(iii) 48 hours before the start of the package in the case of trips lasting less than two days;

or

(b) the organiser is prevented from performing the contract because of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances and notifies the traveller of the termination of the contract without undue delay before the start of the package.

  1. The organiser shall provide any refunds required under paragraphs 2 and 3 or, with respect to paragraph 1, reimburse any payments made by or on behalf of the traveller for the package minus the appropriate termination fee. Such refunds or reimbursements shall be made to the traveller without undue delay and in any event not later than 14 days after the package travel contract is terminated.
  2. With respect to off-premises contracts, Member States may provide in their national law that the traveller has the right to withdraw from the package travel contract within a period of 14 days without giving any reason.

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