Hi, this is Jim. Thanks for your question.
If a hotel cancels then you are due a refund unless you accept a voucher in lieu of the refund. In your situation the voucher has no use, so you are entitled a refund. Otherwise the hotel is in breach of contract in not paying you back here.
I would recommend that you send them a formal letter before action to demand a refund within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them. See attached template as an example of what to say. Please let me know if you cannot see the letter which I have uploaded. You will need to tailor this letter to your situation.
You may also want to threaten a report to Trading Standards (who can be contacted on 0808(###) ###-####.
You will need to register at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site. Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.
You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment. The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim.
If you are on a low income or have low savings (or in receipt of benefits), you can ask the court for a fee remission so you do not have to pay the court issue fee.
If you are eligible, let me know as you cannot use the online money claims site – you have to use the paper method, which is an N1 claim form sent to the County Court Money Claims Centre (I have a copy, let me know if you would like one).
If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs if they ignored the CCJ.
You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.
I hope this helps and answers your question - if you have any questions or need clarification please do let me know.