The urgency not having been established, there is therefore no reason to suspend the order of March 25, said the Council of State.
It’s a relief for industry pros, and a stroke of the sword by consumer associations : the Council of State rejected the appeal of UFC-Que Choisir and CLCV against the order authorizing tour operators to offer a credit, and not a refund, to customers whose stay was canceled because of the pandemic.
Grasped in summary proceedings on July 7, the judge held “without there being any need to examine the existence of a serious doubt as to the legality” of this order, that the “condition of urgency” was not “fulfilled”, and in consequence, dismissed the two associations, in an order dated July 17, made public Monday. In fact, the associations have brought “no precise information on the seriousness of the consequences that this device would entail for consumers whose interests they defend”: the urgency not having been established, there is therefore no reason to suspend the order. And a possible “breach” of European Union law relating to “package tours and related travel benefits” would also not constitute an emergency, the judge said.
Safeguard business cash
The Council of State also argues that “these measures were taken in order to safeguard the cash flow of service providers, in a context where more than 7,100 travel and stay operators registered in France, faced with a volume of cancellation of unprecedented scale and almost zero order intake, were in great difficulty. In addition, “the modalities of the adopted system were defined after discussions with the services of the European Commission, the main professional organizations and consumer associations”, he underlines.
Since March 25, the order issued by the government allows TOs and agencies to offer customers whose stay cannot be completed because of the Covid-19, a credit valid for 18 months. And this, while the law usually imposes a cash refund.
In early July, Brussels launched an infringement procedure against ten European Union countries, including France, to defend the right of travelers to be reimbursed in the event of cancellation of their stays due to the coronavirus . Source: AFP.