General Terms & Conditions of Coach Hire

1 Offer and conclusion of contract

(1) Provided nothing else has been agreed in writing, offers by the coach company are subject to change.

(2) The customer may place their order in writing, electronically or verbally.

(3) The contract is concluded once the coach company has confirmed the order in writing or electronically,

unless otherwise agreed. If the content of the confirmation differs from that of the order, the contract shall be concluded on the basis of the confirmation if the customer declares acceptance in writing or electronically within one week after receipt.

2 Scope of service

(1) The scope of the contractual services shall be defined by the information in the order confirmation. This does not affect Section 1 Paragraph 3 and Section 3.

(2) Within the context set out by the order confirmation, the service shall include the provision of a vehicle of the agreed type, including a driver, and the performance of the carriage; no provisions which go beyond the contract to produce a work shall apply.

(3) In particular, the agreed service shall not include:

  1. the fulfilment of the purpose of the journey,
  2. the supervision of passengers, in particular of children, young people and persons requiring assistance,
  3. the supervision of items left behind by the customer or one of their passengers in the passenger compartment of the vehicle,
  4. the supervision of luggage during loading and unloading,
  5. information about the foreign exchange, passport, visa, customs and health regulations relevant to passengers, and compliance with any obligations arising from these.

This shall not apply if something else has been agreed.

3 Service modifications

(1) The coach company shall be entitled to modify the scope of services as necessary after conclusion of the contract, if the circumstances that necessitate the service modification are not caused by the coach company in bad faith and as far as the modifications are not considerable and are reasonable for the customer. The coach company must inform the customer of the reason for the modifications as soon as it becomes aware of such reason.

(2) Service modifications by the customer shall be possible upon approval by the coach company and should be declared by the customer in writing or electronically.

4 Prices and payments

(1) The hire price stipulated on conclusion of the contract shall be binding.

(2) Unless otherwise agreed, all incidental expenses arising in connection with the agreed service, e.g. road charges and parking fees, accommodation expenses for the driver(s), are not included in the hire price.

(3) Additional costs incurred as a result of service modifications requested by the customer shall be charged for separately.

(4) This shall not affect the coach company’s right to claim for costs incurred as a result of damage to the coach or having to clean it.

(5) Invoices shall be payable in full upon receipt.

5 Price increases

If there are four months between conclusion of the contract and the carriage service, the coach company shall be entitled to charge price increases of up to 10% of the agreed hire price if its carriage costs (fuel costs and staff costs) rise after conclusion of the contract, if this could not be planned for when the contract was concluded. Such price increases shall only be permissible to the extent that the increase in the hire price is proportional to the increase in costs. The coach company must notify the customer of such a permissible price increase as soon as it becomes aware of the reason for the increase. If the total amount of the declared price increases is more than 3% of the agreed hire price, the customer shall be entitled to withdraw from the contract without being required to pay compensation. This withdrawal must be declared without delay.

6 Withdrawal and termination by the customer

(1) Withdrawal prior to departure

The customer shall be entitled to withdraw from the contract prior to departure. If the customer does so, then instead of entitlement to the agreed hire price, the coach company shall be entitled to reasonable compensation, unless the withdrawal is due to circumstances for which the coach company is responsible. The amount of compensation shall be calculated on the basis of the agreed hire price minus the value of the expenses saved by the coach company and any revenue generated by using the vehicle otherwise.

The coach company shall be entitled to claim lump sum compensation as follows:

In the event of withdrawal

up to 15 days prior to the planned departure:             30%

14 to 8 days prior to the planned departure:         50%

7 to 3 days prior to the planned departure:           65%

2 days or less prior to the planned departure:               80%

of the agreed hire price, if and insofar as the customer does not prove that the coach company has not incurred any loss at all, or that its loss is substantially lower than the lump sum.

The right to compensation shall not apply if the withdrawal is due to service modifications on the part of the coach company which are considerable and unreasonable for the customer. This shall not affect the customer’s other rights.

(2) Termination after departure

  1. In the event of necessary service modifications after departure, if the modifications are considerable and unreasonable for the customer then the latter shall be entitled – without prejudice to other rights – to terminate the contract. In such cases, the coach company shall be obliged – upon the customer’s request – to transport the customer and their passengers back to the point of departure, although the customer shall only be entitled to claim carriage in the means of transport agreed in the contract. The customer shall be required to pay any additional costs of return carriage which arise from termination due to force majeure.
  2. Other claims on the part of the customer shall be precluded if the necessary service modifications are caused by circumstances for which the coach company is not responsible. 
  3. If the customer terminates the contract, the coach company shall be entitled to appropriate compensation for services already rendered and those still to be rendered under the contract, provided that the latter are still of interest to the customer despite the termination.

7 Withdrawal and termination by the coach company

(1) Withdrawal prior to departure

The coach company shall be entitled to withdraw from the contract prior to departure if exceptional circumstances, for which the coach company is not responsible, make rendering the services impossible. In this case, the customer shall be entitled to demand compensation solely for necessary expenses incurred in direct relation to booking the vehicle.

(2) Termination after departure

  1. The coach company shall be entitled to terminate the contract after departure, if rendering of the services is significantly complicated, endangered or impaired due to either force majeure or unforeseeable circumstances, such as for example war or warlike conditions, hostilities, rebellion or civil war, arrest, confiscation or restraint by state organisations or other persons, road blockades, quarantine activities, as well as strikes, lock-outs or walkouts for which the coach company is not responsible, or as a result of the behaviour of the customer or one of the passengers. In the event of termination due to force majeure or a significant complication, endangerment or impairment, then if so requested by the customer the coach company shall be required to transport the customer and their passengers back to the point of departure, although the customer shall only be entitled to claim carriage in the means of transport agreed in the contract. This obligation to return the customer and their passengers shall not apply if and to the extent that it is unreasonable to expect the coach company to return individual persons for reasons for which those persons are responsible. The customer shall be required to pay any additional costs of return carriage which arise from termination due to force majeure.
  2. If the coach company terminates the contract, it shall be entitled to appropriate compensation for services already rendered and those still to be rendered under the contract, provided that the latter are still of interest to the customer despite the termination.

8 Liability

(1) The coach company shall be required to execute the carriage properly with the due diligence of a prudent businessman.

(2) The coach company shall not be liable for disruptions to the service due to force majeure or unforeseeable circumstances, such as for example war or warlike conditions, hostilities, rebellion or civil war, arrest, confiscation or restraint by state organisations or other persons, road blockades, quarantine activities, as well as strikes, lock-outs or walkouts for which the coach company is not responsible.

(3) This shall not affect the provisions concerning returning the customer and their passengers to the point of departure.

9 Limitation of liability

(1) The coach company’s liability for contractual and tort claims for damages not resulting from injury to life, limb or health, shall be limited to three times the hire price (see Section 4 above); liability per passenger involved shall be limited to that person’s equivalent share of three times the hire price, but not less than €1000.00 in the case of damage to property.

(2) This shall not affect Section 23 of the German Passenger Transportation Act (PBefG). Liability for damage to property is thus excluded, insofar as the damage suffered by each transported person exceeds €1000.00 and is not based on intent or gross negligence.

(3) The limitations specified in Paragraph 1 shall not apply if the damage suffered is due to intent or gross negligence.

(4) The coach company shall not be liable for damages, insofar as these are based exclusively on culpable conduct on the part of the customer or of one of their passengers.

(5) The customer shall indemnify the coach company, and all persons it involves in processing the contract, from all claims which are based on one of the circumstances described in Section 2 Paragraph 3 a. – e.

10 Luggage and other items

(1) The coach company shall transport normal-sized luggage and – subject to prior arrangement – other items.

(2) The coach company shall refuse to carry explosive, highly flammable, radioactive, malodorous or corrosive substances as well as unpackaged or unprotected items which may cause injury to passengers.

(3) The customer shall be liable for any damage caused by items brought by the customer or their passengers, if such damage is caused by circumstances for which they or their customers are responsible.

11 Customer and passenger conduct

(1) The customer shall be responsible for the conduct of their passengers during carriage. Instructions issued by staff on the coach must be complied with. The customer shall also be liable for damage caused by their passengers to the vehicle or other items belonging to the coach company, unless neither the customer nor their passengers are responsible for the damage. This shall not affect other claims.

(2) According to Section 21 of the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), mandatory seat belts must be worn during carriage. Seats may only be left for a short time. Every traveller shall be obliged to steady themselves at all times inside the vehicle, in particular when briefly leaving his or her seat.

(3) The customer shall be liable for damages of any kind not covered by Paragraph 1 which are caused by the customer or one of their passengers, if the damage incurred is due to circumstances for which they or one of their passengers is responsible. If passengers fail to comply with justified instructions issued by on-board staff despite being reminded, the coach company may refuse to carry them if their disregard for the instructions endangers the safety or orderly running of operations or endangers the other passengers, or if there are other reasons for which the coach company deems the person’s continued carriage unreasonable. In such cases, the customer shall not be entitled to have the coach company arrange return to the point of departure, and nor will they have any right of recourse.

(4) Complaints should first be addressed to the on-board staff and then, if after reasonable effort the staff are unable to rectify the issue, to the coach company itself.

(5) Within the limits of what can be reasonably expected of them, where possible the customer shall be required to assist in rectifying service disruptions in order to avoid or limit potential damage.

12 Place of jurisdiction and place of performance

(1) Place of performance

If the contractual partner is a merchant, a legal entity under public law or a special fund under public law, the exclusive place of performance shall be the seat of the coach company.

(2) Place of jurisdiction

  1. If the customer is a merchant, a legal entity under public law or a special fund under public law, the place of jurisdiction shall be the seat of the coach company.
  2. If the customer has no general place of jurisdiction in Germany or changes their domicile or place of habitual residence to a foreign country after conclusion of the contract, or if their domicile or place of habitual residence is unknown when a complaint is filed, the place of jurisdiction shall also be the seat of the coach company.

(3) The execution of the contractual relationship shall be subject to the law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

13 Invalidity of individual provisions

Any invalidity of individual provisions of the contract, including of these General Terms & Conditions of Coach Hire, shall not render the entire contract invalid.

© These terms and conditions of travel were translated from the original German, which is protected by copyright; Bundesverband Deutscher Omnibusunternehmer e.V. and Prof. Dr. Holger Zuck, Stuttgart, 2008.