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Tourists demand 500 thousand rubles from the tour operator for broken umbrellas on the beach

The Penza regional court decided to collect 500 thousand rubles from the tour operator. in favor of tourists who felt that their holiday in Cuba was ruined.

The clients are going to receive half a million rubles, which includes damages, penalties, fines and compensation for moral damages, not because a “bad” tour operator checked them into a room infested with cockroaches, but instead of the promised buffet they were fed shortbread every day. Vacationers experienced suffering, estimated at a round sum, due to the fact that on the beach there was, in their personal opinion, an insufficient number of sun umbrellas.

The story that became the reason for the legal battle began in July 2023, when a married couple from Penza, along with their three children, decided to vacation in Cuba. They purchased a package tour to a 5-star hotel for 930 thousand rubles. and flew to Freedom Island.

Having settled in, the tourists went to the beach, where they counted fifty wooden umbrellas, and some of them had no reed cover. There were not enough shelters from the tropical sun for all the vacationers, so the Penza residents, according to them, were afraid of possible burns.

“As a result, the plaintiffs checked out of the hotel and, using their own funds, continued their vacation in another place. In response to their claims, the tour operator transferred part of the funds – more than 190 thousand rubles,” the press service of the Penza District Court reported.

Having returned home, the tourists decided that this money was not enough for them, after which they filed a lawsuit, demanding to recover from the tour operator “losses associated with paying the cost of living in another hotel, a penalty, as well as compensation for moral damage.”

The Leninsky District Court of Penza, having familiarized itself with the case materials, rejected the claim of the offended tourists. This did not cool their ardor, and the tourists filed an appeal with the regional court, which ultimately sided with them. As one of the arguments in favor of adopting such a verdict, the court cited photographs of broken umbrellas and sun loungers presented by the plaintiffs.

But, as it turned out, the defendant has absolutely nothing to do with the beach equipment. The beach “only” with 50 umbrellas does not belong to the hotel, where tourists paid for their stay. All beach areas in Cuba, with the exception of isolated cases, are municipal – this information can be found on the Internet in a couple of minutes. Anyone can relax on the beach absolutely free of charge and use the equipment, not just guests of a nearby hotel complex. Even if local authorities install a couple of hundred umbrellas, there may still not be enough of them, especially if the place is popular with holidaymakers.

Consequently, hotel owners, and especially the tour operators with whom they cooperate, have nothing to do with the operation of beach equipment. In such a situation, it is more logical to sue the Cuban municipality, but here there is clearly no chance of profit. It is much easier to obtain it after applying to a regional court, where they usually do not delve too deeply into industry specifics and take the side of the average consumer.

As a result, the tourists were able to convince the Penza court of second instance that they were not informed in advance about the number and condition of sun loungers and umbrellas, although they admitted that the description of the hotel provided by the tour operator indicated that the beach nearby was municipally owned.

“By virtue of Art. 6 Federal Law No. 132-FZ “On the Fundamentals of Tourism Activities in the Russian Federation,” a tourist has the right to compensation for losses and compensation for moral damages in the event of failure to comply with the terms of the agreement on the sale of a tourism product by a tour operator or travel agent,” says the materials of the Penza court.

The editors of TourDom.ru invited representatives of Biblio-Globus Touroperator LLC to comment on the court verdict.

“In this case, it should be noted that the recovery was made by the appellate court. The judicial act has not been prepared in full, and therefore it is not possible to give any comments on the merits at the moment,” the company’s lawyers said. – The tour operator knows one thing for sure: all obligations to tourists were fulfilled, and the services provided were of adequate quality. Moreover, the plaintiff, arguing that the presented hotel does not correspond to the 5* category, refers exclusively to the regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation, which in this case are not applicable. Information that the area on the shore is municipally owned is posted on our website, therefore, there is no reason to assert that in this situation the hotel and tour operator are responsible for the equipment of the beach.”

In conclusion, representatives of the tour operator noted that the company will appeal the court decision, and they really hope that higher courts will give a proper assessment of the arguments presented.

According to experts, the described case can be attributed to a manifestation of consumer extremism, when travelers profit from travel agencies and tour operators. Someone turns out to be dissatisfied with the hotel, someone with the excursions, there are also subjective expectations that are not always met, but some cunning tourists try to extract money from the travel company through the courts. Usually we are talking about several tens of thousands of rubles. Here tourists, having received almost 200 thousand from the tour operator, are trying to get another half a million.

“Fortunately, there are few cases where huge amounts of money are recovered from tourists for minor shortcomings. In most cases, the amount of the penalty is commensurate with the “suffering” of tourists. That is, the decision of the Penza District Court attracts attention rather than being an ordinary case. Actually, the “refusal” decision of the court of first instance confirms this. But something went wrong in the appeal,” said Alexander Bayborodin, director of the company “Lawyers for the tourism business “Bayborodin and Partners”, in a conversation with a journalist from TourDom.ru.” – According to Art. 67 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation, the court evaluates evidence according to its internal conviction. That is, it is the “conviction” of a particular judge that is decisive in deciding whether the tour operator is right or guilty, and if guilty, then for what amount.”

As the lawyer emphasized, there is no pre-determined method at the legal level for assessing the “losses” or “suffering” of tourists in rubles today.

“However, if you look at some established “standards” of moral damage for other categories of cases (half a million for a year in prison, when a person was imprisoned by mistake, or 50 thousand for a broken leg due to the fault of public utilities), it becomes clear that the recovery is about 500 thousand. rub. for the lack of umbrellas – this is some kind of obvious excess,” noted Alexander Bayborodin.

Source: Tourdom

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