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West Kelowna winery tour company sues for $6,500 wins $600

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

A West Kelowna wine tour company has come up short after it tried to sue a client who cancelled a $6,000 booking.

According to June 2 BC Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, in February 2022 Lust 4 Luxury Tours was contacted by developer New Monaco Enterprise to arrange a two-day wine tour.

Lust 4 Luxury Tours came up with an itinerary for a West Kelowna wine tour on day one, with the following day spent in Kelowna and Lake Country.

The tour included stops at Mission Hill, Fring Estate and Mt. Boucherie wineries before heading to Quails' Gate for dinner.

The total cost was $6,100 for both days for 20 people.

The tour company sent a $6,100 invoice for the trip and New Monaco Enterprise paid by credit card.

However, a few days after paying the invoice one of New Monaco Enterprise's owners was hospitalized and the company then cancelled the trip and asked for a refund.

The developer then called their credit card company and had the payment reversed.

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In the decision, Lust 4 Luxury Tours argued the contract was binding and New Monaco Enterprise owed it $5,000 for the cancelled trip – the maximum allowed at the online small claims court.

Lust 4 Luxury Tours argued its website cancellation policy applied, which meant the entire invoice balance was still due.

The company submitted several other legal cases where terms and conditions from a website have been ruled as binding.

However, the Tribunal wasn't swayed.

"The website owner must give notice of the terms before the parties enter into a contract," the Tribunal ruled. "Here, I find it unproven that Lust 4 Luxury Tours provided such notice to New Monaco Enterprise before it entered into the contract."

The Tribunal ruled there was no indication the tour company told the developer about a cancellation policy and the invoice had no mention of a cancellation policy.

"Aside from the isolated and cropped screenshot, there is little evidence about where the cancellation policy was on Lust 4 Luxury's website, how one could navigate to it, or whether it was prominently displayed," the Tribunal ruled.

The Tribunal ruled the cancellation policy was inapplicable, however, that still didn't mean the developer was off the hook.

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The Tribunal said it would be "disproportionate" to award Lust 4 Luxury the full price of the cancelled tour, but the company hadn't provided evidence of how much it was out-of-pocket or what profit it planned on making.

Outside of a non-refundable deposit of $107 for a tour bus, the Tribunal ruled it didn't have a precise number on which to base compensation.

However, the Tribunal noted that the invoice said an eight percent service fee wasn't refundable.

"Given the lack of other evidence, I find this is a rough estimate of its expected profit margin," the Tribunal ruled. "I find that Lust 4 Luxury is entitled to a service fee of 8% of $6,100, or $488."

Adding the non-refundable bus deposit plus fees, the Tribunal ruled New Monaco Enterprise pay the tour company $700, including fees, not the $5,000 it was hoping for.

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The Tribunal also dismissed a claim by the developer for $1,500 for time spent on the dispute and rejected an argument from Lust 4 Luxury that the individual company directors were responsible for the money.

— This story was corrected at 10:57 a.m. Wednesday, June 14, 2023, to say that it was New Monaco Enterprise that made a $1,500 claim for time spent on the dispute not Lust 4 Luxory Tours.

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