Before the enormous disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Court heard a case dealing with the question of what happens when a planned tour holiday goes wrong or is not as advertised.
In this case, a man purchased a 10-day river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, ready to enjoy his once in a lifetime holiday. He expected a “pleasant and relaxed” holiday in which he could simply unpack and enjoy the luxury of the cruise. Unfortunately for him, once in a lifetime flooding along the Rhine meant the itinerary of the holiday had drastically changed. Cruising time was cut to three days and the rest of the holiday was spent between two vessels and busses.
The man took the cruise line to Court arguing that the cruise line did not satisfy consumer guarantees. He argued it failed to provide him with services that were fit for their purpose, and that the quality of the trip did not meet the standard that had been advertised. In addition to this, he claimed he was suffering from disappointment and distress. The Court agreed and awarded him $10,990 for the failure of the cruise and a further $2,000 in damages for disappointment and distress.
This High Court decision highlights the range of protections in place for consumers. In the build-up and wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that many cases of substantially disrupted or cancelled holidays will emerge. Knowing your protections and entitlements in these uncertain times is critical to ensuring your interests are fully looked after.