General terms and conditions of the Belgian Travel Dispute Commission
Article 1 : field of application
These general terms and conditions apply to contracts of travel organisations and travel mediation as governed by the Act of February 16, 1994 regarding Travel Organisation and Travel Mediation Contracts.
Article 2 : promotion and offer
1. The price data on this web site bind the tour operator or travel mediator who owns this web site unless * the traveller is notified clearly, in writing and before the conclusion of the contract of any modifications to these data. * Modifications arise afterwards as a result of a written agreement between contracting parties.
a. The tour operator and /or mediator may be obliged to cancel a certain offer temporarily or permanently.
b. The offer mentioned on the web site always applies till depletion.
Article 3 : information from the tour operator and/or mediator
The tour operator and/or mediator is obliged to :
1. Notify the travellers in writing before the conclusion of the travel organisation or travel mediation contracts :
a) general information concerning passports and visas and the formalities in the field of health care that may be necessary for the trip and stay, so that the travellers can complete all necessary documents. Travellers that do not have the Belgian nationality better ask the authorities for information about the formalities they have to fulfil;
b) information about the contracting and contents of a cancellation and/or assistance insurance;
2. At the latest 7 calendar days before the departure date provide the travellers with the following information in writing:
a) timetables, stops and connections and also, if possible, the seat allocated to the traveller;
b) name, address, telephone and fax number of either the local representative of the tour operator and/ or mediator or the local authorities that can help the traveller in case of difficulties, or the tour operator or mediator himself.
c) for trips and stays of minors in a foreign country any information allowing direct contact with the child or with the person on site who is responsible for his stay. The above-mentioned 7-calendar-day period is not applicable in case of a late conclusion of the contract.
Article 4 : information from the traveller
The traveller must supply the tour operator and/or mediator with all useful information that is asked explicitly. When the traveller supplies inaccurate information resulting in extra costs for the tour operator and/or mediator, the traveller will bear these costs.
Article 5 : realisation of the contract
1. If a trip is booked through this web site, the travel mediator and organiser must provide the traveller with a legal order form.
2. The travel organisation contract comes into being the moment that the traveller, whether or not by mediation of the acting travel mediator, receives from the tour operator the written confirmation of the booked trip. This confirmation is send by e-mail and/or per post.
3. If the content of your order form differs from the content of the travel confirmation or if the confirmation is not made within 21 days after signing of the order form, then the traveller may conclude that the trip has not been booked. He is then entitled to immediate reimbursement of any amounts already paid.
Article 6 : price of the trip
1. The price agreed on in the contract is fixed and all compulsory services are included, barring an evident material mistake.
2. The price agreed on in the contract may be revised downwards or upwards up to 21 calendar days preceding the departure date, if the revision is due to a change in :
a) the exchange rates that are apply to the trip and/or
b) the transport costs including fuel and/or
c) the levies and taxes due for certain services.
If the increase is higher than 10 % of the total price, the traveller may terminate the contract without compensation. In this case the traveller is entitled to immediate reimbursement of all the amounts he has paid to the tour operator. The price revision is applied in proportion to the part of the trip that is liable to revision.
3. Prices are calculated on the basis of rates and exchange rates for accommodation and other services abroad; and furthermore on the rates for transport and especially fuel prices for transport by charter flight, that were applicable on the dates the contracts were concluded by the tour operator.
Article 7 : payment of cost of the trip
1. Except in case of letting or if it is explicitly agreed otherwise, the traveller pays the advance that is specified by the tour operator in his general conditions.
2. Unless agreed otherwise in the order form, the traveller pays the balance at the latest 1 month before the departure date and on the condition that he receives in advance or at the same time the written trip confirmation and/or the travel documents.
3. When the traveller books his trip less than 1 month in advance of the departure date, he must pay the total amount immediately.
Article 8 : transferable bookings
1. Before his trip begins, the traveller may transfer his trip to a third party that must meet all conditions of the travel organisation contract. The transferor must inform the tour operator and, in if necessary, the travel mediator of this transfer in time before the departure.
2. The traveller, who transfers his trip, and the transferee must pay the total price of the trip and the transfer costs.
Article 9 : other modifications by the traveller
If the traveller asks for another modification, the tour operator and/or travel mediator are allowed to charge any costs that are caused by this modification.
Article 10 : modifications by the tour operator before the departure
1. If one of the main points of the contract cannot be executed before the start of the trip, the tour operator must notify the traveller as soon as possible and certainly before the departure and inform him of the possibility to terminate the contract without any costs, unless he accepts the modification made by the tour operator.
2. The traveller must notify the tour operator or travel mediator of his decision as soon as possible, and certainly before the departure.
3. If the traveller accepts the modification, a new contract or a supplement to the contract must be drawn up, containing the modifications made and their effect on the price.
4. If the traveller does not accept the modification, he may ask for the application of article 11.
Article 11 : termination by the tour operator before the departure
1. If the tour operator breaks the contract before the start of the trip, due to a condition not ascribed to the traveller, the traveller has the choice between :
1) either the acceptance of a new offer regarding a trip of an equal or better quality, without paying a supplement: if the trip that is offered as a replacement is of a lesser quality, the tour operator must refund the price difference as soon as possible.
2) or the repayment as soon as possible of all the amounts by him paid on the basis of the contract.
2. In such a case, the traveller can also claim compensation for the non-execution of the contract unless: :
a) the tour operator cancels the trip because the minimum number of travellers, provided in the contract and necessary for the execution of the trip, was not reached and the traveller was notified of this in writing within the period provided in the contract and at least 15 calendar days before the departure date;
b) the cancellation is a result of force majeur. This does not include overbooking. An act force majeur is considered to be abnormal and unforeseen circumstances that are independent of the will of the person who appeals to it and the consequences of which cannot be avoided, in spite of all precautions.
Article 12 : whole or partial non-execution of the trip
1. If it appears during the trip that an important part of the services related with the contract cannot be executed, the tour operator takes all necessary measures to offer the traveller appropriate and free alternatives with a view to the continuation of the trip.
2. If there is a difference between the intended and the actually rendered services, he refunds the difference to the traveller.
3. If such an arrangement appears impossible or if the traveller does not accept the alternatives for sound reasons, the tour operator must put equal transportation at his disposal, thus bringing him back to the place of departure and, if necessary, compensating the traveller.
Article 13 : termination of the contract by the traveller
The traveller may terminate the contract at any time, either entirely or partially. If the traveller terminates the contract because of a circumstance ascribed to him, he will compensate the loss that the tour operator and mediator suffer because of the termination. Compensation may be set at a fixed amount and may amount to no more than once the price of the trip.
Article 14 : liability of the tour operator
1. The tour operator is responsible for the sound execution of the contract, in accordance with the expectations that the traveller may reasonably have on the basis of the stipulations of the travel organisation contract, regardless of the fact that these obligations must be carried out by himself or by other service providers, without prejudice to the tour operator's right to contact other service providers.
2. The tour operator is as much responsible for any negligence by his agents and representatives acting in the exercise of their function, as for his own actions and negligence.
3. If an international treaty applies to a service included in the travel agreement, the tour operator's liability will then be excluded or limited in accordance with the contract.
4. Insofar as the tour operator himself does not render the services foreseen in the travel agreement, his liability for material damage and compensation of the loss of travel pleasure is limited to twice the cost of the trip.
5. The rest applies at most on article 18 and 19 of the act mentioned in the first article.
Article 15 : liability of the traveller
The traveller is liable for the loss that the tour operator and/ or travel mediator, their staff and their representatives suffer by the traveller's fault, as well as when he has not complied with his contractual obligations. The fault will be judged in accordance with a traveller's normal behaviour.
Article 16 : complaint handling
Before departure :
1. If there are complaints before the travel contract is executed, the traveller should send a registered letter or a complaint against receipt to the travel mediator and/or tour operator as soon as possible.
During the trip :
2. Complaints during the execution of the contract should be reported by the traveller as soon as possible in an appropriate and evidential way in order to search for a solution. Therefore he has to turn to - in this order - a representative of the tour operator or a representative of the travel mediator or directly to the travel mediator or, finally, directly to the tour operator.
After the trip :
3. If a complaint was not solved satisfactorily on site, or if the traveller could impossibly formulate a complaint on site, than he has to file a complaint within one month after the end of the travel agreement, by registered letter or against receipt, to the travel mediator or otherwise to the tour operator.
Article 17 : conciliation board
1. In case of a dispute, a mutual agreement needs to be aspired first.
2. If this attempt fails to reach a mutual agreement within 1 to 3 months, anyone of the parties concerned can ask to the travel arbitrage commission to start de reconciliation procedure. All parties need to agree.
3. In this case the travel dispute commission will send a brochure to both parties, the reconciliation regulations and an agreement to reconciliation. Once both parties (collectively or individually) have completed and signed, and once each party has paid 50 Euros, the conciliation procedure is initiated.
4. According to the simple procedure described in the regulations, an neutral conciliator will then contact the parties to ensure a appropriate reconciliation between the parties
5. Any reached agreement will be fixed in a written agreement
Secretary of the Reconciliation Board
Koning Albert II laan 16, 1000 Brussel
Article 18: Arbitration or Court
1. If the conciliation fails, then the claimant has the choice of a procedure in front of the ordinary court or arbitration in front the Travel Dispute Commission.
2. For amounts claimed as from € 1250, each defendant has a period of 10 calendar days to reject the requested arbitration by registered letter; then the ordinary courts can be implicated. Under € 1250, the ability to refuse arbitration is only possible for the traveler.
3. This arbitration is governed by an arbitration regulation, and can only be started after a period of four months following the (expected) end of the trip (or possibly from the performance that gave rise to the dispute) and an amicable settlement could not be reached. Disputes regarding personal injury can only be settled by the courts.
4. The Arbitration Board shall, according to the arbitration regulations, give a binding and final verdict on this travel dispute.
Secretary of the Arbitration Board, and general secretariat of the Travel Dispute Commission
Koning Albert II laan 16, 1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 (0)2/277.62.15 (9am to 12pm) • Fax: +32(0)2/277.91.00
E-mail: clv.grs @ skynet.be