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Holidays are loved by everyone. It is the time when people relax for sometime from the tedious schedule of daily life and enjoy the time. Today there is a culture of holiday packages in which people hire the agents to pre book their arrangement for the tour by making it more convenient and special for their clients. This holiday package consist of every minute detail necessary for the tourist like accommodation, transport, meals and various other services. In this paper, we will concentrate on the holiday package of Thomas Cook “South African Royale (winter)”. Our main focus will be on the legal consequences which may arise if the holiday package is not minutely observed before printing the brochure that should be keep in mind by the organization.
The key information about the holiday as set out in brochure
As discussed above, the tour package is taken from Thomas Cook having the name “South African Royale (winter)”. If we talk about the key information this brochure contains than firstly, the name of the brochure. The name says its validity, which says that this brochure is valid only for the winter season which means it cannot be opted out for summer season. Secondly, the brochure displays the time period of the tour which is for 09 nights and 10 days consisting of 03 nights stay in Cape Town, 02 nights stay Knysna, 02 nights in Kwantu Private Reserve, 01 night in Sun City and 01 night in Johannesburg. Thirdly, the brochure shows the itinerary information which displays the tours or places or monuments the guest will be considering at each city at the time of their stay. Like in this brochure itinerary shows complete details from day 1 to day 10 the guest will be doing throughout the day. In short it contains the daily schedule of the guest. The package also includes every minute detail like the name of the hotels in which the guest will go to stay in every city they cover. Rest of the key information that can be extracted from the package are airfares or flight inclusions, services of guide, transport services, entrance fees of different monuments and price of the package with the various terms and conditions, different policies like cancellation policy, visa policy, medical and insurance claims.
Critically analyze the package using the principles of contract law found in case law and categorize the statements into representations, terms, conditions and warranties
Based on the contract law, the agreement is prepared between two or more parties to accomplish the task now or in the future but under certain terms and conditions imposed by the law which is compulsory to follow. In the contract law, the travel agent through which the package has been booked and the customer has to sign the bilateral contract when agent assures the customer to provide the services given in the package on a mutually agree amount with certain terms and conditions (Khoury & Yamouni 2006). There are certain terms and conditions discussed below which is necessary to be followed by both travel agent and customers:
- Price Exclusions: The term explains about the things that are excluded in the package like expenditure of personal nature as telephone, internet at hotels, tips, extra services porter age etc
- Price Inclusions: The term explain about the things that are included in the package such as transportation, guide services, hotels, entrance fees, train fares, meals, airfares etc.
- Validity: This point clearly explains the duration or the time limit of the contract. It includes that in the given time limit there will be no alteration in the prices of tour packages. The prices will remain the same throughout the given time period.
- Insurance: If the customer is travelling overseas then the customer need to have the insurance full risk covers over their trip i.e. if any mis-happening occurs during the trip it would be paid by the insurance company.
- Visas: In general many of the packages terms and conditions do not include the visa fees for that they mention to be charge extra fees other than the package cost.
- Alternate arrangements: In this clause if some of the hotels are waitlisted or some other rooms are booked other than the base rooms then there will be extra charges which is to be payable by the customer extra at the time of booking.
- Airport taxes: In general this tax component is also not part of the package cost and is extra other than the package cost which is hidden and have been told to the guests only once the package is been finalized by the guests.
- Medical claim policies: If the customer is travelling overseas and while travelling suffers from any of the illness the medical insurance company will be liable to the charge. This cost is also generally not included in the packages and are hidden and advised to the customers only at the time of booking the package.
Analyze and identify any material in the brochure which is potentially; •unconscionable •misleading or deceptive •false representation •bait advertising •offers gifts or prizes
There can be multiple disadvantages regarding the availability of the brochure. After clearly examining the brochure of Thomas Cook, it can be concluded that there are certain disadvantages on the basis of unconscionable, false representation, deceptive or misleading, bait advertising and offers, prizes or gifts. The brochure does not contain the proper schedule which can describe the places to be visited. It just gives the overview not detailed information. If the time and detailed description is given than the client can get the proper picture of the trip in his mind. He will be able to understand about the time that will be invested by him every day in visiting the places. This brochure has the drawback that it does not include information regarding the timing of the trip.
Another drawback which I encountered is that the hidden prices charged by the company which should be included in the brochure so that the client gets prepared about the amount he will be spending in his trip. Most of the companies write the price on their brochure very less but the actual price they charge is very high. So there should be transparency in the prices and taxes charged. This will help the customer in arranging the capital so that he can easily invest the money by obtaining the best outcome. Next problem encountered by me is that the brochure does not contain any detail regarding the company’s USPs and the discounts. This takes lot of time to the customer to study every minute detail of the brochure before confirming it.
I have also noticed that sometimes the travel company or agent cheat their employees by giving them less costly accommodation and services than they demanded for. As an example we can say that the client demands for the arrangement in 4-star hotel including meals and a big spacious car for transportation and he is also charged according to these services. But at the time of his holiday, he finds that he has been provided the accommodation in a 3-star hotel and a small car for transportation. So it the duty of the company to provide their clients the services they are being charged for.
For marketing instead of typing long mails, a catchy and a smart advertisement can draw clients towards the company. A complete brochure will enhance the goodwill of the company and large number of clients will be attracted towards them. (Dr.Robert N Moles)
Examine the brochure and identify any exclusion or limitation clauses and explain using the principles of contract law whether the clauses would be valid.
After carefully reading the brochure I can say that the brochure contains the ambiguous information related to the prices of the tickets. They write that the ticket will be charged at the travelling time but in reality the rate of charges are completely different from those mentioned in the brochure. On the other hand the client forms the opinion that he will be charging the same rate by the travel company as he was told. This is called ambiguous representation to mislead the client; at this situation the contract law is violated. At this point of time, client can claim for his money. This contract laws helps the clients at the time when they are manipulated or they do not get the promised services by the travel company.
The company sometimes provides different offers to persuade the clients by making him believe that he will be getting much more than what he is paying for. But before going for such deals, it is the duty of customers to check that the contract signed by them must also contains detail information about these extra services and gifts they will be getting. By doing this, they can claim for their extra services and gifts if the company does not provide them. The price related information must be clear to the clients and it should also be clearly mentioned in the contract so that in future no misunderstanding arises. The contract should also do not contain any type of misleading or ambiguous words which can create any type of problem to the client in the future. Before signing the contract it is the duty of the customer to clearly check that whether the contract contains every minute detail require or not. The customer should sign it after completely assuring the contract.
Instead of printing large brochures and then distributing it, the company should design small brochures which include necessary information for the customers mentioned in the form of points. By using these small brochures it will become easy for the company to target large number of clients. By using large printed brochures, heavy cost will come and it would not be possible for the company to target large audience as it will result in extra expenditure. They can also take the help of media, advertisements and social networking sites to attract the clients. Today social networking sites have proved to be very useful for marketing as it is the best possible way to connect with the clients and motivate them to go for holiday through travel companies. (Picturemileiu, 2014)
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the package we have taken is an international holiday package which will take the client to South Africa. The company is the whole sole responsible for arranging the trip of the client based on the holiday package which includes every amenity needed by the client including booking the hotel, arranging meals, arranging visa, transportation and various other services required by the client. We have realized that there are certain terms and conditions which is necessary to follow every travel company. If any travel company tries to violate these terms and condition than they had to reimburse the client and can also get negative publicity of their company. Due to negative publicity, the company can suffer severe loss in respect to the client and money. It is the duty of company to provide best services to their clients. A person trusts the company by giving them the opportunity to make his holidays the most memorable one by arranging each and every thing according to his requirement and expectation. So it is their responsibility to fulfill every expectations of their clients by making them happy and providing them best services.
- Dr. Robert N Moles “Contract Law”. [Blog] As retrieved on 10 September 2013, available, http://netk.net.au/Contract/02Formation.asp#TopOfPage
- Khoury & Yamouni, (2006). “Understanding Contract Law,” 7th ed. Butterworths Lexis Nexis. [Book]
- Picturemileiu, (2014) “Disadvantage of the brochure”. [E-lecture] As retrieved on 10 September 2013, available, http://picturemilieu.com/advantages-disadvantages-of-a-brochure/
- Thomas cook, South African Royale (winter) - 09 Nights / 10 Days. As retrieved on 10 September 2013, available, http://www.thomascook.in/tcportal/international-holidays/group-holidays/Africa-holiday-packages/South%20African%20Royale%20(Winter)%20-%2009%20Nights%20/%2010%20Days?hldID=PKG131662&tabValue=1&searchUrl=continent=Africa
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