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Class action for ruined holiday

The first class action claiming damages for ruined holidays, which was brought before the Twelfth Civil Section of the Court of Naples, has been successful.

The case. The holiday package that had been booked by the plaintiffs included a stay in a 4-star hotel at a resort in Zanzibar during the 2009 Christmas-New Year holiday season.

Unfortunately, because of the failure to complete the construction of the hotel, the tourists were transferred, for a few days, to a qualitatively lower level of accommodation and service compared with the hotel which had been booked when the holiday package was purchased.

This difference emerged from the brochures of the hotels in question, which showed how the second hotel did not have any spa, mini bar, telephone, LCD television, WIFI connection, etc..

In addition, even when the tourists were transferred back to the original hotel, they still  encountered problems: The hotel was, in fact, still under construction, so that not only the Spa, but also related services such as the gym and the swimming pool were not yet finished (the beach behind the hotel was also completely invaded by algae, as well as not being regularly cleaned and not being equipped with sunbeds, umbrellas, showers and so on).

The judgment. The Court of Naples held that there is no doubt that the circumstances in question were likely to reduce appreciably the utility that could be drawn from staying in the hotel resort in question, so that they constituted a breach of contract by the seller of the hotel package and organizer.

In order to be exempted from liability, the tour operator should have proved that the failure to provide the promised services was fortuitous, was the sole responsibility of the plaintiffs or was attributable to third parties (none of these exemptions had, however, been proved).

The Court awarded damages to the plaintiffs for their ruined holiday, consisting in the distress and affliction suffered by the latter who were not able to fully enjoy the holiday as an opportunity for recreation and rest.

Damages amounting to € 1,300.00 were awarded to the tourists (the Court rejected the claims of those tourists who had been moved to another hotel whose inferior quality had not been proven).

This judgment is important because, for the first time, a class action for ruined holidays has been successful.

So-called Italian-style class action would seem to be applicable to those cases in which there is an identity of rights between the plaintiffs bringing such class action (following the reform of 2012, the identity of rights has become homogeneity of rights, thus opening up more and more opportunities for consumers to obtain collective redress in the event of suffering serial damages).

L'immagine del post è stata realizzata da Ymon, rilasciata con licenza cc.


This post is also available in: Italian

Daniele Costa

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