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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71040
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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If I booked a holiday cottage in the uk for a 1 week stay and

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If I booked a holiday cottage in the uk for a 1 week stay and the owner confirmed the booking to me. I paid the money to the owner by bank transfer. Can I cancel the booking and get a refund if the dates are no longer suitable to me. There were no cancellation T&Cs sent to me by the owner but they do exist on his website.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Can I presume that you did not agree cancellation rights?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No I did not agree any cancellation arrangements as they were not sent to me or referred to in the booking cancellation.

How much notice have you given him?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I gave him just under 8 weeks notice to cancel the booking. His T&CS say that where full amount is paid and we are within 8 weeks of the booking then he withholds 1/3rd and refunds the balance (2/3rds) if he is successful in reletting the Cottage.


His terms and conditions are a non issue. He cannot just have blanket terms like that.

However, you do not appear to have rights of cancellation. That will mean that cancelling at this stage is a breach of contract and you are liable for his loss. There is no way around it. Even if you did the deal by distance, this is a sale of a service of tourism and leisure and that is exempt from the distance selling regulations.

That said, he is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement for you. He does have 8 weeks to do that. That may or may not be possible. If it is not possible then you are liable for the full amount. If it is possible then he has a claim for a small amount in admin costs and no more.

If he relets the cottage then he cannot just claim a third from that. That is just plain a fine which is void under UCTA.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


Very helpful and what I suspected. Just hope he can relet the week we cancelled and give us most of our money back.


One final question. The contract that I am breaching, when did the contract actually come into existence. Was it the point I confirmed I wished to book the cottage. The point at which he sent me an email confirming the booking (dates, number of people and the cost etc) or the point at which he received the money from me.


Thank you

Even if he cannot relet it you can always ask him to prove that he has looked. Its quite unlikely that he cant find a replacement in 8 weeks if he is really trying.

The point at which you confirmed is the start date.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry Jo a final final question.


It was actually my wife who made the original enquiry, confirmed that she wished to book so I guess the contract is between her and the cottage owner.


From what you say we would be wasting our time but if we did decide to proceed with a small claim (£470) does my wife have to be the Claimant since she entered the contract or can I act as Claimant on her behalf.



No, I think you do have a case but you are right. She should be the claimant.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry Jo confused, why do you think now that we have a case when earlier you said we were in breach of a contract.



But the issue is not breach of contract but the sum of loss. He has 8 weeks to relet this.