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Contract Case Study
In July, Erin saw an advertisement for a Scottish Twilight Holiday from Tick Tock Travel. Erin went to the travel agent and picked up a brochure that contained six glossy, colourful pages of print with several photos of hotels, villages, and beaches with sunbathers.
Erin booked her 14-day holiday over the Christmas period for $1899. She paid the full amount and received tickets that detailed her flight schedules, seven-day coach tour, and seven nights in the Water Spirit Hotel in Edinburgh. The travel agent did not discuss with Erin the terms of the contract, other than noting that half the price was nonrefundable if Erin changed her mind.
Erin was dissatisfied with her holiday from the beginning. The seven-day coach tour was unguided and appeared to Erin to consist of endless wandering through boring villages and countryside. The bus was hot, dirty and slow. Because there was no guide, Erin could find no one to whom she could complain. In Edinburgh, Erin was escorted to the Blarney Hotel because the Water Spirit Hotel was full. The Blarney Hotel had a small, unremarkable restaurant and lounge. There was no swimming pool and Erin’s room contained only a bed, bureau, and chair. She shared a bathroom with three other guests. She was three miles from the city centre. Erin would have flown home in the second week but she could not afford it.
Erin was depressed for months afterwards and could think only of getting compensation from Tick Tock Travel. She finally sued.
In response, Tick Tock Travel pointed out to Erin several paragraphs in the holiday brochure including:
Hotel Changes: Tick Tock Travel has contracted with the hotels shown in this brochure to supply accommodation. From time to time the accommodation reserved is not available and a substitute hotel is provided. There are several reasons why this may occur, including unexpected maintenance problems, guest stayovers and hotel overbookings. The chances of a hotel change are remote, but we would like you to be aware that the possibility exists.
Tick Tock Travels Responsibility: Tick Tock Travel does not assume responsibility for any claims, losses, damages, costs or expenses arising out of loss of enjoyment, upset, disappointment, distress or frustration, whether physical or mental resulting from the following:
a)the need for us to change itineraries or substitute accommodation or hotels or services, provided that every effort is made to supply the most comparable service and accommodation available.
b)cancellation of a tour by Tick Tock Travel, provided that full refund of all monies paid is made to the passenger.
It also appeared that the hotel change in the second week was caused by Tick Tock Travels policy of over booking.
To what extent has Tick Tock Travel limited its liability? Is the brochure part of the contract? Is Erin subject to the terms if she hasn’t read them? Is Tick Tock Travel liable?
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