Quarantine orders do not entitle to a reduction of the travel price

Haufe Online Editorial Office

If corona-related quarantine is ordered during a vacation trip in Cyprus because someone in the travel group falls ill with Covid-19, affected travelers are not entitled to a reduction of the travel price: The quarantine does not realize a travel-specific risk, but it is a manifestation of the general risk of life.

The plaintiff had made a reservation with the defendant travel company for the period 8.3.2020 to 20.3.2020 booked a trip to Cyprus including a round trip by bus and an extension week on the beach. After a fellow traveler became infected with COVID-19 the local travel management as well as the local public health department had Quarantine for the plaintiff as Contact for the 10.3. to 24.3.2020 on.

To quarantine forced traveler demands repayment of the travel price

The plaintiff complained about a travel defect to the defendant on the spot and demanded remedy. After his return he demanded the defendant in due time to refund the travel price. According to the plaintiff, the quarantine order was not justified because he had practically no direct contact with the infected person.

Right to reduce travel price is independent of the organizer’s fault

The AG involved in the case rejected the claim of the plaintiff for repayment of the travel price. Decisive for the decision were the regulations for the reduction of the travel price according to §§ 651i ff BGB (German Civil Code). According to this, the traveler is entitled to a reduction of the travel price in the event of not only quite insignificant defects in the travel services. If there is a complete failure of the essential, contractually agreed travel services, the traveler is entitled to a Reduction of the travel price to zero and the organizer be obligated to refund payments already made. This obligation of the organizer exists regardless of whether he is responsible for the travel defect or not.

General risks of daily life can limit warranty obligation

According to the AG’s ruling, a limitation of the warranty obligations under the travel contract may be required, irrespective of the question of fault, if travel services are cancelled due to circumstances,

  • the solely in the personal sphere of the traveler lie or
  • circumstances affecting the travel service to the Risk of daily life of the traveler belong.

In such cases, in the opinion of the AG the Attribution the contractual obligations of the tour operator interrupted his.

Quarantine order is outside the sphere of responsibility of the tour operator

According to the assessment of the AG, the order of quarantine by the local authorities against the plaintiff as a travel participant due to the infection of a fellow traveler with COVID-19 is such an event, which is not to be attributed to the sphere of responsibility of the tour operator. The order of quarantine against the plaintiff represents a Characterization of the general risk of life in the context of the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic dar.

Even if the trip had not been made, the plaintiff would have been exposed to this risk both at home and in almost any other place in the world. The Quarantine be therefore Not a consequence of a travel-specific risk. The tour operator could have continued to provide the travel services without any defects, and the plaintiff was only prevented from using these services due to an official order.

No breach of duty of the tour operator recognizable

In reaching its decision, the AG also took into account the fact that at the time the trip began, there was no travel warning issued by the RKI or. of the Foreign Office for Cyprus had existed. The defendant had no reason to assume that the COVID-19 virus was particularly widespread at the travel location or among the fellow travelers. The quarantine order had been issued on the basis of a by the tour operator not foreseeable infection of a fellow traveler ordered. Defendant had therefore not breached any duty of care or duty to inform the Plaintiff.

Action for repayment of the travel price dismissed

As a result, the AG has therefore dismissed the claim for repayment of the travel price.

(AG Munich, judgment v. 16.12.2021, 172 C 23599/20)

Background:

In its reasons for the judgment, the AG referred to the case law of the BGH, according to which warranty claims of the traveler can be excluded if the traveler, outside of the use of travel services at the vacation destination, for example, has an accident, falls ill, becomes a victim of a crime and thus can no longer use travel services for reasons that are not attributable to the sphere of the tour operator (BGH, judgments v. 6.12.2016, X ZR 117/15 u. X ZR 118/15).

The price risk is borne by the tour operator

In the cited decisions, however, the BGH affirmed the warranty obligations of the tour operator because the travelers could not use the travel services as a result of a traffic accident during the transfer from the airport to the hotel owed by the tour operator – i.e. within the scope of a travel service owed. After the judgements of the BGH the tour operator carries in this respect the price risk, thus the risk that the contractually agreed upon travel success is thwarted by circumstances, which are to be added neither to the organizer nor the traveler. According to these decisions, however, the organizer is not liable for circumstances that to be attributed to the sphere of the traveler as a consequence of the general risk of life are.

AG Cologne judged consumer-friendly

Based on these BGH decisions, the AG Cologne affirmed a claim of the travelers for reduction of the travel price in the case of corona-related restrictions of a ship voyage due to pandemic-related cancelled shore excursions and route changes. According to the reasons for the judgment of the AG Cologne, the Liability for travel defects in the case of package tours is structured as liability for success. The tour operator bears full responsibility for the success of the agreed travel services. The AG Cologne thus sets a significantly different tone than the AG Munich (AG Cologne, ruling v. 13.9.2021, 133 C 611/20).

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