Participants of X-Jam graduation trips run by the tour operator DocLX can now claim money back. The Chamber of Labor went to court over some fees and additional wages and won. It is also about the fact that withdrawals in exceptional circumstances were not only not made possible free of charge, but were not even pointed out.
According to the Chamber of Labor, DocLX has charged additional fees such as a “green contribution” for several years. This is said to have related to services that were supposed to have been included in the travel contract anyway. The consumer advocates were particularly annoyed that the free right of withdrawal in exceptional circumstances was not pointed out, but rather that cancellation fees of between 40 and 95 percent of the travel price were charged.
The consumer advocates of the Chamber of Labor describe some of the additional fees collected by DocLX as “pulled out of thin air”. The following examples are given: “Green contribution” of 10 euros, “Peak week surcharge” of 39 euros and a few others. The Chamber of Labor has been suing the tour operator for a long time, so the case ended up in the Supreme Court. This overturned the additional fees.
The “green contribution” charged represents compensation for a service that is usually fulfilled with the contract anyway, for example waste disposal in the hotel. The “peak week surcharge” is an increased fee for a specific travel period - such a surcharge cannot be effectively agreed in the small print in the General Terms and Conditions (GTC).
Furthermore, the Austrian Supreme Court has collected a flat rate processing fee of 29 euros, which is due when a name change occurs. However, the OGH considered the fee of 29 euros to be inadmissible because there was no restriction on actual and reasonable costs. The cancellation fee clause was also affected. 40 to 95 percent of the travel price was earmarked here. According to the Chamber of Labor, however, there was no indication that free cancellation was possible in exceptional circumstances under the Package Travel Act. Travelers can withdraw from the package travel contract free of charge if unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances arise at the vacation destination or in its immediate vicinity, so that the package tour cannot take place or the implementation of the trip is significantly impaired. According to the Chamber of Labor, DocLX is said to have collected cancellation fees of between 300 and 400 euros per person.
Those affected can now claim back the fees and charges that the Supreme Court has ruled were wrongly paid. This also applies retroactively over several years, because the filing of the so-called collective action by the Chamber of Labor suspended the statute of limitations of three years. The Chamber of Labor has provided a sample letter for this purpose. This can be found under this link directly from the AK.