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The works council as an intermediary
The works council through which a trip has been organized with a tour operator is not itself a travel agency. Consequently, he is not subject to the same obligations as the latter. This was ruled by the Court of Cassation in a judgment rendered on February 19, 2013 .
An employee had booked a trip to South America with his works council, including a visit to a well-known site. After learning that the site had been closed due to heavy rain, he canceled his trip and asked the works council to refund the deposit paid.
The local judge had ordered the works council to reimburse the employee for the deposit paid, on the grounds that it had not informed him in writing of the closure of the site and the possibility of renouncing the trip.
The judgment was canceled by the Court, according to which the works council, not being the organizer of the trip, could not be considered as a travel agency but only as a simple intermediary.
Obligations of travel agencies and works councils
Travel agencies and works councils have different obligations with regard to the organization of travel. Travel agencies, as defined by the Tourism Code, are required to promptly inform buyers of any unforeseen event that could call into question essential elements of the trip before departure. They must offer options for terminating or modifying the contract. On the other hand, works councils, as intermediaries, are not subject to the same obligations as travel agencies. They are not required to provide written notices of unforeseen events or offer the same contract termination options. The Court of Cassation clarified this distinction,
Reminder: the Tourism Code obliges the seller or the travel organizer to alert the buyer as soon as possible if an unforeseen event calls into question an essential element of the trip before departure. He must also inform him of his possibility of terminating the contract or accepting the proposed modification. If he chooses to terminate the contract, the buyer is entitled, without incurring penalties or costs, to reimbursement of all sums paid.