Covid claims of tourists in travel agencies are back in trend

Covid claims of tourists against travel agencies are back in trend

Covid is almost out of the current agenda, but “covid” courts between tour operators, travel agents and tourists are just flaring up. This time, as the experts of the legal company “Lawyers for Tourist Business Baiborodin and Partners” told TURPROM, it was the “pandemic” processes that made up a significant part of the courts in which the company takes part. Interestingly, the coronavirus continues to appear in the processes of this year. In total, from September 26 to 30, the company's lawyers participated in 26 courts.

The most interesting cases and defendants are as follows:

  • The Balashikha Court is considering a claim by a tourist against the tour operator FUN&SUN and against a travel agent. This is just a “fresh” covid case. The point is this. On January 15, 2022, a couple from Balashikha purchased a tour to Thailand with a departure on February 10, 2022 for 12 nights, paying 149,900 rubles. Moreover, with the “covid”, the adventures of tourists began ahead of time: the day before the date of the trip, the tourists passed the test for coronovirus, which turned out to be positive. They called the agent in a panic, but still decided to go to the end and take the test again at the airport. “Surprisingly, the new tests came back negative and the tourists left safely. But the surprises did not end there,” the experts said. Tourists flew to Russia by Etihad, where a PCR test is required. They had to pay about 14,000 rubles for them to find out that the tests were again positive. Tourists were not allowed to fly with a positive result. Then they had to purchase tickets at their own expense from the S7 airline, where PCR tests are not required. “Having paid 65,034 rubles for two tickets from Thailand to Russia, the tourists nevertheless returned and began to go to court. Of course, the agency does not bear any responsibility for the test results of its tourists, to which the judge indicated the same position. As a result, the court excluded our agent from the defendants, which means that he will not face any fines or penalties,” the lawyers said.
  • In St. Petersburg, a tourist's claim against a travel agent is being considered. Formally, it can be said that the story is also “covid” the tourist planned to go to Turkey and booked a tour for May 18, 2021. for 9 nights. But during this period of time, rest in this country for Russian tourists was impossible, since Turkey was officially “closed for covid”. To which the tourist wrote a statement about the desire to return the money. “The agent agreed, but it was not possible to do this promptly due to the delays of the tour operator. To which the Petersburger reacted with a subpoena,” experts said. The trial should end in October.
  • Another story that began with covid with the cancellation of the tour due to the pandemic is being sorted out in Moscow. On February 12, 2020, an agreement was concluded between a tourist from Moscow and a travel agent. According to it, the tourist was supposed to go on vacation to Tunisia with her daughter on June 26, 2021 for 7 nights. The tour operator was Anex Tour, and the cost of the tour was 59,500 rubles. The tour did not take place, but in August 2021, an agreement was concluded between the tourist and the tour operator for the deposit of funds for a period up to 12/31/2021. However, during this time, the mother of the tourist became a disabled person of the 1st group, respectively, she could not use the deposited amount and wrote an application for a refund. “The tour operator did not respond to the application, and there was no response to the second one either. Due to the ineffectiveness, the Muscovite sued both the tour operator and the travel agent in order to return the money paid for the ticket, and also to collect from the defendant a percentage for the use of funds in the amount of 3,000 rubles and 20,000 rubles. as moral compensation,” the lawyers said. According to them, when booking, the agent paid the tour operator an amount of 27,000 rubles, and kept the balance. “When canceling the tour, the travel agency employee paid the part that hung with them minus the commission, and the rest hung with the tour operator. The agent, who got into a difficult situation, turned to the lawyers of Baiborodin and Partners for help. We prepared answers to the claim, represented the interests of the agent at the first court session. Moreover, our lawyer managed to convince the plaintiff, represented by a tourist, to write a letter of dismissal of the claim against the travel agent. The judge accepted the claim, and as a result of the joint work of our lawyers, the client from the agency is no longer a party to this case,” the lawyers said.
  • And another story about covid — this time in Lyubertsy. On September 12, 2021, an application was created for Cyprus, a tour to Protaras, from June 22 for 10 nights. The tourists paid 187,000 rubles and were already packing their bags, but a few days before departure, the tourists fell ill with the coronavirus and wanted to cancel the tour. “The tour operator agreed to return only part of the amount – 129,000 rubles. The tourist did not agree with such conditions and began to sue, adding another 30,000 rubles to the refund amount for moral injuries, a penalty and interest on the use of funds, ”the experts said.
  • And again closed “for covid” Turkey. The Moscow City Court is considering a claim by a tourist against the tour operator Anex Tour and a travel agent – a large company of eight tourists paid 387,000 rubles for a vacation at the Side Star Elegance 5 * hotel (Turkey) from April 19 to April 28, 2021. But since April 15, air traffic has been suspended. “The tourist, upset because of the failed vacation, filed an application for a refund, and after that he sued for the same purpose. The victims of the lawsuit were a tour operator and a travel agent, and the tourist collected all fines, penalties, forfeits in the amount of more than half a million rubles, ”the lawyers said. According to them, at the first meeting they managed to convince the plaintiff that, according to the basics of tourist activity, the agent is only an intermediary, and, accordingly, is not responsible for the movement of funds. “Against this background, the plaintiff reduced the debt, but increased the amount of the penalty. The work was hard. Before the second meeting, the tourist increased the penalty, and already at the court a verdict was passed that the agent and the tour operator must be recovered in favor of the plaintiff. We filed an appeal. At subsequent meetings, the judges began to understand that the case was murky and needed to be dealt with more carefully. As a result, the Moscow City Court considered that the Dorogomilovsky Court, which considered the case initially, did not accept our appeals without grounds, and then completely lost it. All in all, it's a dirty business. We are expecting a new trial in autumn, and we are confident that the situation will be resolved,” the agents said.
  • The pandemic “blocked” the road for another tourist from Moscow twice – in 2020 to Italy and in 2021 to Turkey, for which the tour was rebooked. “The option of saving money for the second time did not suit the tourist and she wanted to return it. As a result, in addition to the amount for the tour (72,500 rubles), the tourists counted a penalty in the amount of 92,000 rubles and moral damage was estimated at 25,000 rubles. The tour operator did not appear at the last court, and a new meeting was scheduled for 11/24/2022,” the experts said.
  • But in closed Tanzania, tourists tried to cancel the tour for family reasons – a family of tourists from Pervouralsk booked a tour to February 23 to March 10, 2021 for 127,000 rubles, but decided to refuse it and try to cancel the contract, taking into account the actual expenses incurred. “The agent replied that only the tour operator should determine the amount of these costs, but Anex Tour did not respond to this request. Now the tourist asks to recover 22,000 rubles in his favor. for non-performance of the contract; a penalty in the amount of 3 700 rubles. and non-pecuniary damage was estimated at 30,000 rubles. The case is going on for quite a long time. We will soon find out the result,” the lawyers added.

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