General Terms and Conditions of the Travel Dispute Commission for package travel contracts.
These general terms and conditions apply to package travel contracts that are concluded as of 1 July 2018 and are governed by the Law on the sale of travel packages, linked travel arrangements and travel services of 21 November 2017.
The organiser and the reseller shall provide the legally required standard information to the traveller, before the traveller commits to a package travel contract, as well as the following, insofar as this applies to the travel package:
1° the main characteristics of the travel services:
a. the destination(s), the itinerary and the length of stay, with the dates and the number of nights;
b. the means of transport, their characteristics and categories, the locations and dates and times for departure and return, the length and location of the
intermediate stops and connections; if the exact time is not yet set, an approximation will be given;
c. the location, the main features and the category of the accommodation according to the rules of the country of destination;
d. the meals provided;
e. the visits, the excursions or the other services that are included in the total price agreed for the package;
f. if it is not clear, whether any of the services are provided to the traveller as part of a group;
g. the language in which other tourist services will be provided, if applicable;
h. whether the trip is generally suitable for people with limited mobility;
2° the total price of the package travel and, if applicable, an indication of the kind of additional costs that could be applied to the customer;
3° the payment methods;
4° the minimum number of people required for the travel to go ahead and the latest date for any possible cancellation of the contract if this number is not reached;
5° general information about the requirements of the destination country regarding passport and visa obligations, including the approximate time needed to obtain a visa and information about health-related formalities;
6° the statement that the traveller can cancel the contract with payment of a cancellation fee;
7° information about cancellation and/or travel insurance.
The professional will ensure that the correct standard information form is provided to the traveller.
The pre-contractual information that is provided to the traveller forms an integral part of the package travel contract. It may not be modified without mutual agreement of the parties.
The person who concludes the package travel contract must provide to the organiser and the reseller all necessary information about himself and his fellow travellers that may be important for the conclusion or the performance of the contract.
If the traveller provides incorrect information and this leads to extra costs for the organiser and/or the reseller, these costs may be charged.
At the conclusion of the package travel contract or within a reasonable period of time, the organiser, or are seller if one is involved, will provide the traveller with a confirmation of the contract on a durable medium such as an email, a paper document or a pdf.
If the package travel contract has been concluded in the simultaneous physical presence of both parties, the traveller has the right to request a paper copy.
The package travel contractor confirmation there of contains the complete content of the contract,including all information as mentioned in article 2 and the following information:
1. the special requests of the traveller to which the organiser has agreed;
2. that the organiser is responsible for the proper performance of the package travel and that he has an obligation of assistance;
3. the name and contact data of the entity responsible for insolvency protection;
4. the name,address, telephone number, email address of the local representative of the organiser or of another service in case the traveller finds himself in difficulty or wishes to make a complaint about possible non-conformity;
5. the traveller’sobligation to mention any non-conformity during the trip;
6. information that can be used to directly contact an unaccompanied minor or the person that is responsible for him at his place of residence;
7. information about the internal complaint handling procedure;
8. information about the Travel Dispute Commission and the E.U. platform for online dispute resolution;
9. information on the right of the traveller to transfer his contract.
Before the start of the travel package, in a timely manner, the organiser will provide to the traveller:
• the necessary receipts
• the vouchers and transport tickets
• information about the scheduled departure times and, if applicable, about the latest check-in time, the scheduled times for intermediate stops, connections and
After the conclusion of the package travel contract the prices may only be increased if the contract expressly foresees this possibility. In that case the methodology for calculating the price revision will be included in the package travel contract. Price increases are only allowed if they are the direct result of changes in: 1° the price of passenger transport that can be attributed to the increased price of fuel or other energy sources, or 2° the level of taxes or fees on the travel services included in the contract, that are imposed by third parties not directly involved in the performance of the package, including tourist taxes and embarkation/disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or 3° the exchange rates relating to the travel package.
If the increase exceeds 8% of the total price, the traveller can cancel the contract without paying cancellation fees.
A price increase is only possible if the organiser informs the traveller at the latest 20 days before the start of the package travel via a durable medium, such as an email, a paper document or a PDF, including a justification for the price increase and the calculation.
In the event of a price decrease, the organiser has the right to deduct administrative costs from the amount due to the traveller. If the traveller so requests, the organiser shall provide proof of these expenses.
Unless otherwise agreed, at the conclusion of the package travel contract, the traveller shall make an advance payment of a part of the total cost of the trip as determined in the special conditions.
Unless otherwise agreed in the package travel contract, the traveller shall pay the balance of the trip at the latest one month before the departure date.
If the traveller fails to pay the advance or the balance of the travel costs, after having been formally notified of being in default, the organiser and/or the reseller shall have the right to terminate the contract with the traveller automatically and with costs charged to the traveller.
The traveller can transfer the package travel contract to a person who meets all the conditions that apply to the contract, on the condition that he:
informs the organiser and any possible reseller as quickly as possible and at the latest seven days before the start of the package travel via a durable medium, such as an email, a paper document or a PDF, and that he pays any possible additional costs of the transfer.
The party who transfers the package travel and the party who takes over the contract are jointly and severally liable for the payment of any outstanding amount and for any additional costs resulting from the transfer. The organiser shall inform the party who is transferring the contract of the cost of the transfer.
If the traveller requests another modification, the organiser and/or the reseller who can make the change, can charge all costs that result from the change.
Changes are possible if the organiser has reserved this right in the contract, and the change is not significant and the organiser informs the traveller of the change via a durable medium, such as an email, a paper document or a PDF.
If, before the start of the trip, the organiser needs to make significant changes to one of the main features of the travel services, or cannot meet the confirmed special requirements of the traveller, or proposes to increase the price of the package travel by more than 8 %, the organiser is obliged to inform the traveller of this and to inform him of the following:
1. the proposed changes and their impact on the price of the package travel;
2. the possibility of cancelling the contract without costs, unless he accepts the proposed changes;
3. the deadline by which he must inform the organiser of his decision;
4. the fact that if he does not expressly accept the proposed changes within the deadline given, the contract will automatically be terminated, and
5. if applicable, the proposed replacement package travel and its price.
If the modifications to the package travel contract or the replacement package result in a decrease in the quality or the cost of the package travel, the traveller is entitled to an appropriate price reduction.
If the package travel contract is cancelled on the basis of article 9.2 and the traveller does not accept a replacement package, the organiser will reimburse the traveller for all amounts paid at the latest fourteen days after the contract cancellation.
1. The organiser can cancel the package travel contract:
if the number of people registered for the package trip is smaller than the minimum number mentioned in the contract and the traveller has been notified of the cancellation by the organiser within the deadline established in the contract, but no later than:
a) twenty days before the start of the package travel for trips of more than six days;
b) seven days before the start of the package travel for trips of two to six days;
c) 48 hours before the start of the package travel for trips of less than two days; or
2. If the organiser cannot carry out the contract as a result of unavoidable and exceptional circumstances and he informs the traveller of the contract cancellation before the start of the package travel.
In these cases, the organiser will reimburse the traveller for all amounts received for the package travel, without owing any additional compensation for damages.
The traveller may cancel the package travel contract at any time before the start of the package travel. In the event of cancellation, the traveller may be obliged to pay a cancellation fee to the organiser.
Standard cancellation fees can be set out in the package travel contract, based on the time of the cancellation before the start of the travel and the expected cost savings and income resulting from the alternative use of the travel services. If no standard cancellation fees have been established, the amount of the cancellation fee will be equal to the price of the package travel reduced by the cost savings and income from alternative use of the travel services.
However, the traveller has the right to cancel the package travel contract without payment of a cancellation fee if unavoidable and exceptional circumstances occur at the place of destination that significantly affect the performance of the package travel or significantly affect the passenger transport of the travellers to the place of destination. In the event of a cancellation of the package travel contract based on this article, the traveller has the right to a full reimbursement of all amounts paid for the package but cannot claim any additional compensation.
The organiser will reimburse all amounts paid by or on behalf of the traveller, at the latest within fourteen days, minus the cancellation fee.
The traveller will inform the organiser without delay of any possible non-conformity that he may have observed during the performance of a service included in the package travel contract.
If any of the travel services is not carried out in accordance with the package travel contract, the organiser will resolve the non-conformity, unless:
it is impossible, or it causes disproportionately high costs, considering the extent of the non-conformity and the value of the travel services involved. If the organiser cannot resolve the non-conformity, the traveller is entitled to a price reduction or compensation in accordance with article 15.
If the organiser does not resolve the non-conformity within a reasonable time period determined by the traveller, the traveller may do so himself and request the reimbursement of the necessary costs. It is not necessary for the traveller to set a time period if the organiser refuses to resolve the non-conformity or if an immediate solution is required.
If a significant portion of the travel services cannot be provided, the organiser will offer, without extra cost to the traveller, other arrangements of similar or higher quality, where possible. If the other proposed arrangements lead to a package of lower quality, the organiser will grant the traveller an appropriate price reduction. The traveller may only reject the other proposed arrangements if they are not comparable to those agreed in the package travel contract, or if the price reduction is insufficient.
If the non-conformity has significant consequences on the performance of the package travel and the organiser has not resolved this within a reasonable time period determined by the traveller, the traveller may cancel the package travel contract without payment of a cancellation fee and, where applicable, request a price reduction and/or compensation. If the package includes passenger transport, the organiser will also provide repatriation of the traveller. If no other arrangements can be made or if the traveller rejects the other proposed arrangements, the traveller is, where applicable, entitled to a price reduction and/or compensation even without cancellation of the package travel contract.
If, as a result of unavoidable and exceptional circumstances, it is impossible to organise the traveller’s return trip as agreed in the package travel contract, the organiser will bear the costs of the necessary accommodation, for three overnight stays per traveller at the most.
The limitation of costs as described in article 12.6 is not applicable to persons with reduced mobility, to the persons accompanying them, to pregnant women, to unaccompanied minors and to persons with specific medical assistance needs, provided that the organiser was notified of the particular needs at least 48 hours before the start of the package travel.
The organiser may not invoke the unavoidable and exceptional circumstances in order to limit its liability if the transport provider involved cannot invoke them under the applicable Union law.
The traveller can address any messages, requests or complaints concerning the performance of the packet travel directly to the reseller through whom he bought the package travel. The reseller will pass these messages, requests or complaints to the organiser without delay.
The traveller is liable for any damage sustained by the organiser and/or reseller, their appointees and/or representatives, through his fault or if he did not respect his contractual obligations.
The organiser is responsible for the performance of the travel services that are included in the package travel contract, whether these services are provided by the organiser or by other travel service providers.
If the organiser is established outside of the European Economic Area, the reseller, who is established in one of the Member States, shall be subject to the obligations of an organiser, unless the reseller can prove that the organiser fulfils the conditions prescribed by the act of 21 November 2017.
The traveller is entitled to an appropriate price reduction for each period in which there was non-conformity of the services provided, unless the organiser can prove that the non-conformity is attributable to the traveller.
The traveller is entitled to appropriate compensation from the organiser for any damage sustained as a result of the non-conformity. The compensation will be paid without delay.
The traveller is not entitled to compensation if the organiser proves that the non-conformity is attributable to:
• the traveller;
• a third party who is not involved in the performance of the services included in the package travel contract, and the non-conformity could not have been foreseen or avoided, or unavoidable and exceptional circumstances.
The organiser will provide appropriate assistance without delay to the traveller in difficulty, in particular by:
- providing useful information about medical services, local authorities and consular assistance;
- helping the traveller with using distance communications and finding other travel arrangements.
If the difficulty is caused intentionally by the traveller or is the result of the traveller’s negligence, the organiser may charge a fee for this assistance. This fee shall in no case exceed the actual costs borne by the organiser.
If the traveller has a complaint before the departure, he must notify the organiser or the reseller as soon as possible, with substantiating evidence.
For any complaints during the performance of the package travel contract, the traveller must notify the organiser or reseller as soon as possible, on site, in an appropriate manner and with substantiating evidence, so that a solution can be sought.
If a complaint on site could not be solved in a satisfactory manner or if the traveller was unable to formulate the complaint on site, he must submit a complaint to the organiser or the reseller, with substantiating evidence, as soon as possible after the end of the travel contract.
In the event of a dispute the parties must first try to arrive at an amicable agreement between themselves.
Should this attempt to reach an amicable contract fail, then each of the parties can ask the vzw Geschillencommissie Reizen (Travel Dispute Commission) to start a conciliation procedure. All parties must consent to this.
To this end, the Secretariat will provide the parties with the conciliation rules and a ”conciliation contract”.
In accordance with the procedure described in the rules, an impartial conciliator will contact the parties in order to try to reach an equitable conciliation between the parties.
Any agreement reached will be set out in writing in a binding contract.
If no conciliation procedure is established or if it fails, the claimant can, if he so wishes, initiate an arbitration procedure with the Travel Dispute Commission or bring a case before the courts.
The traveller is never obliged to accept the authority of the Travel Dispute Commission, neither as plaintiff nor as defendant.
The organiser or reseller, as defendant, may only refuse the arbitration if the amount demanded by the plaintiff is more than 1,250 euros. For this purpose, he has a period of 10 calendar days after receipt of a registered letter or email with proof of receipt in which it is stated that a file with a claim as of 1,251 euros has been opened with the Travel Dispute Commission.
This arbitration procedure is governed by dispute regulations, and can only be started after introducing a complaint to the company itself and when it becomes clear that the dispute cannot be resolved amicably or after a period of four months following the (foreseen) end of the travel (or possibly as of the time of the event that led to the dispute). Disputes concerning physical injuries can only be settled through the courts.
In accordance with the dispute regulations, the jointly composed arbitration tribunal will pronounce its judgement on the travel dispute in a binding and definitive manner. No appeal against this judgement is possible.
- Telephone: 02 277 62 15 of 02 277 61 80 (9:00 to 12:00) ;
- Fax: 02 277 91 00
- Address: City Atrium, Vooruitgangstraat 50, 1210 Bruxelles
- Email: email@example.com 1/2/2018