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BBT refund policy violates European Parliament Directive on Travel Packages

24 Mar 2020


I am awaiting notice from BBT that my scheduled May cycling cruise is cancelled. According to the Dutch government’s additional measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak (March 23), tighter restrictions will make it impossible for BBT to satisfy my traveler package contract. The General Traveller Terms for Package Travel Arrangements of Boat Bike Tours B.V is governed by Directive (EU) 2015/2302 wherein: “…if the organizer (i.e. Boat Bike Tours) cancels the sale before the start of a customer’s travel package, as a traveller, you are entitled to a full refund of any payments made. The Directive continues stating that if the cancellation by the organiser (i.e. Boat Bike Tours) is due to exceptional circumstances (One Directive example used – “significant risk to human health such as an outbreak of a serious disease at the travel destination…”) you are entitled to a full refund of any payments you’ve made but you are not entitled to additional compensation. BBT’s current refund policy is to charge at least 40% of the original travel sum as cancellation costs. This is clearly a violation of law! I have used BBT many times in the past to great satisfaction. This is indeed a time of exceptional circumstance! However, it can’t be a time to violate the law.

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 1 Apr 2020

Dear mr. Cool, We are sorry to read that you feel like Boat Bike Tours is or was violating the law. We would like to explain our policy, because it has changed from the version you are referring to. We now offer all of our travelers of whom we have had to cancel their tour, because of the Corona outbreak a voucher, that is valid for 365 days, guaranteed by the Dutch Travel Refund Guarantee Fund (SGR) and has the value of 100% of your deposit (no cancellation fee deducted). You (and your fellow travelers) can use this voucher to book any tour in 2020 or 2021. Many or most of our colleagues in the travel industry are offering the same. In this way we try to ensure that we can continue to offer and carry out our trips in the future. I understand that you have had personal contact with one (or more) of my colleagues - who are all working very hard at home at the moment - and that you have come to an agreement. We find it very regrettable that many people are so dissatisfied with the way things are going, but for us as a provider of tours it is hugely painful to have to cancel trips instead of offering people an unforgettable holiday. We hope to welcome you aboard in the future. Best regards, Laurens Winkel Director/owner

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