Potsdam (dpa / tmn) - The Bundestag has decided: Package holidaymakers can request their money back if their trip is canceled due to Corona. You do not have to accept a voucher from the tour operator;
The rule applies to bookings made before March 8th - shortly before the global stoppage of travel activities with closed borders worldwide and canceled flights.
What speaks against a voucher
First of all, there is an obvious reason: "The money has to be used for a new trip and is not available for something else in the short term," says Robert Bartel, legal expert at the Brandenburg Consumer Center. Finally, the travel price once paid is bound in the voucher. Anyone who does not want to travel extensively in the foreseeable future and in the coming year will definitely be better advised to make a repayment.
And what does it look like if you definitely want to make up for your vacation in 2021? Even then, the voucher may not be the best solution: «With the voucher I bind myself to the organizer and his offer. I am not free to change my mind, »says Bartel.
Specifically, this means that the organizer may no longer offer the originally planned trip in the same form in the coming year. Anyone who is now being reimbursed for the corona-related trip has a greater choice when making the next booking.
What a voucher speaks for
For economic reasons, the organizers want to issue as many vouchers as possible instead of making a repayment - and offer appropriate incentives. "A voucher can be interesting if I get a financial bonus," says Bartel. The value of the voucher or travel credit - the organizers use different terms - in this case is higher than the price of the trip that has been canceled.
Examples: Tui offers customers of canceled trips up to 150 euros extra travel credit if they opt for a credit instead of a refund. DER Touristik offers customers a discount of 50 euros on the next booking for the choice of voucher. FTI adds 200 euros for extra services at the travel destination if customers rebook at a later date. And the Aida Cruises shipping company offers a 10 percent bonus.
According to the organizers, the offers apply to all affected guests whose holidays could not take place due to the travel warnings - regardless of the time of booking. The vouchers are generally redeemable until the end of 2021.
"If you have confidence in the organizer because you've been with him many times, you can do it," says Bartel. Perhaps it was also a question of solidarity whether one wanted to support «his» organizer in a difficult time.
The German government issued a worldwide travel warning on March 17 because of the Corona crisis. In mid-June, the travel warning for most European countries was replaced by travel advice. Holidays in other European countries are possible again.
Coupons secured against bankruptcy
There is no longer any risk that a voucher will lose its value and the money will be gone if the organizer goes bankrupt. The federal government wants to protect the vouchers against bankruptcy.
And how are the vouchers accepted in practice? According to the German Travel Association (DRV), only 10 to 20 percent of consumers choose it. The majority insist on a refund of their money.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200702-99-652686 / 2