Tours and transport agreements
Contract and confirmation of a tour
With a contract for a tour, the organizer is obliged to prepare a pre-prepared package of tourism services for the customer, which is arranged either for a period longer than 24 hours or includes an overnight stay, and contains at least two of the following transactions:
- other tourist services that are not a part of transport or accommodation and that are accounting for a significant proportion of the offered services (e.g. cultural programs, guided city tour).
The contract for a tour does not have to be in writing, but the consumer has the right to receive a written confirmation of the tour
Contract for a tour does not need to be in writing. However, a written confirmation of the trip is needed and this confirmation must be given to the customer by the organizer after the contract is signed, or sometime after it. Confirmation may not be necessary, if the contract is concluded in writing and if it contains all the particulars required to confirm the trip. Along with the confirmation of the tour, the organizer is obliged to give the customer a proof of their insurance. If the agreement and the confirmation differ in some parts, only the things that are beneficial for the customer are valid.
Included among the requirements are, in particular an indication of acknowledgment of the parties to the contract, the definition of a travel agent or a tour reference to the catalog, if it is available to the customer, the price of the trip including a payment time schedule, and drawing the customer´s attention to his rights, and the financial cost to the customer, if he decides to step out of the contract (without a valid reason.) If the tour includes services, that are not included in the total price of the tour, the organizer will also provide information about how much these services cost in the confirmation of tour. If accommodation is a part of the tour, the organizer is required to include this information in the confirmation of the tour: the place where the customer will be staying, tourist categories, how well the place of accommodation is equipped and other characteristics. The organizer will also say what means of transport they will use, together with an itinerary and what food is provided, if there is any.
The organizer may also clarify a condition in the confirmation, that the tour will take place only if a certain number of participants are signed up (including a timeframe, when at the latest he will inform the customer of such a cancellation). The confirmation may also state the conditions, which the participants have to fulfill (such as age or health condition in the cases of more physically demanding tours)
If it is clarified in the contract, the organizer can, in an agreed fashion, raise the cost of the tour, under the circumstances, that up to 21 days before the start of the trip, these factors incur a price rise:
- transportation costs including fuel prices, or
- costs associated with transportation, such as airport, ferry or other fees included in the price of the trip, or
- the Czech crown exchange rate, used as a measure for setting the price of the tour, provided it rises more than 10 % on average.
If however, the organizer were to inform the customer (i.e. sent a notice) later than the 21st day before departure, the organizer would have to bear the increase of the costs himself.
Stepping out of a contract for a tour
If some external factors force the organizer to change some conditions of the tour, the customer has the right to step out of the contract if he does not find these conditions acceptable. The deadline for stepping out of the contract is given by the organizer and cannot be shorter than 5 days and the deadline must end before the day the tour starts. Otherwise it is considered that the customer accepts these new conditions.
If the customer steps out of the contract, because the organizer changed the tour before it started, or if the organizer cancels the tour for a reason other than the customer not fulfilling his obligations, the organizer will, if possible, offer the customer another comparable tour. The customer can choose whether to accept the other tour, or not. If the two sides agree to these terms and if the tour is of a higher quality, the organizer does not have the right to demand more money from the customer. If the quality of the new tour is lower than the original tour, the organizer will have to pay the customer the difference of these two tours.
As a customer, you always have the right to step out of the contract, but you must respect the arrangements in the contract.
In general, the customer can always step out of the contract before the start of the tour. But if the customer steps out of the contract for a certain reason, other than the organizer not fulfilling his obligations, the customer must pay a fine to the organizer in the amount that was stated in the contract or in the confirmation of the tour. The customer also has to pay a fine if the organizer steps out of the contract, because the customer did not fulfill his obligations (for example, the customer did not pay for the tour or make an advanced payment within a specified deadline)
The organizer can step out of the contract only if the tour has been cancelled or if the customer has not fulfilled his obligations.
If the organizer cancels the tour in a time limit shorter than 20 days before the start of the tour, he is bound to pay a fine of 10% of the original price of the tour and he is also bound to pay for any damage incurred to the customer. But if the customer is, for example, warned about the possibility of the tour being cancelled because of a low number of people on the tour, or if the tour is cancelled due to extraneous circumstances (for example, a volcano eruption or an earthquake near to the place of destination), the organizer does not have to pay a 10% fine.
Shortcomings of a tour
The customer is bound to point out any shortcomings in the tour to the organizer (or a person that negotiated the contract) without any undue delay, at the latest 1 month after the tour has ended.
Refund for a tour must be paid within 1 month after the tour has ended
If the tour does not meet the arranged or usual characteristics, the organizer is bound to remove any shortcomings immediately. If the organizer does not remove the shortcomings within a deadline, given by the customer, the customer can solve these problems by himself with all expenses paid by the organizer.
If the organizer does not arrange a taxi that would get the customer from the airport to his hotel, where the customer is supposed to stay, the customer can call his own taxi and all expenses will be paid by the organizer.
If the tour encounters serious shortcomings, that make the tour unbearable, the organizer is obliged to arrange transport to the place of original departure, or to a different arranged place. If the tour can continue, although with a lower quality than how it was written in the contract, the organizer is obliged to return money to the customer (the customer gets a discount). On the other hand, if the organizer arranges a continuation of the tour with a a higher quality with higher expenses, all these expenses are paid by the organizer.
If the organizer does not fulfill his obligations, he is responsible to the customer for any damage not only to property, but from the 1. 1. 2014 also for the fact, that he caused damage to the customer´s holiday (i.e. a “loss of enjoyment of the holiday”).
If the consumer leaves from an airport, that is in the territory of a state of the EU (or even some other states), or if the airline is from the EU, the rights of the passengers are covered by regulations of the European parliament and board No 261/2004
If the carrier cancels the flight, expects a delay longer than 2 hours or refuses to let a passenger onto a plane, the passengers has a right to receive written information about his rights
If the flight is cancelled, the carrier must provide the passenger with a redirected flight (provide transport of the same quality as quickly as possible) and also the necessary care (for example, the carrier must provide food to the passenger, or also accommodation, if the passenger has to wait for his next flight overnight, also a telephone or an e-mail)
If the passenger does not agree with the redirected flight, he has the right to get back his money for the plane ticket, and if the cancelation of the flight is not announced in advance, the passenger also has the right to receive financial compensation of around 2500 – 600 euros depending on the length of the flight. The carrier does not have to pay this financial compensation if the flight was cancelled due to natural circumstances (for example, bad weather). These compensations can be reduced by half if the passenger got a redirected flight that will reach the passenger´s original destination with a delay of not longer than 2 – 4 hours (depending on the length of the flight)
The same procedure follows if the passenger has a valid reserved ticket, the flight is not cancelled but the passenger is prohibited from entering the plane (for example, due to capacity reasons), without the passenger being to blame (for example, if the passenger arrived at the airport under the influence of alcohol or if the passenger arrived at the airport very late)
The same procedure follows if the flight is delayed. The passenger has the right to financial compensation if the flight was delayed by more than 3 hours and the plane was not delayed due to circumstances, that the carrier could not have overcome. The passenger can cancel his flight and demand a refund for the plane ticket, without any financial penalties, if the flight has been delayed by more than 5 hours.
If the consumer does not receive his luggage after arrival at his destination, or if the luggage is damaged, or parts of its contents are missing, it is suitable to ask for a protocol about this situation.
When luggage gets lost or gets damaged, it is appropriate to ask immediately for a protocol at the airport
If it takes too long for luggage to get sent back to the owner (not talking about circumstances, where the carrier could not have done anything), the owner can ask for financial compensation, no later than 21 days after receiving his luggage, for any damage that was done to him. It usually concerns products, that were necessary for the passenger, and that the passenger had to buy because of the loss of his luggage, for example, clothes or hygienic supplies.
In the case of damaged luggage or when some of its contents are missing, the claim for financial compensation has to be sent in writing no longer than 7 days after receiving the luggage.
Luggage is considered as lost, if it is not found within 21 days. If the luggage has been damaged or lost, the passenger has the right to claim financial compensation within a stated time limit. If the value of the luggage is very high, the passenger needs to pay a small fee to the carrier, so that the carrier can take responsibility for the luggage.
The passenger also has some of these rights in cases of a delayed bus, train or ship.
More information about passenger rights for international transportation can be found for example, at the European Consumer Center (or on its internet site http://www.evropskyspotrebitel.cz and this site can also help the consumer in finding a way to resolve an already existing problem)