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April 3, 2020
CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS OF SERVICES :
SOLUTIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS

In the exceptional context of the spread of the covid-19 virus, many countries, including France, have adopted restrictive travel measures, leading to cancellations and reimbursements of services at the request of travelers or certain operators. As a result, there is a strong risk that these operators will experience a strain on their cash flow and subsequently fail. To this end, an ordinance "relating to the financial conditions of resolution of certain contracts for tourist travel and stays in the event of exceptional and unavoidable circumstances or force majeure" was issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, pursuant to Article 11 of Law No. 2020-290 of March 23, 2020 emergency to cope with the epidemic and in particular prevent and limit the cessation of economic activity.

This order modifies the obligations of professionals to allow them to offer their customers, for a strictly determined period and limited in time, a refund in the form of a proposal for an identical or equivalent service, or through a credit valid over a long period, 18 months, with the aim of balancing the support to the companies of the sector in this period of crisis with the respect of the right of consumers.
► These new terms and conditions apply to contract resolutions notified, either by the client or the professional or association, after March 1 and before September 15, 2020, inclusive.
► The contracts concerned:
- contracts for the sale of travel and stays,
- contracts for travel services: accommodation, car rental, any other tourist service that is not an integral part of a travel service (excluding the sale of transport tickets regulated by international law and European Union legislation on passenger rights)
► When such a credit note is offered, the customer may not request a refund of such payments during the validity period of the credit note.
► The professional or association, offering a credit note to the customer, must inform the customer in a durable medium (mail or email) no later than 30 days after the contract is resolved, or, if the contract was resolved before the effective date of the ordinance, no later than 30 days after that effective date. This information shall specify the amount of the credit note, as well as the time and duration requirements.
► The professional or association must offer a new service in order for their client to use the credit. This service is the subject of a contract meeting strictly defined conditions in relation to the service provided by the resolved contract:
- The service must be identical or equivalent
- The price of the service must not be higher unless it differs from the first service, in which case the price to be paid must take into account the credit. In concrete terms, this means
- in case of a service of higher quality and price: the payment by the client of an additional sum
- in case of a different service of a lower amount than the credit: the conservation of the balance of this credit, which can be used according to the terms of the ordinance, until the end of the validity period of the credit.

If the contract for the new service, for which the client has a credit note, is not concluded before the end of the 18-month period of validity, the professional or association shall proceed with the reimbursement to which he or she is obliged, i.e., all payments made under the cancelled contract or, where applicable, the balance of the remaining credit note.


Source : https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/ordonnance/2020/3/25/ECOC2008134R/jo/texte
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