OGH overturns Opodo Prime subscription sales

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Anyone who was offered a paid Prime membership when booking a trip via the Opodo booking platform can now request the money back. The Supreme Court (OGH) ruled in favor of the AK: taking out a paid Opodo Prime membership of around 75 euros at the same time as booking a trip is invalid. Consumers can request the money back using the AK sample letter. In addition, all eleven clauses complained about by the AK are invalid, for example a clause on further automatic subscription extension.

Booked more than one trip: When booking a trip, Opodo did not sufficiently inform consumers about the contractual conditions for the Opodo Prime subscription, in particular the obligation to pay, immediately before confirming the “buy now” button. There was only a note in the small print that 30 euros would be automatically debited after the 74,99-day trial period. This approach violates the Distance and Away Business Act (FAGG). The subscription was therefore never valid. Consumers can now reclaim the membership fee.

The AK also sued for eleven clauses and won. The most practically relevant illegal clauses of the booking platform Opodo (as of September 2021):

Invalid subscription: Opodo wrongly considered booking a trip as taking out a paid Prime subscription. The automatic debit of 74,99 euros was wrongly made. Consumers can request the money back using the AK sample letter.

Invalid subscription renewal: The general terms and conditions for the Opodo Prime subscription also stipulated an automatic extension of this membership if consumers had not canceled in time. However, there are clear prerequisites for an automatic contract extension: consumers must be informed of an impending extension of the contract both in the contract and in fact. They must also be able to object to the extension within a reasonable period of time. Opodo did not comply with this – the extension is invalid!

No price advantage in case of trip cancellation: If the consumer canceled the trip, according to a clause, the Prime price advantage should no longer apply. This meant that consumers had to pay the difference to the normal price to the booking platform. The court ruled in favor of the AK: consumers do not have to pay extra on top of the normal price. The price advantage is not granted in return for the travel booking, but rather for the paid Prime subscription. Consumers can reclaim fees that have already been paid.

Forfeiture of the membership fee upon termination: If consumers canceled their Prime membership early, according to a clause, the prepaid membership fee was withheld for the entire period. Opodo could not prove any corresponding administrative effort, which means that the clause contradicts the law. Consumers can request a refund of pro-rata membership fees in the event of termination.

A spokesman for Opodo says: “We are aware of this decision. However, this concerns an outdated version of our product that has not been on the market for several years - and is therefore not relevant to our current offering. As the world's first travel subscription platform, Prime has evolved significantly since its launch in 2017. We continually incorporate feedback from our 5,4 million subscribers to improve our offering and ensure our services meet their expectations. We are committed to transparency; all benefits of our service are clearly presented upfront and customers must expressly agree to Prime’s terms and conditions before making their bookings.”

Justitia (Photo: Pixabay).
Justitia (Photo: Pixabay).