How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JimLawyer Your Own Question
JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15461
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
97337639
Type Your Law Question Here...
JimLawyer is online now

We are booked on P&O cruise G139 departing on 11th December.

This answer was rated:

We are booked on P&O cruise G139 departing on 11th December. When we booked, the cruise was due to visit Hamburg which was our principal reason for booking ie. major city shopping & Christmas markets.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: We have recently been advised that the ship will not be allowed to dock in Hamburg & P&O have told us that they will call at St. Malo as an alternative.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have referred to the company's "Terms & Conditions". Clause 1 refers to "unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances" resulting in a failure to provide any part of the itinerary which the non-visit to Hamburg clearly is.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Clause 38 allows the guest the right to cancel without financial loss where Clause 1 applies. I have spoken to a P&O supervisor who is quoting Clause 40 -"necessary alterations" - "most alterations will not be significant" which allows the company not to make a refund on cancellation. Substituting a visit to a French channel port is clearly a very significant alteration. P&O do not accept this & say that cancellation will incur a

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

You paid for a service which is not as described, therefore you can demand a refund due to breach of your consumer rights. You do have strong rights - under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

I agree with your interpretation of the booking terms and conditions - it is a major deviation in my view.

I recommend you ask your bank or credit card provider to refund you first of all - they may be able to do this which would be quicker than trying to obtain a refund from P&O.

If the bank or card company cannot help, you will need to pursue P&O for the refund.

In order to try and resolve the dispute without having to pursue court action, a formal letter before action should be drafted and sent, to demand payment within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them. Their address: Carnival House, 100 Harbour Parade, Southampton, SO15 1ST.

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. The pre action protocol confirms you should send the letter to give the other party a chance to avoid court action and to pay you. The courts encourage compliance with the protocol as it can result in a resolution without having to involve the court.

You may also want to threaten a report to Trading Standards (who can be contacted via this site: Contacts).

If you decided to issue a claim, you would then need to register at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome 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 generally not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. This means the parties are on an equal footing, so you don’t need to worry about legal costs if you lost.

A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.
Here is a user guide for the money claim online site: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1020660/mcol-userguide-eng.pdf

The court will then issue the claim and they will send you "notice of issue". The papers are served on the defendant who then has 14 days to acknowledge the claim - they do this by filling out an acknowledgment of service and they post it to the court. They indicate their intention when they do this, i.e. whether they admit the claim in full or partly, or if they deny the claim. If they want to defend the claim then their defence is due by 28 days from the date the court served them with the papers. The central court processing centre then sends the claim to the defendant's home county court for case management and directions - the directions will give a list of dates which you both must comply with.

If there is no settlement then the claim will be dealt with at a final hearing which takes anything from 9 to 12 months from when you start the claim - longer if the claim is higher value. You can pursue the claim yourself or use a law firm. For the hearing you can use an advocate if you wish, though it's not compulsory. I have details of law firms and advocacy agencies if you would like those. Though in a small claim you won't be able to recover their charges from your opponent. A small claims hearing is easy to do, it's quite informal and no lawyer is required.

Claims between £10,000 and £25,000 are subject to fixed costs only so if you lose then the risk is minimal. Further, the money claim website allows you to sue for an amount up to £100,000.

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5: EX50 - Civil and Family Court fees) and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment.

So for example if you were owed £10,000, interest would be £2.20 per day, which you can also claim.

The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim. If a hearing is required then there is a fee for this too - see page 7 of the previous link for details. Again, that fee is recoverable if you win.

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.

The online site for applying for the fee exemption is here: www.gov.uk/get-help-with-court-fees

Please note if you do qualify for a fee exemption, you cannot use the money claim online site - instead you would need the paper N1 claim form (let me know if you would like a copy) as well as the EX160 fee exemption form which goes with the N1 claim form - then posted to court.

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 or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), application to wind up the company if £750 or more is owed (if suing a limited company), apply to summons them to court for questioning, all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.

(insert their name and address) (insert date)

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sirs,

Re: Claim for (insert sum)

I refer to the above matter. (Insert details of the dispute). We specifically booked the trip given that the service was to stop in Hamburg for the Christmas Markets. You have changed this stop to another destination. It was the primary reason for booking - you now say that this is not a signifiant deviation and as such you refuse to refund us. We believe that you are in direct breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 given that your service is not "as described". We now demand a refund for £......

This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol.

I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against your company for my losses should I not receive payment in full by 4 pm on (insert date 14 calendar days). A report will also be made to Trading Standards given your flagrant breach of our consumer rights.

Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee and statutory interest. Should I succeed in obtaining a judgment, same will be transferred to the High Court for enforcement against you whereby further costs will be added to the judgment sum.

I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

(insert name)

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you