En 2020, tourism and travel mediation (MTV) was taken by storm by consumers having a dispute with an airline or a travel agency: it was seized 18,332 times, against 8,667 in 2019, recently announced the mediator, Jean-Pierre Teyssier. This doubling is of course linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to a justice reform which imposes an attempt at conciliation, before referral to the judge, for disputes below 5,000 euros.
The mediator is not a judge: he does not render decisions. It makes recommendations, which traders and consumers are free to accept or not – MTV is pleased that its 5,728 opinions issued in 2020 have been the subject of a review. “96% acceptance rate”. Unlike the judge, the mediator can rule out the application of a law when he considers that it would generate injustice for the weaker contracting party: he “ statue “ so “In equity “, and no ” in law “.
In the disputes related to flight cancellations that occurred between March and May 2020, Mr. Teyssier considered that the weaker party was the airline, “Threatened with bankruptcy”, due to the closure of borders and “Almost complete shutdown” of its activity. When passengers asked him for the reimbursement of their tickets, he ruled out the application of the European regulation which imposes this reimbursement in cash. He advocated the attribution of a ” to have “, however “At least 10% “ more than the ticket.
Consumers in a weak position
The position of MTV has thus completely differed from that of an association like the UFC-Que Choisir qui assigned twenty companies so that they respect the rights of their clients. This position, specifies Mr. Teyssier, has however been abandoned. “After May 2020, when flights resumed” ; and that the European Commission has recalled than “Reimbursement in the form of a voucher is only possible with the agreement of the passenger”.
In addition, the mediator intervened in favor of certain travelers who had not had the right to go to the airport, while their flight was maintained. They should have lost the amount of their ticket. Indeed, customers who cannot benefit from a service paid in advance do not have the right to invoke “force majeure” to obtain the resolution of their contract and the restitution of the sums paid.
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