Consumer Rights in The Netherlands during the Coronavirus Outbreak

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CONSUMER RIGHTS IN THE NETHERLANDS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

 

As a consumer in The Netherlands, you will have noticed that some (if not most) of your daily activities are being substantially affected by the measures enacted by the Dutch government to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. During this time, we have gathered some of the most frequently asked legal questions and have answered them all in this blog post!

I have a subscription for a venue that is now closed due to the Coronavirus government measures. Am I entitled to any compensation?

Yes, you are entitled to a full refund for the time you were not able to make use of your subscription. The organisation can offer you an alternative compensation which you can accept if you think this is fair compensation, but you are not obliged to accept compensation as an alternative to a refund.

An event for which I got tickets for got cancelled. What are my rights?

When an event for which you bought tickets for gets cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you are always entitled to compensation. This compensation can come in two forms:

  • A full refund of the price of the ticket
  • Postponement of the event where your purchased ticket is also valid.

You are never obliged to accept the postponed date that the event organisers have chosen. In case you cannot attend the event on the new date or do not agree with the new event date, you can choose to claim a refund from the event organisers.

In the case where you made any additional costs because of the event you were going to attend, for example, a rental car or a hotel stay, you are not entitled to claim these expenses back from the event organisers. You will have to consult the companies that offer these services separately.

I ordered something online, paid for it, but now it cannot be delivered. What are my rights?

When you order something online, it should be delivered within the time frame disclosed to you on the e-mail that confirms your purchase. If this does not happen, then you may be able to dissolve the contract between yourself and the company you have made the purchase from. This means that you and the company will be placed in the same position you both were before the purchase was made; you do not receive your product but you get your money back. However, if the company you ordered from can prove that the Coronavirus is the direct reason that the delivery cannot be executed, then you are not entitled to any damages. This is called ‘force majeure’. If this is the case, then you have the right to claim a refund.

I purchased something from an online store. Before the delivery was executed, the company went bankrupt. What can I do now?

Should a company go bankrupt before the product you purchased was delivered to you, you can contact the designated trustee of the company. Trustees are the persons that are responsible for making decisions regarding what happens with the company’s assets (money and goods of the company has left)

My trip got cancelled. What am I now entitled to?

Since trips can be organized in a multitude of ways, here are the answers to the most used methods of booking a trip:

The trip was booked with a travel agency and they cancel the trip (and accommodation booked)

When your trip gets cancelled by a travel agency, you are entitled to compensation. This can come in the form of either a refund or a change of destination or date. When there is a substantial difference between the trip you initially booked and the new offer presented by the travel agency, you do not have to agree to this amendment. In this case, you can claim a refund or accept a voucher worth the same price you paid which can be used at a different point in time.

Flight tickets were purchased directly from an airline and this airline cancels the flight

When an airline has cancelled your flight, despite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not identifying your country of destination as a high-risk country (also known as a country with negative travel advice), you are entitled to a full refund if it matches the cancellation criteria of EU Regulation 261/2004. As well as this, you can make a claim for any damages suffered.

When an airline has cancelled your flight to a country that was designated the status of having negative travel advice by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you are entitled to a refund of the ticket price but you cannot make a claim for any suffered damages. This also applies when the destination country has an entry ban.

At present, the United States of America does not allow entry into the country due to the Coronavirus outbreak. In light of these circumstances, there is no right to a full refund, as it falls under the same umbrella as a declined visa: it is not in the sphere of influence of the airline or travel agency. However, different organisations handle this situation differently, and some travel agencies and airlines might still offer you partial compensation. We advise you to consult this with the relevant travel agency or airline.

Much like consumers, many companies in a variety of different sectors are also affected by the current governmental measures in place. It might be worth considering, if you can, to not to claim a full refund or cancel a subscription and to support the companies affected, so that you may enjoy their services again after the measures are withdrawn.


Do you have more questions, or wish to receive more information on your specific case? Please do not hesitate to contact the MQM Legal Center’s Legal Emergency Squad at office@mqmlegal.com.


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