German Supreme Court: mandatory tips on cruise ships have to be included in final the price of the arrangement

The defendants , a cruise operator and its German representative, had advertised cruises in a German railway journal. The indicated price “from EUR 799 per person” had a footnote which said that in addition, cruise passengers at the end of the cruise are committed to pay a tip of EUR 7 per person for each night spent onboard the cruise ship without complaint.Upon action for an injunction filed by a fair trade association, the German Supreme Court (BGH) held that service providers doing business with consumers, as far as they quote a price are obliged to indicate the final price including all taxes, charges and other price components applicable to the service. Any price information has to be clear and unambiguous.The advertisment of the defendants had to be regarded an “invitation to purchase”. Though it can be admissable to quote a price “from” a certain amount if the particular price depends on variable factors, mandatory tips of a fixed amount could not be regarded “variable factors” and therefore had to be included in the indicated price to enable consumers to take an informed decision.Source: BGH judgement of May 7, 2015, I ZR 158/14 – “Zauber des Nordens”

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