Your dream vacation turns into a nightmare?
You have booked a travel package with a five-star hotel directly at the beach, with a golf course, and a large pool?
On arrival, you discover that your dream hotel is right next to a freeway, the beach is miles away, the golf course doesn’t have any grass yet, and the pool isn't much bigger than an inflatable pool. These are called travel deficiencies. For such misrepresentations, you can file a claim against the tour operator or the hotel. We explain how you can assert your rights.
When does the Federal Package Tour Act apply?
If a tour operator offers a consumer (i.e. if you book the trip privately) at least two of the following services for an overall price, and the trip lasts for more than 24 hours or includes an overnight stay:
- other tourist services.
What are considered to be deficiencies?
If the trip does not correspond to the features agreed in the contract, or shown in the travel brochure, or that are generally customary, then there is a deficiency.
What should you do to report a defect?
The deficiency must be reported to the service provider (hotel, trip organizer) and the operator (travel agency) as soon as possible. To be on the safe side, it is best to do so in writing, for example by email. Describe the deficiency in as much detail as possible so that it can be rectified.
What can I achieve by reporting the defect?
In addition to rectification of the deficiency (e.g. being moved to a different room), you can also demand a price reduction for the length of the deficiency. The amount of the price reduction depends on many factors. The so-called Frankfurt Table (Frankfurter Tabelle; see document below) offers a useful guide. It shows examples of deficiencies and their discounts as a percentage of the total price.
Make sure that you comply with the deadlines stipulated in the GTC (general terms and conditions). This is usually 30 days after the end of the trip. You can do so with the operator, even if the deficiency took place during a hotel stay, for example.
Can I claim other expenses?
Other deficiencies, such as travel costs to the airport in the event you break off your trip, or a loss when exchanging foreign currency, can also be claimed, but only if these costs have not already been covered by the price reduction. Damages cannot be claimed for deficiencies caused by force majeure (e.g. war, natural disasters, strikes).
Can I also break off my trip?
If the continuation of the trip becomes unreasonable because of the deficiency, then the trip can be cancelled and the costs for the rest of the trip claimed.
Document the deficiencies as far as possible with pictures and written confirmations. If the operator or service provider does not issue a confirmation, you should at least try to receive an email answer and/or a statement regarding the deficiencies.
Below, we provide templates to download for documenting deficiencies, reporting them, and demanding price reductions and claims for damages. You can also find a checklist with possible deficiencies as well the aforementioned Frankfurt Table as a guideline.