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Travel Agents Advised to be Aware of Package Holiday Liabilities


A court case involving a holidaymaker injured at his holiday accommodation has resulted in travel agents being warned about their legal obligations to customers regarding what constitutes a Package Holiday.

Holidaymaker Sean Titshall was in Corfu and was injured when a glass patio door shattered in his hotel room.

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Mr Titshall had booked the holiday with his girlfriend through Qwerty Travel, using the Teletext Holidays website.

He claimed that Qwerty Travel was liable for the injuries he sustained because the company had sold him a Package Holiday.

Last year, the company had contested this and Dartford County Court found in favour of Qwerty Travel, ruling that Mr Titshall’s holiday had been sold as “discreet component parts for an aggregate price” – that is, the holiday consisted of separate travel services rather than a package.

However, in December, a Court of Appeal overturned the ruling because of the “service costs” Qwerty Travel had charged the customer when it put together the various components of the holiday, which Mr Justice Tomlinson ruled comprised a “package”.

“Qwerty offered a package which inevitably had component parts – it would not otherwise have been a package,” he said.

“But where those parts were presented for sale as a whole for an inclusive price which comprehended the cost of putting them together – as well as the cost of sourcing them – there is no principled basis upon which one can conclude that any particular proportion of the service costs should be attributed to the sale of the flights or to the sale of the accommodation; and thus, whilst the sale of two services may have been identified, there is no way of ascertaining what is the total cost of either of them.

“I would declare that Qwerty is liable to Mr Titshall for the proper performance of the obligations under the contract made on 24 September 2006, whereby Mr Titshall was provided with hotel accommodation at the Ermones Beach Hotel Corfu for the period 25 September-2 October 2006.”

Agents selling holidays are now being advised to be aware of what might constitute a package holiday.

Advantage Travel Centres’ leisure director Julia Lo Bue-Said commented:

“It's important that agents are explicit with their customers on what they are selling – and they ensure their customers understand that they are, where relevant, only acting as an agent.

“They need to ensure the customer understands what this means in the event of any incidents whilst on their holiday. If an agent is advertising an inclusive price, then it's perceived that they are advertising a package and therefore need to comply with the Package Travel Regulations."

Dated: 10/01/2012


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