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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Morning. In December 2013 I paid a deposit of pounds sterling

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Morning. In December 2013 I paid a deposit of pounds sterling 1557 to a woman in London as a 50% deposit on her rental property in Switzerland. I found the property through the holiday rental site HOMEANDAWAY and we agreed to rent her chalet in Switzerland for one week in August 2014. She received my deposit and confirmed receipt (or rather, her agent, also her sister, did). We have made plans for friends and family etc to join us. Last night I received a call from the Agent to say "sorry, but we have rented the chalet out for 6 months so you cannot stay there as planned". They sent a list of other available properties. Most are smaller and are apartments (not what we want), we had booked a large and luxurious chalet and they have, with exception of one other large chalet, only been able to come up with much smaller apartments. None are suitable.

My questions:

a. Are they legally allowed to simply renege on this deal? No signed contracts but email trail, and acceptance of my deposit.The Agent also told me that they had had to cancel other weekly tenants, in same position as us.
b. I would like to ask for the refund of my deposit with interest and a penalty. I would have not have been able to cancel this reservation without a penalty and feel the same is probably applicable to them. Again, no written contact between us.
c. Any other advice?

Thank you so much,


You could argue that a binding contract was implied when you made the booking and paid your deposit which they accepted. They may terminate the contract, as can you, but due to the lack of terms and conditions, you do not know what the cancellation terms are.

Yes, you may ask for the refund of your deposit, plus interest plus a reasonable amount to enable you to secure suitable equivalent alternative accommodation. You need to work out what this figure is and justify to them why you are seeking it.

You should tell them that you intend to commence legal proceedings against them if they fail to put you back in the same position you would have been had they not cancelled the contract.

Hope this helps
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