One of the aims is to lessen inequality between consumers.
The Finnish government proposes compensation for travelers whose trip has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state-guaranteed refund would also apply to travel vouchers. “Normally, it is the tour operator’s obligation to refund the fees or the value of the travel voucher,” the government noted in a statement.
The temporary act would apply to tour operator bankruptcies and when the coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancelation of the travel package.
The government noted that “the act will ensure an equal status of all consumers if a tour operator goes bankrupt. The refunding of trips canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the travel vouchers issued as their alternative are currently not covered by insolvency protection, that is, in the form of security.”
Those consumers whose trips have been canceled by the pandemic have been in a different position compared with consumers whose trips have been canceled as a direct consequence of the tour operator’s insolvency.
In a situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, where the traveler or the tour operator has canceled the travel package, the traveler has the right to be fully refunded for the fees without undue delay and no later than within 14 days after the cancelation of the travel package.
The fees can be refunded in cash or, if the traveler consents, in the form of a travel voucher. A travel package is defined as a combination of at least two travel services purchased for a joint price for the same trip or holiday, most commonly transport and accommodation.
Compensation from the state could only be granted for claims that cannot be refunded from the security provided by the tour operator. Travelers would not be entitled to compensation if they receive compensation based on another act or agreement, for example from a credit card company. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Agency would decide on the payment of compensation.
On September 3, 2020, the government submitted a proposal for a temporary amendment to the act on Providers of Travel Service Combinations. The act would apply to claims made after the government imposed national travel restrictions beginning March 16, 2020. The act would remain in force until December 31, 2022. The proposal is related to the fifth supplementary budget proposal for 2020.