- Professional News
- 20 November 2015
Judgment in leading case concerning travel portal's duty to compensate following airline bankruptcy
forward, companies brokering the products of others should have particular
focus as to whether they have made it sufficiently clear that they act only as
an intermediary, and according are not liable for the performance of contracts
brokered. This is the consequence of a leading case delivered by the High Court
of Eastern Denmark concerning the travel portal Goleif's duty to pay for a
consumer's replacement flight following the bankruptcy of airline Cimber
Sterling in May 2012.
In 2012, a
consumer bought flight tickets to Nice on the travel portal www.GoLeif.dk, which is owned by Den
Danske Rejsegruppe (the Danish Travel Group). The return flight was with Cimber
Sterling, which went bankrupt shortly prior to departure. GoLeif/Den Danske
Rejsegruppe ("GoLeif") subsequently refused to compensate the consumer
for the expenses for the return flight, stating that it was an intermediary
only of the flight tickets and that Cimber Sterling was the consumer's direct
Decision of the district court
2014, the district court found for GoLeif in its claim that Cimber Sterling was
the consumer's direct contracting party and that GoLeif was merely an
intermediary of the flight tickets. The district court found that it appeared
sufficiently clear that the agreement was not entered into with GoLeif but
rather directly with the airlines. In that connection, the district court
attached importance to the fact that in the footer of its website, in
connection with payment and in its conditions, GoLeif stated that the company
did not trade "in its own name".
Decision of the High Court
the district court, the High Court of Eastern Denmark found that based on an
overall assessment, the consumer could rightfully assume that the agreement had
been entered into directly with GoLeif and furthermore that it cannot be
assumed as generally known by consumers that travel portals are, as a main
rule, merely intermediaries for the airline companies.
things, the High Court put emphasis on the fact that even though it appeared
from the booking flow on the website and the travel conditions that GoLeif
acted as an intermediary and that GoLeif did not sell travels in its own name,
it could not be assumed that the ordinary consumer based on this information
alone could deduce the significance for the individual's legal position
vis-à-vis GoLeif. Given this, and based on an overall assessment of the website
www.GoLeif.dk, the High
Court found that the consumer was justified in assuming that the agreement on
the plane trip was entered into with GoLeif.
is of general public importance as it may affect 833 similar cases concerning
compensation with the Danish Consumer Complaints Board having awaited the
judgment of the High Court of Eastern Denmark. The Danish Consumer Ombudsman
Christina Toftegaard Nielsen says after the case: "The Court has now decided that GoLeif must compensate the consumer for
additional expenses for new flight tickets. It is a case of general public
importance, which may be of great significance for consumers who buy flight
tickets on similar travel portals."
consequence of the judgment, we recommend everyone carrying on activities
involving the brokering of products from other companies to consumers to consider
whether it appears sufficiently clearly on their online platform that the
business is merely an intermediary and as such is not liable for the provider's
non-performance of the agreement.
If you have any doubt as to whether your business complies with this,
you are, of course, welcome to contact us.