Make no mistake: there’s no defence for factually incorrect brochures

Make no mistake: there’s no defence for factually incorrect brochures

Judgment in Case C-435/11

CHS Tour Services GmbH v Team4 Travel GmbH

There, that’s really grabbed your attention hasn’t it? Admit it. You were so excited about what happened in case C-434/11, you just couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the sequel: the snappily named case C-435/11? If only these things came in handy box sets.

As it happens, it really is worth paying attention to this important case from Austria — not because the Viennese Supreme Court of Justice building (the Oberster Gerichtshof) is so impossibly imperial and grandiose; more because of the impact that this case may have on businesses, particularly those which sell goods and services to consumers on this and the other side of the Channel.

Whether you sell ski holidays to kids, as the above companies do, or toasters to consumers in Towcester — do you see what I did there? — this case shows the absolute importance of ensuring that all information in any marketing material such as websites, brochures (etc) is factually correct.

Hoping that the information is correct isn’t  good enough. Presuming that it is correct isn’t good enough. This case shows that even where a business has made a proper effort to make sure that its brochures are correct there is no defence available to it in EU law if they turn out to be factually incorrect even through no fault of its own. Game over. The business will be in breach of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.

Let’s recap the facts quickly.

Team4 Travel is a travel agency based in Innsbruck. They sell ski holidays to British kids.

In its winter brochure for the 2012 season, it stated that various hotels could be booked on certain dates on an exclusive basis. Team4 Travel, being conscientious people, entered into contracts with several hotels to make sure that no other com

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