GENERAL CONTRACT CONDITIONS FOR PACKAGE TOURS
a) Contracting a package tour
1. Reservation request
- Consumers who wish to contract a package tour make a “reservation request”. After this request, the retail travel agency or organising agency, as applicable, undertakes the necessary procedures to obtain a confirmation of the reservation, in accordance with the number of places available and the requested period.
- At the time of making the reservation request, the agency may ask the consumer for a deposit, with a maximum value of 20% of the cost of the requested trip. If the reservation is confirmed, the amount deposited will be discounted from the price of the trip. If the consumer withdraws the reservation request before confirmation, the deposit will be refunded, minus, where applicable, a reasonable amount for administrative costs.
- If the consumer requests a custom package tour, the agency may demand the payment of an amount for preparing the project. If the consumer accepts the agency’s package tour offer, and the agency is able to confirm the services set out in the offer, the amount deposited will be discounted from the price of the trip. Where the agency is unable to confirm them, it must refund the amount deposited by the consumer.
- In all the above situations, if the agency is unable to offer the requested trip and offers the consumer another similar trip or a different trip, except where the contrary is expressly indicated, the duration of this offer is understood to be 24 hours. In these cases, the contract will be completed if the consumer accepts the offer within that period of time, or within the period that has been expressly established.
2. People with reduced mobility
Before proceeding with a reservation request, people with reduced mobility should make the retail travel agency aware of their situation, for the purpose of evaluating the possibility and viability of contracting the trip in accordance with that trip’s characteristics.
In accordance with the provisions set out in EC Regulation 1107/2006, a person with reduced mobility, in terms of participating in the trip, is understood to be any person whose mobility is reduced because of physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary disability), intellectual disability or deficiency, or any other cause of disability, or due to age, whose situation requires adequate attention and adaptation to their particular needs of the services made available to the other participants of the trip.
3. Confirmation of the reservation
Completion of the package tour contract takes place when the reservation is confirmed. From that moment, both parties must comply with the package tour contract.
4. Paying the price
- When the contract is concluded, the consumer must pay an amount corresponding to 40% of the package tour’s price, or where applicable, pay the difference between that amount and the deposit they have already paid. If the consumer does not make this payment, the agency will request that they do so within a reasonably brief period as determined by the agency.
- Payment of the rest of the price will be made when the agency offers to deliver the tickets, travel vouchers or any other document that is essential for carrying out the services included in the package tour. If the consumer does not make this payment, the agency will require them to do so in the period of time determined by the agency. If no time period is set, it will be understood that the payment must be made no later than 7 days before the package tour begins.
- The agency may terminate the contract, and apply established regulations for withdrawal before the package tour starts, if the consumer fails to make any of the above planned payments within their corresponding time periods.
b) Rules applicable to package tour services
- The services set out in the package tour contract are taken from the information provided to the consumer in the brochure or programme, as well as the indications relating to this information that were made on confirming the reservation.
- However, the organising agency reserves the possibility of modifying the information contained in the brochure before concluding the contract. In order to be valid, the consumer must be clearly notified of any changes to that information in writing.
Unless otherwise indicated in the brochure or set out in specific conditions:
a) In countries where there is an official classification of hotel establishments or any other kind of accommodation, the brochure will use the tourist classification awarded in the corresponding country. For those countries that do not have an official classification, the category indicated in the brochure will be only for guidance. In any event, the agency must ensure the closest possible correspondence between the classification used and the expectations that this may reasonably give Spanish consumers.
b) Room occupation times depend on the regulations established in each country. In general, the room may be occupied from 14.00 on the day of arrival and must be vacated before 12.00 on the day of departure, regardless of the planned time of arrival at the hotel or the scheduled time for continuing the trip.
c) Rooms or cabins with three or four beds are usually double rooms with one or two additional beds, which are often sofa beds or a foldable bed, except in certain establishments where instead of additional beds, two bigger beds are used.
- The consumer should arrive at the indicated place of departure at the time indicated by the agency, or if not, in the brochure. In general, for air travel, consumers must arrive an hour and a half before the scheduled time of departure.
- If the consumer is unable to take the trip because they failed to arrive at the required time before departure, the regulations set out in section 15 will be applied, concerning non-appearance for departure, or where applicable, section 13 concerning the consumer’s withdrawal.
- Any loss or damage caused to hand luggage or other objects that consumers carry with them and have in their keeping is at their own risk.
8. Other services
- In general, full board includes continental breakfast, lunch, dinner and accommodation. Half board, unless otherwise indicated, includes continental breakfast, dinner and accommodation. In general, these meals do not include drinks.
- Special diets (vegetarian or other special diets) are only guaranteed if they have been agreed by the parties under special conditions.
c) Rights of the different parties before the trip begins
9. Modifying the contract
- If at any time before departure the consumer wants to request changes to destinations, means of transport, duration, calendar, itinerary of the contracted tour or any other change concerning services and the agency is able to carry them out, the agency may charge any justified additional costs that these modifications may cause as well as a premium for modifying the reservation that may not exceed 3% of the cost of the trip.
- Before departure, the agency may only make changes that are necessary for the good of the package tour and which are not significant. Necessary changes are considered to be significant if they prevent the fulfilment of the package tour’s purpose according to its general or special characteristics.
- If the agency should be obliged to make significant changes, it will notify the consumer immediately. The consumer may then decide to accept the modification to the contract, which will specify the variations introduced and their effects on the price, or terminate the contract. The consumer must communicate their decision to the agency within three days after notification of the modification. If the consumer fails to communicate their decision within the period indicated, it will be understood that they have decided to terminate the contract.
10. Price adjustment
- The agency may increase or decrease the price, provided that this adjustment occurs prior to the last 20 days before departure and is not significant, i.e. that it is less than 15% of the total cost of the tour. Furthermore, this adjustment may only be carried out to adjust the tour price for variations in:
a) the exchange rates applied to the package tour.
b) the price of the transport included in the package tour, including the cost of fuel.
c) the charges and taxes relating to certain services, such as airport fees, boarding, disembarking and other similar charges included in the price.
2. The revised price is determined by taking as a reference the exchange rate of the destination country’s currency and the applicable prices, charges and taxes on the date of the brochure’s publication.
In the case of tours that include two or more countries, the exchange rate used as a reference is the US dollar on the same date.
- If the price adjustment means an increase of more than 15% of the cost of the trip, the agency will notify the consumer immediately, who will then be able to terminate the contract.
The consumer must communicate his or her decision to the agency within the three days following notification of the modification. If the consumer fails to communicate their decision within the period indicated, it will be understood that the consumer has decided to terminate the contract.
11. Consumer rights in the event of termination
- In the event that the consumer, in accordance with the previous sections, decides to terminate the contract, he or she may choose between:
a) obtaining a refund for all money paid within a maximum period of one month, or
b) taking another package tour of equal or greater quality offered by the agency, if it is able to do so. If the offered trip is of greater quality, the agency may not ask for any kind of supplementary payment. The consumer may also accept a lower-quality package tour, but in this case, the agency will deduct the difference in price.
2. In either case, the consumer has the right to claim the compensation specified in the event of the cancellation of the planned tour in section 14 and under the same conditions.
12. Transferring the reservation
- The consumer may transfer their reservation to a person who satisfies all the required conditions for participating in the package tour that are set out in the brochure and the contract.
- The agency must be notified of the transfer using any medium, and it will be free of charge if the communication is received a minimum of fifteen days before the date of departure. If the transfer is desired later than that, and the agency is able to accept it, the consumer may be charged a premium for the transfer that will not exceed a value of 3% of the cost of the tour.
- In any event, the consumer and the person the reservation has been transferred to are jointly and severally liable to the agency for the payment of the rest of the price, as well as any justified additional costs that the transfer may have caused.
13. The consumer’s right of withdrawal
- The consumer has the power to withdraw from the contracted package tour at any time before departure. However, if the withdrawal occurs within the period of 15 days before the tour’s departure, the consumer must pay a penalty corresponding to the time left before departure, that will be:
a) 5% of the cost of the tour if withdrawal occurs more than 10 and less than 15 days before departure.
b) 15% of the cost of the tour if withdrawal occurs between 10 and 3 days before departure.
c) 25% of the cost of the tour if withdrawal occurs within 48 hours of departure.
2. The consumer will not have to pay any amount as a penalty if withdrawal is caused by force majeure. To that effect, force majeure will be considered to be death, accident or serious illness of the consumer or one of the persons they live with or any analogous situation that prevents them from participating in the tour.
3. In any event, the consumer must pay the administrative and cancellation costs arising from the withdrawal.
4. The withdrawal comes into effect from the moment that the consumer’s wish to withdraw is made known to the agency.
5. Once the withdrawal is made known, the agency will refund the amount paid by the consumer within a maximum period of one month, deducting administrative costs and, where applicable, justified cancellation costs and penalties.
6. If the package tour was subject to special economic contracting conditions, such as plane or ship chartering, special charges or similar charges, then the administrative costs, cancellation charges and penalties will be those that are explicitly indicated in that tour’s brochure or those agreed privately in the contractual document.
14. Package tour cancellation by the organiser
- Cancellation of the tour, for any reason that cannot be attributed to the consumer, gives the consumer the right to terminate the contract with the rights set out in section 11.
- If cancellation of the tour is notified within two months before departure, the agency must pay the consumer compensation according to the time remaining before departure, which will be a minimum of:
a) 5% of the cost of the tour if cancellation occurs more than 15 days and less than 2 months before departure.
b) 10% of the cost of the tour if cancellation occurs between 15 and 3 days before departure.
c) 25% of the cost of the tour if cancellation occurs within 48 hours before departure.
- There is no obligation to pay compensation in the following situations:
a) When the tour is cancelled because the number of people registered is below the figure set out in the brochure or the package-tour contract.
In this event, the agency must notify the consumer about the cancellation in writing before the deadline set out in the brochure or the contract.
Otherwise, the agency must notify the consumer about the cancellation a minimum of ten days before the departure date.
b) When the cancellation of the tour is due to force majeure. Causes due to force majeure are abnormal and unpredictable circumstances beyond the agency’s control whose consequences were unavoidable, in spite of acting with due diligence.
15 Non-appearance at departure
- If the consumer does not notify the agency of their intention of not taking part in the tour or if they do not appear at the planned time and place of departure, this will be considered non-appearance.
In this event, the consumer loses the right to a refund of the amount paid and is still obliged to make any outstanding payments.
- However, if non-appearance occurs due to force majeure, the consumer has the right to a refund, once administrative and cancellation costs have been deducted.
To that effect, force majeure will be considered to be death, accident or serious illness of the consumer or one of the persons they live with or any analogous situation that prevents participation in the tour and notifying the agency of this fact before departure.
d) Rights and obligations of the parties after the package tour begins
16. Defective service or failure to provide service
- If the consumer finds during the tour that there is a defect or that a contracted service is not provided, they must notify the organiser or retail agency, and where appropriate the service provider, of this fact at the scene of the incident and as soon as possible. The notification must be in writing or in any other form providing documentary proof. After receiving the notification, the retail agency or the organiser must act with due diligence to find appropriate solutions.
- If the consumer carries out this notification in the indicated timeframe and manner, the documentary proof will exempt them from providing any further proof of the existence of this defect, unless the organiser, retail agency or service provider have confirmed in the consumer’s presence that the defect does not exist or does not constitute the indicated characteristics, and have declared the fact.
- If the consumer does not carry out this notification in the indicated time and manner, they must provide evidence of the defects they allege in accordance with the general criteria of evidence and they will be liable for all the damage caused or made worse because of this lack of notification.
17. The organiser’s inability to provide a significant proportion of the services
- If the agency finds that it is unable to provide a significant proportion of the services foreseen in the contract once the package tour has begun, it must adopt adequate solutions for the continuation of the tour.
A significant proportion of the foreseen services are those that if lacking, prevent the normal continuation of the tour and mean that it is not reasonable to expect that an average consumer of this kind of tour would continue with it under those circumstances.
- The agency may not ask for any kind of supplement for the solutions for continuing the tour that it adopts and will compensate the consumer for any difference between the foreseen services and those actually provided.
- If the consumer expressly or tacitly accepts the solutions proposed by the agency, they will have no right to any compensation for these modifications. The consumer is considered to have tacitly accepted these proposals if they continue with the tour with the solutions provided by the organiser.
- If the solutions adopted by the organiser are not viable or the consumer does not accept them for reasonable motives, the agency must:
a) provide a means of transport for returning to the departure point or any other point that both parties have agreed on that is equivalent to the one contracted for the tour, in cases where the contract includes the return journey.
b) refund the amount paid with a deduction for the cost of the services that have been provided until the end of the trip, except where the defect that prevents the tour from continuing is attributable to the consumer.
c) pay the consumer the appropriate amount of compensation.
18. Withdrawal of the consumer during the tour
- The consumer has the right to withdraw from the package-tour contract once the tour has begun, but cannot claim a refund of the amounts paid and will continue to be liable to pay the amounts still pending payment.
- If withdrawal is due to an accident or illness suffered by the consumer which prevents them from continuing the tour, the agency has the obligation to provide the necessary assistance and, where necessary, of paying the difference between the foreseen services and those actually provided, once the corresponding and properly justified cancellation costs have been deducted.
- In either case, all the supplementary expenses caused by withdrawal, and in particular those of repatriation or transfer to the place of origin, are borne by the consumer.
19. The consumer’s obligation to collaborate with the normal continuation of the tour
- The consumer must follow the indications given by the agency concerning the appropriate execution of the tour, as well as the generally applicable regulations for users of the services included in the package tour. In particular, during group trips, they will maintain the proper respect for the other participants and their behaviour will not disrupt the normal activities of the tour.
- A serious infraction of these obligations entitles the agency to terminate the package-tour contract. In this event, if the contract includes the return journey, the agency will provide the consumer with a means of transport equivalent to the one contracted for the return journey to the point of departure or to any other place that both parties have agreed on. The agency also has the right to compensation for any damages attributable to the consumer’s behaviour.
e) Contractual responsibility for defective compliance or non-compliance
20. Allocation of liability
- The organising agency and the retail agency will be liable to the consumer for the correct fulfilment of the package-tour contract in accordance with their obligations resulting from their respective package-tour management areas.
- The organising agency and the retail agency will be liable to the consumer whether they themselves carry out the services included in the package tour or if they are carried out by their auxiliaries or other service providers.
- The organising agency, as package tour planner, is liable for any damages to consumers arising from non-provision or insufficient provision of services included in the package tour as well as damages that arise from non-compliance of any other obligation corresponding to its administrative area, in accordance with applicable legislation.
- The retail agency, as the party that sells, or offers for sale, the package tour proposed by an organising agency, is liable for damages caused to consumers for any errors it may have committed when informing them about the package tour, for having omitted information that should have been provided, for not having given them the necessary documentation for undertaking the package tour correctly and, in general, for not having complied with any other obligation corresponding to its administrative area in accordance with applicable legislation.
21. Causes for exemption from liability
The organising and retail agencies’ liabilities come to an end under any of the following circumstances:
a) when the observed defects in the execution of the contract are attributable to the consumer.
b) when these defects are attributable to a third party not connected to the provision of services set out in the contract and are of an unpredictable or insurmountable nature.
c) when these defects are due to force majeure, understood as abnormal and unpredictable circumstances beyond the control of the party claiming them, whose consequences could not have been avoided, in spite of having acted with due diligence.
d) when the defects are due to an event that the retail agent or, where appropriate, the organising agency, could not foresee or overcome in spite of acting with the necessary due diligence.
22. The consumer’s obligation to reduce damages
In any event, consumers are obliged to take adequate and reasonable measures in order to try and reduce damages that may be caused by the non-execution or deficient execution of the contract or to prevent them from becoming more serious. The damages that are caused by not having adopted those measures will be borne by the consumers.
23. The agency’s obligation of providing assistance
- The organising agency and the retail agency, in spite of being exempt from liability, will still be obliged to provide any necessary assistance to consumers who find themselves in difficulties.
- There will be no obligation to provide the assistance set out in the previous section when the damages produced during the execution of the contract are attributable exclusively to the intentional or negligent behaviour of the consumer.
24. Liability limitations of international agreements
When the services included in the package tour contract are regulated by international agreements, compensation for bodily harm and non-corporal damage arising from non-compliance or improper execution of the contract will be subject to the limitations that these agreements establish.
25. Limitations to liability for non-corporal damage
- When the package tour services are not regulated by international agreements:
a) compensation for non-corporal damage will be limited for all items to double the price of the tour, including moral damages not arising from bodily harm and the refunds that must be made.
b) compensation from the organising agency for damages arising from loss of or damage to luggage will be limited to 350 euros.
2. The limitations provided for in the last two sections will not apply if the agency or the service providers have intentionally caused the damage or have acted recklessly in the knowledge that the damage would probably occur.
26. Information about regulations applicable to passports, visas and inoculations
- The agency has the obligation to provide information about the necessary health formalities for the consumer’s journey and stay, as well as conditions applicable to citizens of the European Union concerning passports and visas, and will be liable for correcting the information provided.
- The consumer must obtain the necessary documentation for undertaking the tour, including passports, visas and documents accrediting any medical requirements. All damages that may occur due to the lack of this documentation will be the consumer’s responsibility, and in particular, any costs arising from interrupting the tour and possible repatriation.
- if the agency accepts the consumers’ commission to process the necessary visa applications for some of the destinations foreseen in the itinerary, they may charge for the cost of the visa and for administrative costs of the necessary procedures undertaken at the corresponding diplomatic representation or consulate.
In this case, the agency will be liable for the attributable damages in accordance with the diligence normally required for delays in acquiring or lack of the necessary documentation.
27.- Liability relating to air transport incidents
When the air company cancels a flight or the flight is seriously delayed, it will be liable for providing the necessary assistance and attention to the affected passengers, covering the cost of meals, phone calls, transport and overnight stays if necessary, in accordance with EC regulation 261/2004, which establishes common norms concerning compensation and assistance for air passengers in the case of being denied boarding and the cancellation or serious delay of flights.
In the event of a flight being cancelled, it will also be obliged to pay the corresponding compensation to the passengers, as well as refunding the price of the air ticket if the passengers choose that option. If the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, the air company responsible for the flight will not be obliged to pay compensation but it will be obliged to provide all necessary assistance and attention to affected passengers and to refund the price of their tickets if they choose that option.
28. Liability for services not included in the package tour
- The regulations for contractual responsibility for package tours are not applicable to services such as going on excursions, attending sports or cultural events, visiting exhibitions and museums or other similar activities, which are not included in the overall price of the package tour and which consumers contract on an optional basis before or during their journey.
In these cases, the agency must inform consumers of the optional nature of the service and that it does not form part of the package tour.
- If the agency is involved in contracting these services they will be liable in accordance with the specific regulations of the contract concerned.
f) Claims and actions arising from the contract
- Applicable Law
This package-tour contract is regulated by the agreement between the parties and by what is established in these general conditions, to current autonomic regulations, at the place where the contract is concluded, and failing that, by Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 of 16 November in which the consolidated text of the General Law for the defence of consumers and users is approved, and other complementary laws.
30. Complaints to the agency
- Without prejudice to any possible legal action, consumers may make claims in writing concerning the non-execution or defective execution of the contract to the retail agency within a maximum period of 30 days, starting from the day the package tour should have finished.
- Within a maximum time limit of a further 30 days, the organising agency or the retail agency, depending on the obligations they incur due to their area of management of the package tour, must answer the claims made in writing within the period.
- In this phase, the consumers and the agency may seek the mediation of the competent administration or relevant bodies in order to find a solution to the conflict that is satisfactory to both parties.
- If the conflict cannot be resolved by means of the claim made to the agency, the consumer may submit it to consumer arbitration if the agency concerned is registered with the consumer arbitration system, or, in any event, take the claim to court.
31. Consumer arbitration
- If the agency concerned is registered with the consumer arbitration system, the consumer may direct the claim to the competent regional Consumer Arbitration Board for the place where the contract was concluded or in which the agency is registered, within a maximum period of 3 months, from the day that the package tour should have finished.
- Poisoning, injury, death or circumstances where there are rational indications that an offence has been committed cannot be subject to consumer arbitration.
- Unless some other factor is involved in the public offer of submission to the consumer arbitration system, the arbitration will be based on law and the proceedings will be governed by Royal Decree 231/2008, of 15 February. Claims will be limited to amounts of less than 1,000 euros per person and a maximum total value of 5,000 euros per claim.
- The ruling of the arbitration tribunal designated by the Consumer Arbitration Board will conclude the presented claim definitively and will be binding for both parties.
32. Legal action
- If the dispute is not subject to consumer arbitration, consumers may claim through legal channels in the courts of the place where the contract was concluded.
- The consumer may only be sued in court in the place where the contract was executed.
- Legal action arising from the package tour contract has a limitation period of two years, starting from the day the package tour should have finished.