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Nicola-mod
Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
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We are a small walking tours company and we have offered walking

Customer Question

We are a small walking tours company and we have offered walking holidays in Cuba. We offered flights which we booked through a third party (Bravo Fly). One of our customers extended his trip by two days and stayed on at a hostel in Havana. I told him that he would not have to pay for the additional two nights but the hosts in Havana asked him to pay them directly. I had forgotten that I said he would not have to pay so, when approached by my contacts in Havana, I told him he would have to pay. On return he sent me a complaint and I said I would reimburse him the cost of the stay - €61.08. He has now written: This payment makes no provision for holiday time lost, upset, and breach of contract. You have also not apologised for your extraordinary action in refusing to meet the costs agreed and leaving us without cover for the last two nights of the holiday.

"I will settle for an apology, the repayment of one day's holiday cost of 225 Euro and the refund of 61 Euro to cover the last two nights'
accommodation bill we had to meet, to be agreed by close of business today. This is extremely reasonable and probably puts the cost of our trip at about the same as the other travellers. Failing agreement I will escalate my claim to the relevant trade associations and the European Small Claims Court." He has also written:

"As I am now starting my procedures to recover compensation from you, I would appreciate it if you would send me your operator's licence reference numbers from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL) and the Irish Civil Aviation Regulator. I wish to quote these in my submission documents to the European Small Claims Court. The costs of these proceedings will be added to the amount claimed.

As I understand the regulations, it is a criminal offence for a tour/travel operator to offer packages including flights without these licences. Under Irish regulations, which apply as our flights originated in Ireland, a bond must also be entered into with the Civil Aviation Regulator. I was unable to find any reference to Walk-Andalucia on either web site so please email me the licence reference numbers."

These flights were booked through an ABTA bonded third party.

Can you advise whether he has a case?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

To confirm the only thing he was asked to do was pay for the extra stay - that's it?

Alex Watts :

Do you offer package holidays or just offer to book the travel on their behalf?

JACUSTOMER-oul9zp80- :

I confirm that the only thing he was asked to do was pay for the extra stay.

JACUSTOMER-oul9zp80- :

I have offered package holidays to Cuba and have booked travel on behalf of these customers via a third party. Our website says: We can arrange flights from a range of airports including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Dublin & Belfast. Please contact us for more information and prices.

JACUSTOMER-oul9zp80- :

When I book flights via a third party I usually do so in the name of the client but, unfortunately, on this occasion I booked direct through Walk Andalucia.

Alex Watts :

If you are meant to be licenced there is nothing HE can do about this. He can NOT sue you for that, it would be a matter for the authorities.

Alex Watts :

But in terms of his loss and compensation if he was only asked to pay to the stay and you offered that back - that is all he can claim for.

Alex Watts :

There is hardly any stress or inconvenience as a result of this.

Alex Watts :

But you may wish to take a commercial view - if you were meant to be licenced and you want to keep this quiet you may wish to pay him off.

Alex Watts :

However if you do not intend to be bullied or blackmailed then give him his actual extra costs back and say see you in Court.

Alex Watts :

If it went to Court then a Judge would not look at whether you were licenced because he actually got the holiday he paid for.

Alex Watts :

The Judge would only look at was there a breach and if so what was the loss as a result.

Alex Watts :

The loss here is clear, the extra cost to the traveller. You said you would pay him for this which is quite reasonable.

Alex Watts :

He would then have to justify any additional loss to the Judge and I can not see he has one.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Just a quick reminder, there is an unrated answer waiting for you here from the Professional.

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Thank you,
Nicola

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