Consumer rights and business owners’ rights – travelling, events, gift cards, tickets etc

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If the airline cancels the flight, the passenger has the right to a refund (if the flight departed from the EU or a third country, but the flight was operated by an EU carrier). In addition, the passenger is entitled to the assistance and support of the airline, such as providing food or accommodation if the person was not allowed to board the flight and is waiting for the first available replacement flight. It should be taken into account that the offering of a substitution route as soon as possible may not be objectively possible for the airline at the moment.

If a passenger chooses the refund of the ticket or another flight at a later date, then the airline is no longer obliged to provide food or accommodation.

We ask passengers to take into account that, at the moment, airlines face delays in responding to requests and claims. We ask the passengers for their understanding and patience! Further information on the rights of air passengers in the current situation can also be found in the overview published by the European Commission.

Last updated: 09.04.2020 22:56

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Please contact the agent who sold the tickets and accommodation

Another option is to contact the airline or the accommodation provider directly.

You should check whether you can cancel the booking and get a refund.

Please take into account that, due to the current situation, the response of the businesses may be delayed, so customers are asked for their patience and understanding.

Last updated: 18.05.2020 10:49

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The terms of the travel insurance depend on the details of the contract, such as which regions you are travelling to, for how long, and whether you have travel interruption insurance. If you have travel insurance you should contact the insurer to find out more exactly what is covered by the insurance and under what conditions.

Last updated: 31.03.2020 20:05

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When it comes to travel insurance, it is by nature a voluntary type of insurance. When a contract is signed, the insurer and the insured agree to the conditions (insurance events) for when the insurer has the obligation to perform, i.e. compensate the damages. That is why the insured is not entitled to compensation for any kinds of damages, but just the damages that the two sides have agreed to ahead of time. The insurer’s terms state, which cases are insurance events for the insurers and which are not. In addition, the insurance terms and conditions usually also list exceptions for situations, where an insurance event has happened, but it is caused by an exception stipulated in the conditions, and then the incurred damage is not subject to compensation.

The Estonian Association of Insurance Undertakings (Eesti Kindlustusseltside Liit) has developed good practices for travel insurance, and according to this document, insurers generally do not compensate damages caused by a pandemic/epidemic or by the activities of authorities. Here it does not matter whether the travel insurance was bought before the pandemic was declared or after. Whether your insurer compensates the damages that have incurred depends on that specific insurer. For example, some insurers have notified clients that they will compensate treatment costs, additional accommodation and transport costs related to being quarantined, etc.

Last updated: 09.04.2020 08:45

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This depends on your specific insurer and the terms of your contract. In general, however, insurers do not compensate costs if a person is already travelling in an area, where a quarantine is put into effect, causing the person to not be able to come home on time and incurring extra expenses for that traveller.

Last updated: 31.03.2020 20:07

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In order for an insurer to cover costs related to an unexpected illness, you have to have entered into a medical insurance agreement ahead of time. Generally, when you purchase travel insurance, it is a mandatory part of even entering into contract with them, meaning that without medical insurance you usually can’t even get travel insurance.

Insurance companies do cover treatment costs for any viral infections based on the medical insurance, since those kinds of illnesses are always unexpected, and in this context falling ill due to the coronavirus is also considered an insurance event. According to the medical insurance, costs related to treating the coronavirus illness are covered only as long as there is an epidemic declared in that area.

If a person decides to travel to an epidemic area and contracts the coronavirus disease, then the related treatment costs are no longer covered by medical insurance, because this case is considered to be one, where a person knowingly endangers themselves.

Last updated: 31.03.2020 21:42

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Many tour operators have now cancelled scheduled package travel in the near future, but the situation is rapidly changing. Circumstances change, and trips planned in a few months’ time or after half a year may take place. Therefore, it is not necessary to rush with cancellation of travel plan unless it is for immediate future. It is worth taking some time to calmly assess whether the cancellation is inevitable. If, however, the tour operator has not cancelled the trip planned for near future, it is good to know that the passenger has the right to terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package tour without paying the termination fee, if there are unavoidable and exceptional circumstances affecting the destination or its immediate vicinity which might impact the service provision or transportation of passengers.

Unavoidable and exceptional circumstances may include, for example, military activities, other serious security problems such as terrorism, significant risks to human health, such as the outbreak of a severe disease at the travel destination, or natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, or weather conditions that make it impossible to travel to the destination safely in the manner provided for in the package travel contract. The contract withdrawal application must be submitted to the tour operator before the start of the package tour. We encourage passengers to consider agreeing to flexible options of refund with travel operators. For example, reimbursement of advances may be replaced by a change of the trip to a later date or may be replaced by package travel gift cards that the passenger may use at his own discretion later.

Last updated: 31.03.2020 22:15

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Besides returning the paid ticket money, the event organiser can offer tickets to alternative events at a later time or gift cards. If the consumer is not happy with those choices, he or she has the right to get their money back. Since the number of cancelled events is so high, we recommend being patient when dealing with these issues.

Last updated: 31.03.2020 21:58

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A consumer has the right to get their money back for an advance payment. Also, it is possible to agree to postpone the booking to a later date.

Last updated: 31.03.2020 21:56

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Depends on the terms of a specific contract. For example, if you have agreed that during the contract period, the service provider will have to organise a certain number of training sessions or lessons, but you have not specified the exact dates, the solution may be that the service provider will provide the training sessions or lessons after the situation has normalised. However, if the agreement is such that a fixed number of training sessions or lessons must be provided every month, then the March-April-May training sessions or lessons may be postponed or the fee may be reduced by those training sessions or lessons that are not provided.

If a fee is charged for a service that can be offered in the form of distance learning, then a fee may be charged.

Last updated: 13.04.2020 23:06

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If your gift card or ticket expired in a situation, where it couldn’t be used due to a national emergency situation, then the consumer has the right to withdraw from the contract and get back the amount paid for the gift card or ticket. Therefore, we recommend turning to the merchant, who issued the gift card. It’s worth having a look at the merchant’s website, because at the moment many merchants have already posted the necessary information themselves.

Last updated: 24.05.2020 16:29

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If the trader offers an alternative use of the gift card, the consumer is not entitled to withdraw from the contract and to get a refund for the purchase of the card.

For example, if a person cannot use the gift card in a cinema but can use it at the trader's e-shop, then the customer is not entitled to withdraw from the contract (i.e. to demand refund).

Last updated: 08.04.2020 23:26

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It is a matter of agreement with the issuer of the gift card, many merchants offer that opportunity themselves. We recommend turning to the merchant that issued the gift card. In case of disputes, the consumer has recourse and access to legal remedies (demand performance of obligations, demand compensation for damages, etc.). These agreements should definitely be entered into in writing.

Last updated: 01.04.2020 14:16

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First, we recommend contacting the service provider. If the consumer has already paid an advance to the service provider and then wants to cancel the service, the service provider has the right to deduct the cost of services already rendered from the advance payment, but must return the rest of the sum to the consumer. However, if the consumer has not made an advance payment, yet wants to cancel the service, the service provider has the right to demand a reasonable compensation from the consumer for expenses already incurred. The burden of proving whether and which costs the service provider has already incurred is on the service provider.

Last updated: 01.04.2020 13:57

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Yes, you do. In consumer credit contracts, force majeure is not an impediment to fulfilling your financial obligations. If there are foreseeable losses in income, you should definitely get in touch with the service provider as soon as possible. For example, some banks offer grace periods.

Last updated: 01.04.2020 13:57

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We advise contacting the trader by e-mail. The complaint should include the consumer’s first and last name, when the goods were purchased, which unconformities were detected, and what is the consumer’s claim. In the letter sent to the trader, the consumer should also note that the goods will be returned to the trader as soon as possible, i.e. make sure that an arrangement has been reached between the parties.

Last updated: 25.05.2020 14:54

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The consumer must have the opportunity to pay in cash as well. Generally, the self-service checkouts also have a service representative nearby, who helps and teaches the buyer how to use the self-service checkout.

Last updated: 24.05.2020 21:19

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Yes, in exceptional circumstances, the company has the right to refuse. During the emergency situation restrictions were in force regarding coming into contact with other persons, therefore the traders´ refusal was understandable.

If the washing machine breaks within 2 years of the purchase, the seller is responsible for non-conformity with the sales contract, and the consumer is entitled to require the repair of the product at that time.

Under normal conditions, the sales contract would have been considered substantially infringed, including when the seller refuses to repair or replace the product without a due reason, or does not do it within a reasonable time period after they had been notified of the non-compliance with the terms of the contract. Same applies to creating unjustified discomfort for the buyer when repairing or replacing the product.

If an seller refuses to repair the washing machine without a reasonable cause, or causes unreasonable discomfort for the buyer by not repairing the washing machine, then it would constitute a significant infringement of the sales contract which gives raises for the buyer to withdraw from the contract. In other words, the consumer can return the product and get a refund.

However, the seller is responsible for the infringement of the obligation, except when the infringement is justified. The infringement of the obligation is justified if the infringement was caused by force majeure. Force majeure is an event that an economic operator could not influence and, on the basis of the principle of reasonableness, this event could not have been taken into account, nor it could have been expected that they could have been aware of it when concluding a contract or a non-contractual obligation, they could not take it into account to do anything to prevent or avoid the situation from arising.

At the time, when the emergency situation had been established, and the government had requested everybody to stay at home and avoid contacts with other people in public places, then this condition could be extended to visiting the home of another person. The trader could not influence the establishment of the emergency situation or restrictions and, on the basis of the principle of reasonableness, it could not expected the company to take into account the restrictions due to the emergency at the time of the conclusion of the contract.

Therefore, if the seller refused to repair the washing machine at the client´s home due to the emergency situation and the resulting restrictions, including the aim of protecting their own health, this is justified due to force majeure.

So the answer is yes, the seller did have the right to refuse to provide the service even if the customer has a right to use the warranty or a lodge a claim, and also due to the related cause, e.g. fear of the virus. Hopefully, the customer can reach a compromise with the trader now, as the emergency situation is over, they can find a mutual satisfactory outcome.

Last updated: 25.05.2020 14:55

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Generally, the performance of a contract is obligatory for the parties. The rules of the contract law, including the obligations regarding the performance of contracts still apply in an emergency situation. The Emergency Act does not allow the state to interfere with private law contracts (e.g. to extend payment deadlines etc.). At the same time, the contract law regulations in force also provide special rules for situations where the performance of a contract is hindered due to force majeure or where the circumstances on the basis of which the contract was concluded or the ratio of the obligations of the contract parties has changed significantly. For more specific information, see the web page of the Ministry of Justice.

Last updated: 08.04.2020 17:49

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The general principle is that the state compensates for unlawful damages, for lawful damages as an exception only if the unfairness to a company is obvious. In an emergency situation, the public and private sectors have a solidary liability. This means that the private sector tolerates legal restrictions that have been imposed on it for the good of the society and to protect the life and health of a big proportion of the population. To understand what preconditions need to be met for the damages to be compensated and by what time the entrepreneur should act, read more on the web page.

Last updated: 05.04.2020 14:19

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No. A certificate that is supposed to confirm the virus-free status of the product is not justified, as there is no evidence that foods could endanger human health due to the virus. Any requirements to ensure such a certificate are therefore disproportionate and therefore not acceptable.

Last updated: 02.05.2020 13:45

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).