Due to the difficulties for consumers to be reimbursed for services canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic, the Tourism ombudsman received 18,332 mediation requests in 2020, twice as many as in 2019, according to a report. made public this Tuesday.
With this 111% jump, the organization recorded the highest number of annual referrals since the creation of the Tourism and Travel Mediation (MTV) in 2012.
Travel Purchased Online and Airline Tickets
64.59% of the cases concerned disputes related to the Covid epidemic: cancellations invoking extraordinary circumstances, repatriations during the stay, requests for reimbursement of assets, etc. Most of the requests relate to a service purchased online (75.19%) and a plane ticket (62.69%). The year 2020, marked by the impact of the Covid, highlighted the difficulties of applying certain unsuitable legal standards, underlines the report.
“The judge must provide clarity, but since the start of the pandemic we still have no case law to enlighten us. The judge not having yet seized, we had to be the first to innovate in our recommendations ”, underlines the mediator Jean-Pierre Teyssier, quoted in the report. MTV looked in particular at article L211-14 of the Tourism Code which allows free cancellation by the traveler “if exceptional and unavoidable circumstances, occurring at the place of destination or in the immediate vicinity thereof, have significant consequences on the performance of the contract or on the transport of passengers to the place of destination ”.
Disputes regarding tolls and sports halls
The health crisis due to the Covid-19 epidemic highlighted the fact that this text, if it could apply to situations of a limited duration and which ended at the time of the cancellation request ( ex: attack), was absolutely not suitable for events that last over time and whose effects on the trip are uncertain on the day of the cancellation request, underlines the report. As part of his recommendations, the Mediator proposed to the parties to accept fairness for disputes relating to flight cancellations, in order to take into account the unprecedented circumstances due to the pandemic.
Since 2012, any consumer having a dispute concerning a service or a tourist package with a travel agency, a tour operator or an airline, can seize this mediator. This year, its skills have been extended to new sectors such as motorway tolls and sports halls. More than 100,000 professionals have joined the system, most often through their professional organizations.