Terms and Conditions
Terms & Conditions of Oyster Worldwide Limited (“Oyster”)
- These terms and conditions were published on 18 January 2017 and apply to all bookings made on or after that date. They are the basis of your legally binding contract between you and Oyster. You must read them carefully and make sure you understand them. You must read paragraphs 26-38 particularly carefully.
- All applications are made to Oyster Worldwide Limited referred to in this document as “Oyster”, “we” or “us”. You are referred to as “you” and “the Applicant”. When we refer to the payment of money we mean the time when the money is actually in our account. Payment is not made simply when an uncleared cheque is offered to us.
- All applicants for our programmes are bound by these terms and conditions. As an applicant, you are personally bound by these terms and conditions when you agree to them on the Oyster Members Area (‘My Oyster’). If you are under 18 at the time of booking a parent or next of kin must also sign to agree.
- You accept that any written information supplied to you, or anything we have told you about the programme you have applied for has been given to you in good faith and is based on what we knew and believed to be correct when we published the written material or told you what we said.
Our Responsibility to You
- We are responsible to you for ensuring that the travel arrangements we make when you apply to and book with us are as we described they would be in our written material and in any conversations we have with you, and are of a reasonable standard.
- We are responsible for the service that our representatives abroad offer to you.
- We insure against the risk of breaching our obligations to you for benefit and peace of mind.
Applications, Bookings and the Payments you must make
- After you have applied for a particular programme we shall tell you whether or not your application has been successful as quickly as possible. We shall try to tell you in the same week as you made the application but cannot guarantee that we will. If your application is not successful we will offer you an alternative programme. You do not have to accept the alternative programme if you do not want to. A confirmed place on a programme is called “a booking” in these terms and conditions.
- We do not currently ask for an interview or application deposit however, we reserve the right to do so. These payments will be deducted from the full price of your programme and are not extra charges.
- When booking your programme you will be asked for a first payment of £180 (unless an application or interview deposit has been paid, see point 9). There are occasions when the initial payment may vary. Initial payment details will be clear at the time of booking.
- You must pay a second payment of £450 six months before departure (or at time of booking, if booking within six months of departure) and the final payment, which represents the balance owed to Oyster, on or before the 90th day before your date of departure (or at time of booking, if booking within 90 days of departure). So for example, if your departure date is 1 September, you must pay the final instalment on or before 12 June (you do not count the actual day of departure). The amount of the final instalment will depend on the programme you have chosen. There are occasions where the final payment date may be set closer to departure. This will be made clear on your payment schedule.
Requirement to use My Oyster
- When you are offered a place by Oyster, you will be set up with an account on My Oyster, our online Members Area.
- My Oyster is an integral part of your booking with Oyster. It is the place where you will have access to key details about your project and information you need to provide, but also to important information regarding your health and safety overseas.
- You will be notified by email when new information is added to My Oyster.
- It is your responsibility to notify Oyster if you cannot access your My Oyster account, have questions regarding the content or if you need to receive the information in a different format.
- We will have provided you with the information that you require for your trip. You are required to read the information carefully before departure. If we do not believe that you have read the information, we reserve the right to cancel your trip and terminate your contract with us.
You Cancelling, not Paying or Changing your Dates
- If you do not pay any of the payments on time we reserve the right to regard your application as cancelled and to offer your place on the programme to someone else. We may terminate the booking and do not have to refund to you the payments made to date.
- If you really have to cancel your application or your booking, you can. You must tell us in writing. However, if you do, you will not be refunded the deposit or any of the instalments you have made. Once you have cancelled we are entitled to treat them as at an end. If you change your mind you will have to make a fresh application.
- If you need to change your dates, we may incur a fee from our partners. This will be passed on to you.
- We shall not cancel your booking unless we have to for reasons which are beyond our reasonable control.
- If we have to cancel your booking for reasons which are beyond our reasonable control not less than fourteen days before the planned date of your departure (not counting the day of departure) we shall try to place you on another programme which is similar to the cancelled one, if you want. We cannot promise that we shall be able to do so, but we shall try. If we succeed in placing you on another programme you must pay for any and all extra costs and expenses involved in that.
- If we have to cancel your booking for reasons which are beyond our control less than fourteen days before the planned date of departure (not counting the day of departure) we are under no obligation to try to place you on another programme. However, if we are able, having made reasonable efforts, to recover any costs or expenses as a result of this cancellation we shall pass what properly ought to be passed to you as soon as we can.
Your Financial Protection
- In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992” all applicants booking with Oyster are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Oyster. You will either be covered by our ATOL or by IPP. See points 24 and 25 for details.
- For applicants that we book flights for, we have an ATOL and our number is 9598.
- When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.
- We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).
- If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.
- If we do not organise your flights you will receive financial protection through our bond with IPP (International Passenger Protection).
- There is no requirement for Financial Protection of day trips, and none is provided. This insurance is only valid for packages booked that DO NOT include flights.
- Consumer aware: Your booking is insured by IPP Ltd and its panel of insurers. – This insurance is only valid for passengers who book and pay directly with/to Oyster Worldwide Ltd. If you have booked and/ or paid direct to a Travel Agent for a holiday with Oyster Worldwide Ltd please request proof of how the booking is secured as this will not be covered by IPP Ltd in this instance.
- This Insurance has been arranged by International Passenger Protection Limited and underwritten by Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s. For further information please go to www.ipplondon.co.uk
Insurance, Disclaimer and Limits of our Liability. PLEASE READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY
- We shall maintain professional indemnity insurance in respect of all our obligations to you.
- Before you depart on your programme you must have taken out adequate insurance to cover personal accident, medical and hospital expenses and the costs of repatriation. This insurance must also cover cancellation, curtailment, personal luggage, legal expenses, personal liability, medical and emergency travel (including helicopter evacuation). That insurance must cover you for all the time you are on your programme and, we recommend, a further month after the planned end of the programme. We reserve the right to ask you to prove to us that you have taken out this insurance. We also reserve the right not to allow you on the programme if you cannot prove that to us.
- You should not undertake activities precluded by your insurance.
- We strongly recommend that you take out full, comprehensive, personal travel insurance to cover such things as the loss, damage or theft of personal possessions and the costs of your emergency return back to your home country as well as cover for foreign office advice against travel. You may also wish to consider insuring against the risk of you not being able to pay either the first, second or final payments, or the booking or programme being cancelled either by us or by you.
- We recommend that you take out your insurance cover before you book your flights or pay Oyster your second instalment, whichever is sooner. This is your responsibility and Oyster will not remind you to do this.
- If you have to make a claim on your insurance policy you must make it to your insurers. We shall try to help if your insurers require any further information that we can reasonably give to them.
- You, not we, are responsible for any excess on your insurance cover and for any shortfall in cover.
- We are not liable to you or any third party for any inadequacy in insurance cover you take out or for the loss or theft of your personal property. Under no circumstances or at any time shall we lend you money.
- YYou acknowledge and accept that programmes of the kind organised by Oyster involve a degree of personal risk to life and limb. You recognise that they are, potentially, dangerous or have dangerous elements to them. You accept all the risks involved in making such programmes. We, our representatives and employees are not responsible for your personal health and safety when you are on a programme. We, our representatives and employees are not liable to you in any way whatsoever for any personal injury or damage to property or loss of life that may be caused either to you or by you when you are on a programme (including any travelling to or from a programme). If any claim is made against us, our representatives or employees in respect of any such personal injury or damage to property or loss of life caused to you or by you, you or your personal representatives agree to indemnify and hold us harmless in respect of such a claim.
- We, our employees and representatives are not liable or responsible to you for (a) any failure to perform or delay in performance of our obligations under this Agreement or (b) any loss or damage or personal injury or death caused by (i) Act of God or (ii) outbreak of hostilities, riot, acts of war, acts of terrorism or civil disturbance or (iii) the act of any government or authority (including the revocation of any licence or consent including Visas) or (iv) bad weather, fog, fire, explosion, flood, border closures or (v) industrial action of any kind, strike, lock-out, malicious damage, criminal activity of any kind including theft, mechanical breakdown or failure by suppliers or contractors or (vi) your own act or omissions or (vii) the acts or omissions of a third party not connected with us and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable or (viii) any cause or circumstance whatsoever which is beyond our reasonable control or we could not have foreseen even with due care.
- We do not promise that what we have informed you in our printed material or in other way is true and accurate in every respect. However, we believe it is true and accurate in every respect. Every care is taken in the preparation of our written materials and what is said to you by us; however, events may suddenly change and where that is beyond our control we cannot accept liability for that.
- We do not exclude liability to you for any fraudulent misrepresentation.
- The limit on damages recoverable by you from us as a result of our failure to perform this Agreement is limited to the total of the deposit (or first payment) and the second and final instalments that you paid.
Health and Fitness
- You are responsible for making sure you are physically, mentally and emotionally fit before starting your programme. You are responsible for making sure you have taken all necessary vaccinations including the most appropriate anti-malarial treatments (if applicable). We reserve the right to ask you to prove to us that you have done all this by producing, for example, an original doctor’s certificate of fitness. You must obtain International Certificates of Vaccination which are valid for the entire duration of the programme, which we also reserve the right to inspect.
- You must complete a medical declaration form honestly and fully detailing any previous physical or mental medical issues at the time of booking. We reserve the right to ask for a doctor’s letter to be provided before confirming your booking.
- You must disclose to us any pre-existing medical conditions. We do not want to stop you from participating on the trip but want to be able to assist you. If you fail to disclose any pre-existing medical condition, that then affects you on the trip, you will be liable for any extra costs involved.
- If you are ill while you are abroad you must consult your host for local medical assistance and, where appropriate, notify your insurers. We and our representatives will offer what assistance we can but the ultimate responsibility for ensuring your health and well-being rests with you.
- If you take prescription medication, it is your responsibility to bring sufficient supplies, store them appropriately and ensure that you are taking the appropriate dose.
Passports and Visas
- We shall advise you on the visa you may need. This may include the provision of application forms, advice about filling them in and offering letters of invitation. However, you are personally responsible for completing the application forms and obtaining these documents on time including making any personal attendances at embassies or government departments. Please remember that embassies decide whether or not a visa is issued, not us. We are not responsible for any unsuccessful application for a passport or visa or any delay in obtaining one.
- You are responsible for ensuring that your passport is valid and in date for the duration of your trip, including any extra time as dictated by your destination’s passport policy.
Dismissal from Programme, Breaking the Law and Misconduct
- You are responsible for all aspects of your behaviour while on a programme and must adhere to the Code of Conduct.
- If you are disciplined or dismissed while on the programme, you must tell us immediately, depending on the circumstances, and at our discretion, we shall offer what assistance we can. However, we reserve the right to terminate our agreement with you without notice (subject to any right of appeal you may have). You are responsible for any legal expenses you may incur.
- If you are charged with any offence or are arrested for whatever reason, you must tell us as soon as reasonably practicable. Depending on the circumstances, and at our discretion, we shall offer what assistance we can. If you are found by a Court to have broken the law of the host country (whether civil or criminal) we reserve the right to terminate our agreement with you without notice.
- If you behave in such a way in your host country that you impugn the reputation of Oyster or its representatives or damage our relationships with people there, we reserve the right to terminate our agreement with you without notice and our rights and remedies against you are fully reserved. In cases where we decide not to terminate the agreement without notice, we shall instead issue you with a final warning. In the event that you cause a similar infraction we shall terminate your agreement with us.
- If you choose to leave your Oyster programme or employment and find other work without first seeking our assistance, we reserve the right to terminate our agreement with you without notice.
- You may leave the programme for short or extended periods at your own risk. This is referred to as ‘downtime’. For example, you might want to go away for the weekend or longer, or stay the night away from your usual accommodation. If you choose to do this Oyster will not be liable for your safety and well-being (although we would do all we could to help if trouble arose). You must follow agreed procedures for notifying others of your plans and ensure you return when expected (and in time for work). You must also ensure that you buy adequate insurance if you intend to do any independent travel or high-risk activities.
- We must pass the information you provide to us about yourself to the suppliers of the arrangements we organise for you both here and abroad, such as your name and address, your sex, medical history and any special requirements you may have. This information may also be provided for customs or immigration purposes or provided to others according to law.
- We may use your photos, written articles and quotes for bona fide promotional purposes, whether these are posted on social media or sent to us directly. Please let us know if you would rather we did not do this.
- If you have a complaint about us or the services we offer you must (a) as soon as reasonably practicable raise it with our representative in the host country who will try to resolve your complaint in a reasonable period of time. If you are still not satisfied, or the complaint was not resolved in a reasonable period of time you must (b) raise it with Oyster’s head office in the UK as soon as you can. If your complaint is still not resolved or resolved within a reasonable period of time you must (c) raise it with Oyster’s head office within 28 days of your return to your home country or 35 days of the completion date of the programme, whichever is the sooner.
- We always aim to resolve any complaints you may have. If you feel that your complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved you can refer your complaint to the Year Out Group (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use the independent arbitration scheme – the Dispute Settlement Service (www.disputesettlementservices.co.uk/). There is a small cost that both you and Oyster will need to pay to raise a claim with the Dispute Settlement Service. The claim needs to be raised with the Year Out Group or Dispute Settlement Services within 90 days of the completion date of your programme. The decision of the arbitration service is final.
- We are not liable to you in respect of any complaint where you have not followed this procedure.
Law and Jurisdiction
- This Agreement is governed and construed in accordance with English law. Both you and we submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.