Tipping has to be a voluntary matter

Tipping has to be a voluntary matter

According to the District Court of Koblenz, the tour operator must not automatically debit the generally customary tip from the passengers' on-board account during a cruise. With the decision, the action brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations against a tour operator was justified.

With the judgment already passed on September 11, 2017 (Az: 15 O 36/17), the regional court rejected a business clause of the "Berge & Meer Touristik" from Rengsdorf in Rhineland-Palatinate. The consumer advocates considered the automatic debiting of the on-board accounts with tips to be inadmissible, since the clause goes beyond the main contractual service of the trip. It is inadmissible for cruise ship passengers to first have to be active in order to stop the debiting.

Cruise ships in front of Nea Kameni / Santorin

Cruise ships in front of Nea Kameni / Santorin


The district court in Koblenz followed this assessment. In addition to the main service, according to the law, a company can "only expressly" agree on a chargeable ancillary service. According to the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, this should be interpreted broadly. Therefore, the tip agreement must also be regarded as an "ancillary service". But she violates "this principle of expressiveness". The judges were not satisfied with the fact that the payment at the reception could be reduced, canceled or increased.

The verdict is not yet legally binding. Shipping companies such as AIDA or TUI Cruises, who refrain from “compulsory” tips, can lean back. It remains to be seen whether more clarity and truth will find its way into the pricing of cruise companies in the future. The international Norwegian Cruise Line shows how it's done. The company has long waived compulsory tips in the German-speaking market. Instead, it shows “real” travel prices.

 

 

 

 

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