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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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A client of mine recently booked (and paid for) holiday accommodation

Resolved Question:

A client of mine recently booked (and paid for) holiday accommodation on the Isle of Wight. This accommodation was advertised through the TripAdvisor site though I don't know if they also advertised through other sites. Unfortunately my client ended up in and out of hospital for several days and the specialist said she could not go on the holiday as the hospitals ion the island were not specialised enough should she have further problems (she has a shunt in her head to drain excess brain fluid).
My client's mother contacted the accommodation as soon as she knew (a week before the client was due to arrive) but their response was that there could not be any refund of the payment and they wouldn't even offer a 'credit note' so that she could rebook the accommodation at a later date.
Is this legal? I was under the impression that, if people advertise their accommodation there is a legal obligation involved that gives some protection to those paying for it?
The owner also said they advertise that 'no monies can be refunded' but, despite trawling through their advertisement I can find nowhere that this is stated.
Are there any options open for my client please?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the booking made directly with the accommodation?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ben,

The booking was done through the client's mother as she administers the finances (disability benefit Direct payments) and she's not sure but she thinks the booking was done directly through the person. Could you give an answer for either scenario please?

I'm at work so picking up your responses is limited sorry.

Kind regards

Jessie

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jessie, the legal position is that if a booking was made and confirmed there would be a legally binding contract between the two parties where one confirms their stay and the owner of the accommodation guarantees the space. If the customer then does not proceed with their stay, they would technically be acting in breach of contract, just in the same way as if the owner had cancelled the booking and left the customer in the lurch. In terms of getting a refund, the law does not automatically allow that, however at the same time it does not allow the owner just to keep the fees regardless of the circumstances. They would be entitled to cover any losses they have suffered as a result of the cancellation, such as for lost business if they cannot get another booking to cover the original one. However, if they have managed to get a replacement they would not be operating at a loss and as such should not be allowed to keep the full fees. They could still deduct any expenses they have incurred as a result of the cancelation such as difference in booking price or costs for re-advertising or reasonable administrative costs. If they try and keep the full fees in these circumstances then it could amount to a penalty clause which is unlawful. That is because they would effectively be penalising the customer for their cancelation and making a profit out of it, rather than just covering their costs associated with the cancelation. If the room was re-advertised but it was impossible to get a replacement then they could keep the full amount as they would have lost the fees for the whole stay because they had a confirmed booking which did not materialise. So the key really is whether a replacement customer was found to take the booking which was cancelled. If one was found then a refund should be issued, minus any costs incurred in the process. The owner would have had a duty to try and mitigate their losses by ensuring the availability was re-advertised so if they did not do that and automatically just kept the fees without making attempts to re-let it then again that would go against them. They can contact the owner to enquire about the above and determine if they have grounds to request a refund. If they do but the owner is refusing to do so then they can consider taking the matter further, such as to the small claims court. Obviously it is not ideal to have to take legal action but if they feel strongly about it and wish to try and get the money back, that would be their next step. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46227
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

That's great thanks Ben. It gives my client a clear understanding of their position.

Many thanks for your assistance.

Kind regards

Jessie

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome. If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

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