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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48209
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Good morning. Would you kindly give me your answer to a small

Resolved Question:

Good morning. Would you kindly give me your answer to a small matter. I booked a 4 day break for my husband and I in a B and B in a small guest house on our South Coast, paying a deposit of £95.00 which was for one day. This was in April and they ack by letter stating if I do not give 14 days notice of cancellation I was required to pay 60% of the total cost. Unfortunately, due to lack of funds because of two unexpected expenditure that came to us. I gave them 12 days notice and they still have the deposit. They were only able to get a booking of one person for one night paying £50.00.
They are coming to me for the 60%. Legally do I have to pay this, as I did not sign anything.
Can you please give me your expert ruling on this?
Thank you
Eilleen Coyne
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Generally, when a person places an order or reserves something and pays a deposit they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the seller. It is implied that the seller has accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the customer wants to proceed with the contract. Unless the seller subsequently commits a serious breach of contract, or there was a cancellation clause, the customer would have no legal right to cancel the agreement and if they do so they will be acting in breach of contract and risk losing their deposit. If this was a business owner, they will be subject to certain consumer rules and regulations. For example, you will have some protection under Schedule 2, Regulation 1(d) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. It states that if the contract has been cancelled after a deposit has been placed you are entitled to have the deposit returned in full, unless the business has spent time, effort and money, in which case they can deduct reasonable expenses. Even if some expenses have been incurred, if these are subsequently recovered, for example by re-letting the accommodation to someone else, the deposit should still be returned in full. It follows that a blanket non-refundable clause that entitles the seller to keep the deposit in all circumstances is most likely going to be unfair and unlawful. Saying that if they have actually lost money in the process they are entitled to keep all or part of the deposit to cover these. So in your case if you had booked a room for two which would have earned the business £95, and you cancelled in breach of the cancellation clause, if they then re-advertised it and only managed to get a single occupancy at a reduced rate you could be liable for the difference. So if the difference was £45 you are already liable for that amount plus any other expenses they may have incurred in the process of re-advertising and re-letting the accommodation. So by getting 40% back you are not far off from what you could expect to recover in this case as it is clear the business has incurred some losses as a result of your breach of contract. If you are having difficulties in recovering the remaining part of the deposit when you believe you are entitled to have it returned, advise the seller that you will not hesitate reporting them to the Office of Fair Trading and, if necessary, pursue the matter further through the county court. Exerting such pressure could often work in changing the seller's position in this matter. 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
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. I obviously did not make the situation clear for you. My husband and I booked a double room for 4 days at £95.00 per day and paid a deposit of £95.00. They are now saying that I am required to pay 60% of the cost of the full 4 days, less the deposit and the single one day booking of £50.00 as I had cancelled the booking. They say 60% is payable by me as I only gave 12 pays rather than the required 2 weeks. Do I need to pay the 60% as I had given the hotel 12 days notice?

Kindly give me an easy to understand answer, today if possible pleaseEilleen

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
I see, so we're the 4 days actually taken up by someone else?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Only 1 day when our double room was taken by a single person at £50.00. Tjere website says if you don't give 2 weeks cancellation people are required to pay 60% of the total price. I gave 12 days so do I have to pay the full 60%?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Well as mentioned earlier you have not followed the contract you had with them by giving less than the required notice. So whether you gave 13 days or 1 day’s notice you would have been in breach of contract. So they would be able to pursue you for any losses that they have incurred as a result of that breach. They would have been expected to try and minimise their losses by re-advertising the room but if it was not possible to get a replacement to cover your stay then they would have ended up with a loss because before you cancelled they had a confirmed booking. So you would be able to deduct any fees they have recovered such as the day that someone managed to get the room but for the rest you could be held liable for the costs they mention. The issue is that you cannot just be forced to pay – if you refuse then the only way for them to get that money is to take you to court and win – there is no guarantee they would actually go that far, they could threaten you but never actually go through with it. So you could take the risk of refusing to pay and see how far they decide to take it. That is unless they had a hold on your credit card where they were allowed to automatically charge the money to it, in which case they can do it without any court action.
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