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Damages from a ruined holiday

Recently updated on 14 Jun 2021

26 Nov 2019 - Personal Injury - Min Read 5 min
Damages from a ruined holiday

There are many situations that can compromise the joy of a holiday, and oftentimes the effects are so serious that one’s future quality of life is impacted. This is why seeking fair compensation immediately is key.

On vacation, as in all situations, the unexpected may be just around the corner: a flight delay or cancellation, lost luggage, a dream hotel which turns out to be a nightmare, or more serious, physical or psychological harm as a result of a traumatic experience… these instances and many others can result in “ruined holiday damages” and, if pursued, may lead to recognition of compensation.

When we flip through a brochure in a travel agency, it can be the deciding factor when planning the ideal vacation. And as we plan our voyage around the idyllic pictures and promises that the tour company assures, they become obliged to adhere to these promises made via advertising.

And if the tour company does not adhere to these promises, the tourist has the right to be compensated.

 “Ruined holiday damages” according to the law

As of the 21st of June 2011, the Tourism Code entered into force in Italy. The Code recognizes the opportunity for tourists to claim compensation for moral injury caused by a ruined holiday.

In the event that the tour operators cause the damage, and therefore the problem is due to the organization of the trip purchased, the customer can terminate the contract and claim compensation for “unnecessarily elapsed vacation time” and/or for “the unrepeatability of the lost opportunity“.

An example of a unique vacation could be, for example, for a Honeymoon – a perfect example of the definition of an experience of “unrepeatability of a lost oppurtunity”.

The Tourism Code has introduced mediation services in order to resolve disputes over tourist services, which are to be carried out through a lawyer before appearing in court.

What events can be compensated?

In order to claim compensation for “damages from a ruined holiday“, it is necessary to prove that the negative event was a direct consequence of a breach of contract or that it was a discordance between the tourist package chosen and the one that was presented.

Such a discordance can be due to missing/altered services or facilities, alongside innumerable other possibilities. Such discordances are even more traumatic when the tourist travels to distant destinations, as they are completely reliant on the travel agency or tour operator.

Often one only discovers on the spot that the much vaunted swimming pool is closed for renovation, or that the room advertised as large and climate-controlled is in fact small and without air conditioning, or that the “quiet, tranquil suite” is penetrated by noise roaring from the street.

Obviously, the greater the discrepancy, the greater the possibility of obtaining compensation.

Aside from the disappointment that the ruined holiday causes, often to remedy the unexpected circumstances, the traveler must take from his own pocket for the unexpected expenses.

Such financial losses are easily documented. Needless to say, in these cases every single receipt must be kept.

If a flight is cancelled or if a leg of the journey is skipped, if in the hotels they claim to have paid costs not budgeted at the time of booking or if the hotel is run down and you have to pay for alternative accommodations, there is no way to quantify the expense and ask for the extra money paid back.

Not only should these damages be taken into consideration, but also “non-capital” damages that involve physical and/or psychological consequences, due to a vacation that did not go as it should have.

Reimbursement must compensate for both types of damage, as a holiday is considered a right and the stress caused to a traveler can have a cost for those who should help holidaymakers enjoy their holidays, not hinder them.

The right to rest and vacation is also enshrined in the Italian Constitution, as seen in article 36: “The worker has the right to weekly rest and paid annual leave and cannot renounce it”.

Reimbursement for a ruined vacation

It will be left to the discretion of the judge to set a price to offset the dissatisfaction of those who see their vacation ruined, based on the severity of the damage suffered.

A ruined holiday results in existential damage from the moment that the well-being and quality of life impacts the effect of a good holiday.

You are entitled to a refund:

  • If the accommodations to which you arrive differ from what was advertised.
  • If you are projected into stressful circumstances where things do not work as they should.
  • If you do not immediately have your baggage available due to a delay, damage or misplacement.
  • If you are unable to board due to a delay, a cancellation or overbooking.

The complaint must be submitted as soon as possible to the agent or company who organized the trip.

All unexpected events must be indicated, for which compensation is requested and unforeseen expenses for which a refund is requested.

The complaint must be accompanied by all possible documentation proving the inconvenience: photos, receipts, tickets, e-mail, etc.

The speed of the presentation will affect the speed of reimbursement.

The claimant should be aware that, by law, there is a limit of three years to present a case for reimbursement, and two years for “lack of conformity” or to request a price reduction as a result of inefficiencies (article 43 of the Tourism Code).

Accidents at sea

Transport at sea and passengers’ rights are governed by Regulation No. 392 of 2009 of the European Parliament, implemented in Italy on the 31st of December 2012.

Whether it is a cruise, a short or long sailing, or if the accidents take place in Europe or on international waters but on a ship flying the flag of a European country, it is possible to apply Regulation No. 392.

The regulation refers specifically to passengers and their belongings, in the event of accidents at sea (collisions, fires, shipwrecks, etc.).

In the event that the passenger suffers physical injury or, in the worst case, dies, the liability is attributable to the carrier unless the circumstances are exceptional and unavoidable, such as a tsunami or other such events.

There is the possibility for a passenger or their relative to request an advance from the carrier to deal with the difficulties arising due to the accident.

In the event of an interrupted cruise, the mere reimbursement of the ticket alone cannot compensate the emotional damage suffered.

If you feel that your holiday has been ruined and you want to claim the right to compensation, do not hesitate to contact the expert lawyers of the Boccadutri Law Firm here.

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Calogero Boccadutri

Calogero Boccadutri is the Managing Partner of Boccadutri International Law Firm. He has trial experience in Forex, Personal Injury and Administrative litigation.

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