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Case Details

Case Details
National ID 4 Ob 130/09k
Member State Austria
Common Name 4 Ob 130/09k
Decision type Supreme court decision
Decision date 29/09/2009
Court Supreme Court
Subject
Plaintiff Unknown
Defendant Unknown
Keywords information obligation, precontractual information, travel

Package Travel Directive, link

Travel agencies are obligated to inform consumers about possible dangers at a travel destination before making the booking, if those dangers are not commonly known and are of importance when choosing the destination.
The plaintiff purchased from the defendant a package holiday to Yucatan (Mexico) taking place in late October. An important criterion for the selection of the travel destination was beach weather.
The area of Yucatan is known for the danger of hurricanes. The season for hurricanes starts in early July and ends in late November. At no time was the plaintiff informed about this by the defendant.
A day after the plaintiff had arrived in Yucatan a hurricane occurred. It lasted for several days which made leaving the hotel and hotel room impossible. Once the hurricane had stopped, the defendant arranged the return of the plaintiff within several days.
The plaintiff requested the paid travel price back, as well as additional compensation for the loss of enjoyment of the holiday and telephone costs.
The court of first instance and appellate court both awarded part of the travel price and compensation for the loss of enjoyment of the holiday and telephone costs.
The Court determined that the defendant had the pre-contractual obligation to inform the consumer about possible, not commonly known dangers of the travel destination, in particular if they may influence the selection of the travel destination made by an average consumer.
Even if it may be commonly known that the area of Yucatan is threatened by hurricanes, the duration of the hurricane season is certainly not a commonly known fact. The possibility of an actual hurricane occurring exactly at the time of the travel is - mathematically speaking - not very high. Nevertheless, the occurrence of a hurricane is massively threatening to both health and property. That means that information about it is crucial for an average consumer when choosing a travel destination. Therefore, the defendant was obligated to inform the plaintiff.
According to the Court, a failure to inform stipulates a reason to claim compensation.
Do travel agencies have a pre-contractual obligation to inform the consumer about possible, not commonly known dangers at the travel destination (e.g. hurricane season)?
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The appeal was dismissed.