Hello, thanks for your question. My name's XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with it.
Can I first ask you, in what circumstances was the contract made (e.g. did you book this on the phone from a brochure, online or in a travel agent premises)? Thanks
On the phone from a brochure sent through with my copy of the British Legion magazine. The email confirmation form the travel company. Contract was received 2nd Sept in the post.
Apologies if you've been kept waiting. As no other expert has picked this up during the course of the afternoon, I will continue, if that'sOK with you.
The Distance Selling Regulations provide for a 7 day statutory cooling off period. However, this cooling off period does not apply to certain agreements. A contract for a package holiday would be one of them, so I’m afraid that no 7 day cooling off period would apply here.
With respect to the fact that you paid on a credit card, under s.75 you would be provided with certain additional protection. However, the sorts of circumstances that provide protection (e.g. if the holiday company went into liquidation) do not include cancellations such as this. Also, s.75 does not avail a credit card user of any cooling off period.
This means that when it comes to cancellation of holidays in these circumstances there are no special implied cooling off protections.
However (looking at your reason for your cancellation), if you can show that certain information was not provided to you before the contract was completed, it may not be enforceable, entitling you to a refund. In essence, certain information MUST be provided to you in accordance with the Package Holiday Regulations. These include information regarding the accommodation, meals and itinerary and they must be provided in the brochure in order for the contract to be legally binding. Also essential details regarding matters such as visas and health precautions are also required. So if any of these were missing, you may have an argument to avoid the contract and claim a refund. I say this because it looks like something wasn’t transparent before you signed up, which (due to your wife's condition) has meant that you to need to cancel.
Finally, I should point out that the fact that the cancellation terms were not made known until after you paid is not fatal to the tour operator, as there is generally no legal obligation to provide a refund where a valid contract has been completed and there is no cooling off period. However, having said this, there is consumer protection under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA) which operates to void certain terms that unjustly enrich a business or permit it to charge financial "penalties" (i.e. by including unfairly excessive cancellation fees). The argument is that these exceed their actual losses, particularly where the holiday could be sold to someone else.
10 weeks is quite a long period for which a customer would be liable for the whole cost of the holiday but, to be completely honest, one can never be confident of the court finding in your favour under UCTA. However, it may be worth mentioning aspart of a strongly worded letter (along with any relevant information that was missing when you originally signed up which only became clear later - as described above).
Can I help you with anything else? Can I clarify anything in this infromation for you?
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