High Court – Disappointment and distress damages payable to cruise passenger

Jan 23, 2023 | Publication

The High Court has delivered a significant judgment in a class action following a European cruise in 2013 and has allowed damages for disappointment and distress.

A group of Australian passengers sued tour company, Scenic Tours, claiming it had failed to deliver the luxury European river cruise experiences they had purchased.

The cruise was effected by bad weather which disrupted the cruise and passengers had to change vessels and travel by bus at times.

There was no issue in the High Court that Scenic Tours’ attempts to perform its contractual obligations amounted to breaches of consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law.

The issue the High Court had to consider was whether the lead plaintiff, Mr Moore, was entitled to damages for disappointment and distress.

Mr Moore was awarded the sum of A$2,000 for his disappointment and distress under Section 267(4) of the Australian Consumer Law.

As a result of this decision, passengers who experience a less than enjoyable holiday as a result of a breach of the Australian Consumer Law, will likely be entitled to damages for distress and disappointment, over and above any refund.


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