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Old 02.05.2016, 14:12
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Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

Hello, I have an awful experience with ab-in-den-urlaub.ch.

I was exploring the booking options, I've entered my travelling information & home address (which any neighbour could enter) and expected payment selection dialogue. Instead I've received confirmation of the booking. I've not intended to book the trip and was just exploring opportunity for a person from a different country. I wanted to send a final quote as the prices on that site usually jump-around after clicking-though.

It felt a bit like scam but I decided to be a good citizen and cancel trip immediately. Remember, I have not entered any payment info as I was not intended to buy anything. Hotline support was virtually non-existent. It is impossible to find a live human being on the other side. Phone calls are not replied, email are ignored. I again thought that the site is a fraud when finally I've received a very short email response for my cancelation request. And what do you guess? They want freaking 500 EUR for the cancelation.
ab-in-den-urlaub.de didn't brought to my attention in user interface _any_ cancelation fees in the 'booking' stage and now, after providing zero non-public information and trying to cancel booking ASAP I suddenly owe them 500 EUR.

Is it still legal?
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Old 02.05.2016, 14:25
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

Yes, before you can move forward you have to agree with their user agreement, and you need to select alternative payment. Here it is normal
to pay with Rechnung so doesn't means you don't have to pay.

But if you haven't used a confirmed email address to book, as you say anyone could have booked for you. Seems they don't require a confirmed email or account to book a travel
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Old 02.05.2016, 15:14
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

I note it is a German site. Therefore CH law probably doesn't apply.

EU law says that if you buy anything (goods or services) online, you've a 14 day right to cancel without justification.

Exceptions are plane ticket, hotel reservations. Perhaps also holiday bookings - depends on the law's wording.

Personally, I'd tell them to whistle for it, and only if they start proceedings would I take legal advice. Keep records of all communication, and get your story straight.
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Old 02.05.2016, 15:50
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

German site http://www.ab-in-den-urlaub.ch/service/impressum

Means before you can order anything there must be a button labelled "Kostenpflichtig bestellen" (or similiar text which makes clear you enter a contract and you will owe money)
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Old 02.05.2016, 16:52
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

I think it was Swiss version of the site, automatically redirected.
There was a big green button "Jetzt kaufen".
I don't know whether they have enough info to start proceeding. I want to talk to a free lawyer but there is no such person in my community (gemeinde).
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Old 02.05.2016, 17:06
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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I think it was Swiss version of the site, automatically redirected.
There was a big green button "Jetzt kaufen".
I don't know whether they have enough info to start proceeding. I want to talk to a free lawyer but there is no such person in my community (gemeinde).
Anyone can have a .ch domain, no matter where they live. The company that holds ab-in-den-urlaub.ch is:

Unister Travel Retail GmbH-Co.KG
Unister Travel Retail GmbH-Co.KG
Barfußgäßchen 12
DE-04109 Leipzig
Germany

There's no Unister Travel Retail registered as a Swiss company, It seems even more likely that any contract that might exist is under German law, so you'd need to talk to a lawyer in Germany.

Forget about getting legal advice at the moment. Write them an email or a letter telling them that

a) You do not consider that any contract was ever formed with them in the first place
b) Under German and EU law you have a fourteen day absolute right to cancel without reason, and without charge
c) Due to a) and b) you do not owe them any money, you will not be paying them, and that you consider the matter closed.

Send - then file under "forget about it"; ignore any further communication with them, unless/until something that is beyond a threatening letter appears.
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Old 02.05.2016, 17:09
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

But isn't it true that this 14 days rule doesn't apply to holiday bookings?
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Old 02.05.2016, 17:42
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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I think it was Swiss version of the site, automatically redirected.
There was a big green button "Jetzt kaufen".
I don't know whether they have enough info to start proceeding. I want to talk to a free lawyer but there is no such person in my community (gemeinde).

If you clicked on the green "Jetzt kaufen"-Button, you have won the big jackpot: A valid contract according to German law.
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Old 02.05.2016, 17:50
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

I just called them, they say that there is no free cancellation period and I have to pay this fee. And if I won't pay till 05.05 they will proceed this case to Swiss authority, my name and address is enough info to start it.
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:12
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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I just called them, they say that there is no free cancellation period and I have to pay this fee. And if I won't pay till 05.05 they will proceed this case to Swiss authority, my name and address is enough info to start it.
Here comes the bad news:

a) they are right according to German law (§ 312 g Abs. 2 Nr. 9 BGB)

b) Unister is infamous for making an effort to extract as much money out of a customer as possible

c) they are able to enforce into Switzerland once they have obtained the legal title in Germany - or they can sell this to some Swiss factoring company which will then will go the Swiss route directly

Lesson learnt: "Jetzt kaufen" means just that.
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:22
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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I just called them, they say that there is no free cancellation period and I have to pay this fee. And if I won't pay till 05.05 they will proceed this case to Swiss authority, my name and address is enough info to start it.
And you believe them? I did say "write" for a very good reason. Oh well.

Quote:
or they can sell this to some Swiss factoring company which will then will go the Swiss route directly
Hasn't it been established in this very forum that if a debt is sold on to a debt collection agency, it's not valid?
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:35
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

Looking at the German law, we have:

9. vorbehaltlich des Satzes 2 Verträge zur Erbringung von Dienstleistungen in den Bereichen Beherbergung zu anderen Zwecken als zu Wohnzwecken, Beförderung von Waren, Kraftfahrzeugvermietung, Lieferung von Speisen und Getränken sowie zur Erbringung weiterer Dienstleistungen im Zusammenhang mit Freizeitbetätigungen, wenn der Vertrag für die Erbringung einen spezifischen Termin oder Zeitraum vorsieht,
Which basically says, you don't have the right to withdraw when the contract is for services in the area of accommodation. But there's an exception.

Die Ausnahme nach Satz 1 Nummer 9 gilt nicht für Verträge über Reiseleistungen nach § 651a, wenn diese außerhalb von Geschäftsräumen geschlossen worden sind, es sei denn, die mündlichen Verhandlungen, auf denen der Vertragsschluss beruht, sind auf vorhergehende Bestellung des Verbrauchers geführt worden.
Which seems to indicate that since the negotiations didn't take place in business premises, the law does stand.

Ah - German legal language. Such fun.

For the OP, you've got a number of options
1. Write to them and tell them to get stuffed
2. Ignore them and only respond when something that's legal in Switzerland turns up
3. Contact a German lawyer and ask him to write to them
4. Pay up.
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:48
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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Hello, I have an awful experience with ab-in-den-urlaub.ch.

I was exploring the booking options, I've entered my travelling information & home address (which any neighbour could enter) and expected payment selection dialogue. Instead I've received confirmation of the booking.
I've just been through the process using dummy information, and immediately after pressing Jetzt Kaufen, I'm presented with a screen asking me how I want to pay - by invoice or credit card.

Strange website -I'm amazed anyone manages to book anything.
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:51
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

Really stupid and inadequate UI!
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:54
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

Why not take the holiday??
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Old 02.05.2016, 18:57
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

I had already booked the same hotel on the original hotel site.
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Old 02.05.2016, 19:04
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

Germany may be an exception. In 2015, a Frankfurt court ruled that an airline must prove an actual loss or refund a ticket that had already been paid for.

Perhaps someone with better legal German than me can take a look at the judgment (2nd one down)? There may be some comments that can be extrapolated to travel agents, or general distance selling.
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Old 02.05.2016, 19:05
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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Why not take the holiday??
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I had already booked the same hotel on the original hotel site.
So you were comparing prices, I suppose. No harm in that, but what did you think Jetzt Kaufen meant?
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Old 02.05.2016, 19:07
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

As I said I was exploring the booking options and tried to figure out whether I can book there for my family, who lives in other country.
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Old 02.05.2016, 19:13
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Re: Cancellation fee for travel booking with no payment info. Is it legal?

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As I said I was exploring the booking options and tried to figure out whether I can book there for my family, who lives in other country.
Why didn't you use a fake name and address like everyone else?

Tom
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