Story By: Pol F, Sub-Editor: Joe Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A travel agency has been ordered to pay EUR 5,313 (GBP 4,859) to a family who claimed their holiday was ruined by algae on the beach.
The travel agency had argued that it was an act of God and not foreseeable, but the court ruled that the family should have been warned that it was a risk.
The family, from the Basque country, in Northern Spain, travelled to the tourism and resort district of la Riviera Maya, in the state of Quintana Roo, in the municipality of Benito Juarez, located in the Eastern side of Mexico for the holiday.
But when they arrived, they found the beach covered in algae.
According to the court ruling, the couple and their son, “were not warned in advance of this setback despite the fact that it was already developing in the destination”, as reported by Spanish NIUS newspaper.
It also added that “they were not offered any alternative for rehousing, nor were the necessary beach cleaning operations carried out”.
Inaki Velasco, the lawyer who represented the family said: “The agency alleged that the algae invasion was a force majeure event that they could not prevent and that they did not know when it would occur.”
He added: “However, this is a recurring phenomenon in the area and they should have explained it to our clients when offering the package.”
The family claimed it had completely ruined the holiday however the judge decided that there was still some possibility to enjoy other facilities at the hotel.
The family’s lawyer admitted that the deal offered had been all-inclusive, but said that not being able to access the beach was a major loss for the holiday making family.
He adds that they “were able to enjoy the swimming pools, restaurants or other services for which there were compensated with 30 percent of what was paid”.
The agency was initially sentenced to compensate the family with EUR 2,613 (GBP 2386) for “defective performance of the contract.”
But the judge considered that there was moral damage because “in this type of trip, the frustration, even partial, of the expectations generates a psychological damage that has to be compensated”.
For this reason, each member of the family is compensated with an additional EUR 900 (GBP 816), reaching a total of EUR 5,313 (GBP 4859).
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