German Supreme Court: putting together a package doesn’t necessarily turn the travel agent into a tour organizer

Plaintiff booked a combination of air travel and sea cruise and two hotel nights in Jamaica. The combination was put together individually by a travel agent, according to plaintiff’s request. At the outward flight her luggage was left behind and only deliverd to her after the cruise was finished. She claimed for price reduction.First instance court (Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main) granted the claim. Upon appeal by defendant, the appelate court (Landgericht Frankfurt am Main) reversed the judgement and dismissed the claim.Supreme Court (BGH) upheld this decision: even though the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Club-Tour v. Garrido (C-400/00) had held that the term “package” includes holidays organised by travel agents, at the request of and in accordance with the specifications of a consumer or limited group of consumers, this would not necessarily mean that the travel agent assumes responsibilty for the proper performance by the suppliers. From the Garrido decison only derives that by puttiing together a package a travel agent can turn into an organizer – but this does not mean that a travel agent acting this way will always be an organizer, irrespective of the particular circumstances.BGH saw no necessity to file another reference for preliminary ruling to the ECJ.Source: BGH press release 186/2010 of Sep. 30, 2010.Judment: Xa ZR 130/08 of Sep. 30, 2010

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