Court of Appeal holds tour operator liable for breach of implied term as to ‘satisfactory quality’ in relation to food

In Wood and Wood v TUI Travel Plc [2017] EWCA Civ 11, the claimants had booked an all-inclusive holiday in the Dominican Republic with the defendant tour operator.   Whilst on holiday, they became sick with gastroenteritis.   The trial judge held that there had been no fault on the part of the hotel but that their illness was caused by contaminated food eaten at the hotel.   The issue was whether the tour operator had  contracted for the sale of goods, namely the food, such that the claimants could rely on the implied term as to ‘satisfactory quality’ in section4(2) of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

The Court of Appeal held that such a term was to be implied into this contract just as it should in relation to the food provided by a hotel or B&B.

This case is of great significance in the travel industry as the Court of Appeal has confirmed it is not necessary for a customer to establish fault on the part of the hotel or to rely upon the Package Travel etc Regulations 1992.  If the customer can show that he has become ill as a result of contaminated food provided under the holiday contract, then the food will be bound not to be of ‘satisfactory quality’ and the customer will have a claim for damages against the tour operator.

Robert Weir QC appeared for the successful claimants with Andrew Young of 3 Hare Court, instructed by Irwin Mitchell LLP.

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