Developed by the Association of Austrian Charterers – 2014
The GTC and the model contract only regulate the appearance of agencies as intermediaries and only services that are not subject to the terms to exercise the role of travel agent. As agents, Austrian Charter agencies are subject to similar conditions as Austrian travel agencies, as far as they act as intermediaries.
For charter agencies, changes result from the special features of the service they provide.
These are described in the PROFESSIONAL PROFILE OF COMMERCIALLY AUTHORIZED YACHT CHARTER COMPANIES AND YACHT CHARTER AGENCIES, developed by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) in cooperation with the Association of Austrian Charterers (VÖV).
1. Definition of terms:
Agency: The agency is the company that arranges the services that lead to the use of a ship in the name of a third party and for the account of a third party.
Note: An agency can also act as a charter company, but then acts and is liable as such. It will then operate on its own account.
Charter company: The service-providing owner of the charter yacht or his authorized representative.
The charter company is the customer’s contractual partner and is liable for the obligations arising from the contract.
Charterer / customer: Both terms are used as the same in the text.
Charter crew: Group that uses a charter yacht together with the customer.
Charter contract: Rental contract for a yacht without professional crew for use by the charterer for recreational purposes. (Sometimes also called general terms or general conditions by the charter company.)
Charter yacht: yachts for recreational use.
2. Obligations of the agency, unless the customer acts as a messenger.
The agency undertakes the obligation to find a charter yacht for its customers that best meets their wishes. The following conditions form the basis of the contract that charterers conclude with the charter company through the agency. They must be demonstrably brought to the attention of the customer.
3. Booking / conclusion of contract
3.1. Bookings are made exclusively by signing the charter contract, the terms of which the customer accepts by signing. The contracts can be sent by post or electronically.
3.2. Verbal agreements that either precede the contract or supplement it must be confirmed in writing by the charter agency.
3.3 The agency must ensure through agreements or consultation with the charter company that the latter is able and willing to fulfill additional services agreed by the agency with the customer and agrees to the agreement. If these are side agreements to the conditions of the charter contract, the contract must be supplemented accordingly.
The customer can be confident that the agency has ensured that the charter company agrees to the side agreements.
3.4. The agency has to inform the customer about its own performance and the performance of the charter company, as well as the conditions of the charter contract and explain them on request.
3.5. The agency has to transfer the general terms and conditions of the charter company – if available – to the client and also explain them to the client on request.
Note: Transfer means that the customer accepts the terms and conditions in full and also has to bear the resulting consequences.
The conditions of the charter contract or the general terms and conditions of the charter company take precedence.
As foreign charterers are usually arranged, foreign law can also be applied.
3.6. The client (customer) is the one who acts as such towards the agency and makes a booking on his own account, regardless of other relationships. If there is no other explanation – e.g. acting as messenger or representative – he assumes the obligations from placing the order and the charter contract towards the agency or the charter company. (Payments, withdrawal from the contract, etc.).
3.7. The agency is entitled to request the customer to reimburse cash expenses (telephone costs, bank expenses, etc.).
The agency is entitled to charge a processing fee, but must inform the customer of the amount before booking.
If the cancellation fee regulation according to the charter contract has the consequence that the agency’s mediation service is not compensated, the agency is entitled to compensate this disadvantage by a cancellation fee regulation deviating from the charter contract.
4. General information requirements
4.1. Information about passport, visa, foreign exchange, customs and health regulations
It is assumed that a passport that is valid at least until the end of the journey is required for trips abroad and that certificates of competence are required for the use of a recreational yacht.
The agency shall, as far as reasonably possible, inform the customer of the relevant foreign passport, visa and health-policy regulations as well as foreign exchange and customs regulations on request.
However, this obligation only applies to those countries in which the chartered yacht is taken over or returned in accordance with the charter contract.
The basis is the country-specific information provided by the Austrian Foreign Ministry. This also applies to information about safety issues and travel warnings.
The customer is responsible for compliance with these regulations – also for the procurement of necessary documents (visa, vaccination certificates etc.). This also applies to people accompanying the customer; especially for those who are subject to special provisions. (No Austrian citizenship, special diseases etc.)
4.2. Regarding the necessary qualifications for the operation of a yacht for recreational use, the agency must, in case of doubt, inquire with the charter company whether it accepts the customer’s certificates.
If this is the case, the charter company is liable for all consequences if the responsible national authorities but also the insurers of the yacht do not consider the certificates sufficient.
If the agency has not asked the charter company or advised the customer to inform itself, it is liable.
The agency is only obliged to inform the customer about the relevant regulations. It is not obliged to check the authenticity or validity of documents submitted by the customer.
4.3 The agency has to forward to the customer all regulations communicated to it by request. There is no liability for correctness and / or completeness.
It is the sole responsibility of the skipper to obtain and observe all information necessary for the implementation of the planned cruise. This is independent of the information from the agency.
5. Legal status and liability
The agency’s liability extends to
– the careful selection of the respective charter company
– the impeccable mediation of services including an appropriate information of the customer and follow-up of important or necessary documents of the charter company and vice versa;
– the demonstrable forwarding of agreements, declarations of intent and payments between the customer and the charter company and vice versa (such as changes to the agreed service and agreed price, declarations of withdrawal, complaints)
The agency is not liable for the provision of the service it mediates.
The agency must inform the customer before booking about the company name of the charter company (= contractual partner of the customer), his accessibility and its official company headquarters, unless this information can already be found in the brochure, catalog or other documents handed over to the customer. The basis for this is the information provided by the charter company.
The agency is not liable for their correctness.
6. Performance disorders
Any liability is excluded unless the damage is due to gross negligence or intent on the part of the agency.
7. Place of jurisdiction in disputes between agency and customer
7.1. If the customer is a consumer within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, the court for the domicile of the customer is responsible.
7.2 If the customer is not a consumer within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, the court for the defendant’s domicile is responsible.