CLIENT’S INQUIRY. Hotel cancelation due to Covid 19 (NCOV): Information about consumer rights and law in Vietnam
The reason I searched about consumer’s right is that the hotel in Vietnam I reserved is unlikely to refund the reservation fee although this COVID 19 (NCOV) has spread all over the world.
I explained them that the flight has been cancelled and the reason of refund request it not because of my personal reason, but because of COVID 19 (NCOV), but they still do not give me a refund.
This is why I have been searching about Vietnamese consumer law, but I could not find any specific terms or conditions about hotel refund.
However, I believe you could provide me useful information about refund law of Vietnam since you have written and read so many articles about this field.
I would be sincerely appreciated if you provide me some part of Vietnamese law for consumers so that I can get refund from the hotel.
I hope this COVID 19 go disappear quickly.
I will look forward your hopeful response.
ASL LAW’S ADVICE
According to Article No. 156 of Civil Code of Vietnam “An event of force majeure is an event which occurs in an objective manner which is not able to be foreseen and which is not able to be remedied by all possible necessary and admissible measures being taken”
If there are no contrary regulation in the agreement between you and the hotel company, you could argue about the event of force majeure as follows:
a. The ban of flight into or out of Vietnam may be considered as an event of force majeure in case:
– The time of your flight to Vietnam is fallen within the ban period of the state authority; and
– You are unable to be aware about the ban at the time you signed the agreement with the hotel and you are unable to be remedied by all your possible necessary as well as all measures.
b. The spread of Covid 19 could be also considered as an event of force majeure in case:
– The pandemic still occurs at the time you must check-in at the Hotel; and
– You are unable to be aware about the pandemic at the time you sign the agreement with the hotel and you are not able to be remedied by all possible necessary and admissible measures being taken by you.
In case of the event of force majeure, Article No. 351.2 of Civil Code of Vietnam regulates that “Where an obligor is not able to perform a civil obligation due to an event of force majeure, it shall not have civil liability, unless otherwise agreed or otherwise provided by law”.
However, the law on commercial of Vietnam regulates about the extension of time limit for performing the agreement or refuse to perform the agreement in case of event of force majeure as follow:
- In a force majeure circumstance, the parties may agree to extend the time limit for performing their respective contractual obligations. If the parties do not agree or cannot agree upon such extension, the time limit for performing contractual obligations shall be extended for a period of time equal to the time length of such force majeure circumstance plus a reasonable period of time for remedying consequences, but not exceeding:
a/ Five months for goods or services for which the agreed time limit for their delivery or provision does not exceed twelve months from the date the contract is entered into;
b/ Eight months for goods or services for which the agreed time limit for their delivery or provision exceeds twelve months from the date the contract is entered into.
- Beyond the time limits specified in Clause 1 of this Article, the parties may refuse to perform the contract and neither party is entitled to request the other party to pay damages.
- Where a party refuses to perform a contract, it must, within ten days from the expiry date of the time limit specified in Clause 1 of this Article, notify the other party thereof before the latter begins to perform its contractual obligations.
- The extension of the time limit for performing contractual obligations mentioned in Clause 1 of this Article does not apply to contracts for purchase and sale of goods or contracts for provision of services with fixed time limit for goods delivery or service completion.
(Article 296 of Law on Commercial of Vietnam)
In this case, because the hotel service is fixed the time limit for completion, the extension of the time limit for performing the agreement is not required and you could refuse to perform your obligation with the hotel and request them to refund the service fee.
From the perspective of hotel, they may argue that due to the pandemic, they are out of money due to the loss of business. Therefore, the pandemic could be also considered as the event of force majeure and they will be exempt from the performing the obligation of refunding the money to you until they could find out the way to remedy it.
The above analysis is based on the prevailing regulation for the event of force majeure only. In case, in the agreement with hotel, there are the agreement specially for the event of force majeure, you must perform the right and obligation based on such agreement. In order to have the detail advice on this matter, please provide with us the agreement with the hotel and other information such as your flight ticket, the evidence of the payment, the emails with hotel.
ASL LAW – Vietnam Business Law Firm