German court: tour organizer not entitled to a general cancellation fee of 90 percent of the package price in case of no-show

According to the General Conditions of Contract of a German tour organizer, consumers had to pay a cancellation fee of 90 percent of the full package price if they didn’t show up at departure. The cancellation fee applied regardless of the character of the package (air package, round trip, hotel and rental car) with the only exception of cruises to which a cancellation fee of even 100 percent applied.A consumer association (Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen) regarded the term unfair and filed a cease and desist claim. The court (Landgericht Köln) granted the claim: if an organizer demanded payment of a cancellation fee, he had to prove that it corresponded to the actual damage. The defendant, however, failed to do so and also failed to explain why the same cancellation fee would be appropriate for different kinds of packages .The decision is not final yet.Case details: LG Köln, judgement of Jan. 21, 2015, 26 O 196/14

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