General Terms & Conditions (GTC)
1. Scope of Application
These General Terms and Conditions govern the legal relationship between the tour operator Choose Balkans (hereafter “TO”) and the tour participants as well as third parties booking tours for tour participants or acting as agents for tours (hereafter “Customer(s)”) for all services provided by TO, in particular the organization of excursions (hereafter “Tour(s)”) and their guiding as far as tour guiding is not provided by third-party providers. For all activities of third-party providers, TO merely acts as an agent; however, such activities are carried out in the name of and according to the terms and conditions of the third-party providers. The present GTC form an integral part of any individual contract independently of the medium through which the contract is closed.
2. Conclusion of Contract / of Booking
Bookings can be made through different distribution channels (internet, travel agency, hotel, tourist information, etc.) via email/Facebook/WhatsApp/phone call, any other form of communication or in person. Otherwise, TO may exclude the participant and, in case of minors, also their accompanying person (see section 7) from the Tour. If bookings for Customers are made by third parties (including bookings of Customers for other Customers), such third parties are liable both for payment of the booked service and Customers’ agreement to these GTC. The contract between the Customer or the third party making the booking, respectively, and TO is concluded with the unconditional acceptance of the booking by TO. Through the booking, the Customer as well as any third party making the booking accept the present GTC as binding. TO will not accept any non-binding reservations.
3. Age requirements
Anyone under the age of 18 on the date of first travel is considered to be a minor. Minors must always be accompanied by an adult. One adult may accompany up to two minors. Unless otherwise indicated in the Tour description or by the Tour Operator, the minimum age for minors travelling on any Tour is 2 years old.
All bookings with a minor are subject to review and approval by the Tour Operator. If the consent of a parent, guardian or any other person is required by applicable law for any minor to travel, the accompanying adult is responsible for securing all consents, documentation and ensuring that they and the minor(s) meet all legal requirements to travel, to enter into and depart from applicable countries and regions. The Tour Operator will not be responsible for any fees, damages, or losses incurred as a result of any failure to secure necessary consents, permits, and approvals.
Each adult on a booking with a minor or minor(s) is jointly and severally responsible for the behavior, wellbeing, supervision and monitoring of such minor(s), and jointly and severally accepts these Terms for and on behalf of any minor(s) on their booking, including all assumptions of risk and limitations of liability. The Tour Operator does not provide care services for minors and expressly disclaims any responsibility for chaperoning or controlling any minor(s).
4. Mandatory insurance requirements
YOU MUST HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE WITH A MINIMUM MEDICAL, EVACUATION AND REPATRIATION COVERAGE OF US$200,000 covering all applicable dates of travel with the Tour Operator. This insurance must cover personal injury and emergency medical expenses. On the first day of each Tour, a representative of the Tour Operator will verify that you have sufficient insurance in place. You are strongly recommended to extend your coverage to include cancellation, curtailment, and all other expenses that may arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience while traveling. You acknowledge that insurance coverage is not included in the cost of any Tour offered by the Tour Operator and you are required to obtain separate coverage at an additional cost. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have sufficient coverage and comply with the terms of the applicable insurance plans. You are responsible for advising your insurer of the type of travel, destination(s) and activities included in your booking so that the insurer may provide appropriate coverage.
5. Rates and Terms of Payment
The Tour price per person (hereafter “Tour Price”) is stated in the price list in Choose Balkans tours. All prices are quoted including VAT. Prices are subject to change according to section 6, so the tour price is based on the time of booking. At the time of booking, a non-refundable deposit in the amount 30% of the overall costs of the tour is required, as applicable, per person per Tour is due to the Tour Operator. Please note that Choose Balkans needs to receive the net (full) quoted amount. Transaction and payment fees are on the sender (you in this case). We will notify you with a print screen of the amount received at our account as soon as we receive your down payment.
The due amount can be paid in cash or Credit/Debit card upon your arrival at our office in Tirana or in cash at the moment you will meet our colleague to deliver you the service. Please note that Credit/Debit card payments apply a 5% bank commission. If you confirm to book this tour or any other service offered by Choose Balkans, via TO official channels; email/facebook/whatsapp/phone call or any other form of communication it means that you have read and agreed to the terms & conditions.
If the booking is made 15 days or less prior to departure, full payment is due at the time of booking. The non-refundable deposit should be sent to the Tour Operator or authorized agent, as applicable.
6. Cancellations / Changes in Bookings by the Customer
TO does not offer any cancellation insurance.
You may cancel your booking by notifying the Tour Operator. Cancellation fees, if any, will be determined with reference to the date on which notice of cancellation is received by the Tour Operator and are expressed as a percentage of the total price paid for the cancelled Tour, product or service (excluding any insurance products).
A cancellation will only be effective when we receive written confirmation (including TO official channels; email/facebook/whatsapp or any other form of communication) that you have sent to your relevant sales representative of the cancellation and are legally binding upon confirmation by TO. In case of cancellation the following fees apply:
The 30% non-refundable deposit will be held at any time by the Tour Operator in accordance with these Terms.
Up to 60 days prior to the Tour start: Deposit of 50% of total value of the tour will be held by the Tour Operator in accordance with these Terms.
59 to 46 days prior to the Tour start: 75% of total value of the tour will be held by the Tour Operator in accordance with these Terms.
45 – 0 days prior to the Tour start: 100% of total value of the tour will be held by the Tour Operator in accordance with these Terms.
Any deviating terms of cancellation are communicated by TO in the confirmation of booking.
7. Cancellation by TO
It is at TO’s free discretion to cancel a Tour that is jeopardized, considerably hindered or made impossible due to force majeure, meteorological hazard, official measures, political disturbances, strikes, demonstrations, difficult traffic conditions, closed roads or similar unforeseeable events. The same applies if the minimum number of 3 participants paying the full Tour Price is not reached for regular tours. The Tour Price that has already been paid will be refunded, further compensation claims are excluded.
8. Changes in Tour Prices or Services
TO reserves the right to change the Tour Price according to the price list or the agreed Tour Price, respectively, in case of extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances are in particular:
– changes in the rates of third-party providers, e.g. of transportation companies
– newly introduced or raised taxes, charges or fees
Changes in Tour Prices in case of extraordinary circumstances are communicated 3 weeks prior to the Tour start at the latest. If the difference between the new and the initial Tour Price exceeds 10%, the Customer is entitled either to withdraw from the contract upon written notice within 5 days after communication of the change in Tour Prices against full refund of any Tour Price already paid or to book an alternative Tour of TO in the value of the initially booked Tour without any rebooking fee. Further compensation for damages is excluded.
TO reserves the right to change the Tour program at any time, prematurely curtail the Tour or offer alternative solutions in case of extraordinary circumstances. Any additional costs of the Tour shall be borne by the Customer. TO undertakes to immediately inform the Customer of any changes in services and/or in the program. If the alternative solution is more expensive than the initially booked Tour or unreasonable for the Customer, Customer is offered withdrawal free of charge. Refunds are effected in the same way as payment has been made. Further compensation for damages due to change(s) in Tour Prices or services is excluded.
9. Terms of Participation
Tours are offered subject to the terms published by TO (e.g. with regard to language, Tour guiding, etc.). Lead Tour participants must identify themselves at the check-in before the Tour start by showing their ID or passport according to the booking; otherwise, TO may exclude both the lead Tour participants and Customers for whom the booking was made from the Tour without refund of the purchasing price. For Tours abroad, all Customers must have their ID or passport with them. Minor Customers must be accompanied by a person having the power of representation. Coaches are not equipped with a ramp. Disabled Customers who need assistance in getting on and off the coach are requested to organize such assistance themselves. Pets are not allowed with the exception of companion dogs for disabled persons. Customers undertake to inform TO of any health problems. Adequate health and accident insurance coverage is the responsibility of the Customers (including supplementary insurance against sports accidents in case of Tours with sports activities). Joining a Tour under the influence of drugs, medicines and/or excessive alcohol is not permitted. Customers undertake to strictly comply with these GTC, the terms of participation of third-party providers, the instructions of TO, of third-party providers, of support staff as well as external Tour guides and rescue staff. Furthermore, Customers are obliged to wear seat belts and to use child safety seats, if applicable. TO reserves the right to exclude a Customer from the Tour with immediate effect in case of health problems, non-compliance with the terms of participation or violation of these GTC or any instructions. In case a minor Customer is excluded, the accompanying person is also excluded from the Tour. In case the exclusion is made prior to the Tour start, the terms of cancellation apply analogously. In case the exclusion is made during a Tour, the Customer has no right to a refund of the Tour Price. In case of exclusion, any and all claims for damages against TO are excluded.
If the Customer is not present in time at the departure respectively meeting point for the start of or during the Tour, TO reserves the right to exclude the Customer from the Tour after a waiting period of 5 minutes for a half-day Tour or 10 minutes for a day Tour and to depart without the Customer. In this case, the Customer is neither entitled to a refund of the Tour Price nor may the Customer claim any damages. Furthermore, Customer must pay for any additional costs (e.g. transportation back to the starting point) him- or herself.
10.1 Limitation of TO’s Liability
Customers undertake all activities at their own risk. Any liability of TO is limited to the Tour Price as well as any direct damages caused willfully or by gross negligence by TO. TO’s liability for slight negligence, assisting persons as well as consequential damages and lost profit is excluded. TO does not assume any liability in case of non-fulfillment of contractual obligations that results from omissions or contract violation by the Customer (in particular due to violation of the terms of participation in section 7). In case of cancellation of a Tour, TO is only liable for the refund of the Tour Price if no alternative Tour is offered. TO does not assume any liability for the disappearance of personal items, cash, valuables, luggage, photographic equipment, etc. as well as loss, theft, damage or misuse of checks and credit cards.
10.2 Exclusion of Liability for Offers of Third-party Providers and in Case of Force Majeure
TO does not assume any liability for the offers and services of third-party providers nor does TO assume any liability for damages based on circumstances that are beyond TO’s control, such as force majeure, natural events, catastrophes, changes in program due to non-adherence of train, bus or ship transportation companies or other third-party providers to their schedules, etc. Customer undertakes to claim any damages directly from the third-party provider.
10.3 Customer’s Liability
All activities for which TO acts as an agent and which are carried out by third-party providers or are organized and/or carried out by Customers themselves incur at Customer’s own risk. TO is not liable for the consequences of any accident. TO expects from each Customer a considerable degree of personal responsibility. Customers only participate in activities that are compatible with their physical condition, in particular their health and physical efficiency. Customers are in particular responsible for an adequate equipment (clothing, footwear, sun protection, etc.).
11. Deadline for the Assertion of Claims
Customers’ claims towards TO due to non-fulfillment or fulfillment not in accordance with the contract must be asserted within 10 days after the contractually agreed Tour date in writing with a detailed explanation of the claims. A complaint vis-à-vis the Tour guide is not sufficient. Claims received by TO after expiry of this deadline cannot be accepted anymore, except if Customers prove that they were faultlessly prevented from meeting such deadline.
12. Travel Documents
It is your responsibility to obtain information and to have in your possession all the required documentation and identification required for entry, departure and travel to each country or region. This includes a valid passport and all travel documents required by the relevant governmental authorities including all visas, permits and certificates (including but not limited to vaccination or medical certificates) and insurance policies. You must have a passport that is valid 6 months after the last date of travel with the Tour Operator as set out on your itinerary. You accept full responsibility for obtaining all such documents, visas and permits prior to the start of the Tour, and you are solely responsible for the full amount of costs incurred as a result of missing or defective documentation. You agree that you are responsible for the full amount of any loss or expense incurred by the Tour Operator that is a direct result of your failure to secure or be in possession of proper travel documentation. The Tour Operator does not provide advice on travel documents and makes no representations or warrantees as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided on visas, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage, or special equipment and you agree that the Tour Operator is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this information.
13. Data Protection
Customers agree that their data, in particular Customer’s name, address, telephone number, birth date, nationality, gender and credit card details, are collected by TO for the carrying out of certain Tours according to the contract. Such data can be forwarded to third-party providers.
14. Amendments to these GTC
TO may amend these GTC at any time. Such amendments are legally binding upon notice to the Customer or publication on www.choosebalkans.com/terms
In case any of the provisions of these GTC shall be held or become invalid, void or unenforceable in any other way, the validity of the remaining provisions shall not be affected thereby. In case of unenforceability of a provision, such provision shall be replaced by an enforceable provision that reflects the intention and purpose of the invalid provision as closely as possible. The same procedure applies if a gap in these GTC becomes evident.
16. Applicable Law and Place of Jurisdiction
Albanian law shall apply to the legal relationship between the Customer and TO (with the exclusion of conflict of law rules). For claims against TO, the exclusive jurisdiction of the ordinary courts at the seat of TO is agreed.