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Max Lowry
Max Lowry, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1457
Experience:  LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
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We booked our honeymoon with Virgin Holidays through Thomas

Customer Question

We booked our honeymoon with Virgin Holidays through XXXXX XXXXX to Antigua in January 2012. We booked premium economy seats with a Seaside Cottage for two weeks due to depart 12th April 2013. The full balance was paid in August 2012 which is well before the deadline of 12 weeks before departure.

In the last week they have contacted us to say that the flight has moved back a day to the 13th and offered us £50 compensation. As we had already booked our airport hotel this was another cost incurred due to the fact that Premier Inn wouldn't amend or cancel and refund the booking and therefore we had to book another night at extra cost. This was annoying but we have dealt with it and moved on.

However today XXXXX XXXXX contact us to say that Virgin have said that for the last two days of the holiday we will be down graded and we will be charged £900 for the amendments that they have made. As you can probably imagine we are quite disappointed with this, especially the prospect of being charged £900 pounds for something which isn't our fault and for a downgraded product.

Could you please tell us what we are entitled to and how to get the holiday/honeymoon that we have worked hard for!

Regards

Terri Wipfler
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Max Lowry replied 3 years ago.

Max Lowry :

Hi, Terri, welcome to Just Answer. I will help you with your question.

Max Lowry :

The Package Travel Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 apply to your contract as it includes travel and accommodation.

Customer:

Hi Max, can you help?

Max Lowry :

The description in the brochure must be complied with, and a failure to do this, will be a breach of contract (Regulation 6).

Max Lowry :

- Yes, at least, I will try to -

Max Lowry :

Do you have the contract with you for the holiday?

Customer:

just finding it.

Max Lowry :

OKay - when you have it, find a section in the terms that deal with price revision for me.

Customer:

found it

Max Lowry :

Good. And what does the price revision section say?

Customer:


  • Your Holiday Price


    Virgin Holidays endeavour to ensure that the most up to date and correct prices are shown on our website (our brochures indicate a guide price) Virgin Holidays reserves the right to raise or lower their prices at any time. Occasionally, an incorrect price may be shown, due to an error. When Virgin Holidays become aware of any such error, we will endeavour to notify you at the time of booking (if we are then aware of the mistake) or as soon as reasonably possible. We reserve the right to cancel the booking if you do not wish to accept the price which is actually applicable to the holiday.


    In respect of Packages, changes in fees (including transportation costs, fuel costs, dues, taxes, fees such as landing taxes or embarkation/ disembarkation fees at ports/airports and exchange rates) and services mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked your holiday. However, there will be no change to the cost of your holiday within 30 days of departure. In relation to package holidays, we will absorb and you will not be charged for any increase equivalent to up to 2% of the price of your travel arrangements, which excludes insurance premiums and any amendment charges. You will be charged for the amount over and above that, plus an administration charge of £1.00 per person together with an amount to cover the agent’s commission. If this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 10% of the price of your travel arrangements (excluding insurance premiums and amendments charges), you will have the option of accepting a change to another holiday if we are able to offer one (if this is of equivalent or higher quality, you will not have to pay more but if it is of lower quality you will be refunded the difference in price), or cancelling and receiving a full refund of monies paid, except for any amendment charges and cancellation charges already incurred. We will consider an appropriate refund of insurance premiums paid if you can show that you are unable to transfer or reuse your policy. Should you decide to cancel for this reason, you must exercise your right to do so within 14 days from the issue date printed on your final invoice. Should the price of your holiday go down due to the changes mentioned above, by more than 2% of your holiday cost, then any refund due will be paid to you. However, please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency and some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection in place. The price of your travel arrangements was calculated using the rate of exchange rates on 10 May 2010 and known costs on that date.


    Air Passenger Duty


    Taxes and surcharges referred to on price panels throughout the website have been calculated to include the UK Government's Air Passenger Duty (reductions or increases may apply at the time of booking)



Max Lowry :

Okay - so this accords with the 1992 Regulations. So, why do they say there will be a £900 charge, what is the reason please?

Customer:

for the amendments they have made

Max Lowry :

And the amendments relate to different accommodation?

Customer:

same hotel but a lower grade cottage

Max Lowry :

Sounds a bit odd doesn't it - charging you more for less?

Max Lowry :

Anyway, the legal position is set out under Reg 11 of the 1992 Regulations in so far a price variation is concerned. It states:

Max Lowry :

Price revision


11.—(1) Any term in a contract to the effect that the prices laid down in the contract may be revised shall be void and of no effect unless the contract provides for the possibility of upward or downward revision and satisfies the conditions laid down in paragraph (2) below.


(2) The conditions mentioned in paragraph (1) are that—


(a)the contract states precisely how the revised price is to be calculated;


(b)the contract provides that price revisions are to be made solely to allow for variations in:—


(i)transportation costs, including the cost of fuel,


(ii)dues, taxes or fees chargeable for services such as landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or


(iii)the exchange rates applied to the particular package; and


(3) Notwithstanding any terms of a contract,


(i)no price increase may be made in a specified period which may not be less than 30 days before the departure date stipulated; and


(ii)as against an individual consumer liable under the contract, no price increase may be made in respect of variations which would produce an increase of less than 2%, or such greater percentage as the contract may specify, (“non-eligible variations”) and that the non-eligible variations shall be left out of account in the calculation.

Max Lowry :

Basically, the only price revision upwards can be in due to the things set out in (2)(a) above. You will note that accommodation changes does not apply.

Customer:

so unfortunately they are in the right and we have no leg to stand on?

Max Lowry :

So, if the airport where they were landing put its charges up, that would be allowed (and would probably be no more than £20 or so to you). Increasing price for different accommodation is not allowed.

Max Lowry :

NO.

Max Lowry :

They're NOT allowed to do as they're suggesting.

Max Lowry :

You have a contract - you have agreed the price.

Max Lowry :

The effect of the 1992 Regs is that they ARE NOT allowed to vary the price for the reason they're stating.

Max Lowry :

They can only vary for limited reasons, and none of those the law allows apply in your case.

Customer:

ok let me get this straight the only way they an increase the price is in the case of the airport costs increasing and that would be £20 or so. Changes in accommodation prices are not allowed end of story?

Max Lowry :

Correct.

Max Lowry :

Unless they were due to the exchange rate fluctuating - but it isn't that for £900!

Customer:

thankyou Max you have helped us immensley! Have a lovely evening.

Max Lowry, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1457
Experience: LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
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