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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I run self catering holiday accommodation. One guest reserved

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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?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Why did you lose £186?
Customer: replied 2 years 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'
Are you going to be able to sell her 7 nights to somebody else?
Customer: replied 2 years 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.
Did you offer cancellation rights?
Customer: replied 2 years 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)
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 2 years 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
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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