Court ruling could force rewrite of cancellation charges rules

Terms and conditionsThe ruling was made on behalf of Bruce Crawcour from Shrewsbury who lost the full cost of his £2,200 holiday when he was forced to cancel it last May, six days before departure.

Tui Travel has now been granted leave to appeal against the decision, which could set a new precendent on cancellation charges, in the High Court.

The Telegraph reports that when Crawcour had cancelled the Thomson holiday last year he was told by the customer services department that a clause meant it could withhold the full cost of the holiday.

However, he said his own investigations had revealed the company had “made no significant loss”.

He added: “Carrying out searches of their internet site it was clear that they had resold our Thomson airline seats within 24 hours, and they had resold or cancelled our room category at the hotel two days before departure.”

This had prompted Crawcour, who represented himself, to take Tui to court where he argued it was in breach of the Unfair Terms Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 and the 2004 guidance from the Office of Fair Trading on Unfair Contract Terms in Package Holiday Contracts.

He added this meant operators can only impose a sliding scale of charges which increase as the departure date approaches, provided they prove to be a genuine pre-estimate of the holiday company’s loss.

Crawcour said now, in the days of the internet and real time information, the situation has changed since the clauses, commonly adopted by most tour operators, were written.

He argued, operators could instead now easily measure whether or not they had made a loss on a cancellation meaning holiday makers should not be unfairly penalised while 100% cancellation charges two weeks prior to departure were unfair.

As a result of the case Crawcour was awarded the full cost of the holiday and all his court fees, after the judge ruled in the Telford court that the cancellation band in in the holiday contract could not be a genuine “pre-estimate of loss” and was therefore unfair.

Tui is refusing to comment on the case following the granting of the leave to appeal.

Sourced by TTG Digital

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