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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70531
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I run self catering holiday accommodation. One guest reserved

Resolved Question:

I run self catering holiday accommodation. One guest reserved a month, then changed to two weeks and finally one week, which she paid me for. Now she has cancelled and wants a full refund. In the meantime I lost £186 due to her reserving dates but not confirming her booking. Do I have to refund her in full?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Why did you lose £186?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
While waiting for this guest to confirm which two weeks she wanted to book in November, another guest requested accommodation. He wanted 3 nights over two consecutive weeks. I explained that I was waiting to hear confirmation from guest 1. I emailed her asking for firm dates on October 21st she didn't reply until October 28th, saying she understood that I couldn't wait for her to confirm. In the meantime guest 2 booked elsewhere. I lost the 3 nights which amounted to £186. I finally offered guest 1 accommodation which was not being advertised so that her date confirmation was not so crucial. She agreed and booked 7 nights from November 13th. After receiving payment but before I could email her receipt, she said she needed to cancel due to prior commitment. I usually take final payment for bookings 6 weeks before booked date. In the email which acts as a receipt, I explain that cancellation during this 6 week period cannot be refunded unless the cottage is rebooked during that time. She did not receive this information and now insists on a full refund as her 'consumer right'
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Are you going to be able to sell her 7 nights to somebody else?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. This is an empty flat which is awaiting a new long-term tenant who arrives on November 28th. I suggested this might be the easiest option for her and the all inclusive tariff was £200. I don't dispute that I am losing revenue on this secondary accommodation, but that because of all the changes, I lost revenue on my advertised cottage accommodation from Novemebr 2nd to Novemeber 5th and feel I should be entitled to some compensation. Airbnb where she made her original request, can confirm that she asked for a month - from November 3rd to November 30th. So actually I suppose I'm asking for recognition of inconvenience & income lost.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Did you offer cancellation rights?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. This booking just didn't follow the usual routine: it started through Airbnb. Had she booked a cottage through them, their cancellation policy would apply - and I'm not sure I know what that is! Full refund if cancelled with 24hr notice or for bookings of a week or more, 50% refund.
However, this unit I offered is not listed with Airbnb as its a private flat. 99% of my bookings are conventionally booked months in advance. 1/3 deposit which is fully refundable if cancellation takes place before the final payment 6 weeks before booked date. This was all very last minute and t&cs not discussed ( I have to leave now for an appointment. Will be back online in an hour or so)
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
You are not under any duty to provide any refund at all.
She has booked and cancelled when she has no rights to do so.
You are under a duty to try to mitigate your loss by seeking a replacement but actually this booking is imminent and you can only do what is humanely possible so realistically it is not likely to be done.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. So would you confirm that standard consumer rights which she is attempting to utilise, do not apply here? In the interest of goodwill, I tend to offer a 50% refund (£100) but wanted to be sure that I am not obliged to offer more
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
She doesn't have a consumer right to a full refund in this instance.
The distance selling regulations don't apply to tourism and leisure.
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