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To think she shouldn't have to pay back this money, altho she technically owes it?

(19 Posts)
WhatKatieDid Wed 06-Jul-11 18:49:12

My sister, a recently single mum, has just been on holiday with a newish friend, also a single mum and their kids. My sister's DS is 2 and a bit, the friend's DS is 18months. Neither of them had ever been on holiday with their LOs before.

I know my sister had done a bit of basic research before into hotel reviews and general prices so they had an idea what they were looking at, don't know about her friend. They agreed on an approximate price and then booked up a holiday, together. My sister was the one who physically booked it as the other girl couldn't afford to pay for it until the week they went, so my sister paid for it and put it in her name then accepted post dated cheques from her (doing a favour really?) but they were in the other girl's house, using her laptop, and she was present and equally informed.

There wasn't an obvious breakdown in costs when booking, but they knew the 1 year old would fly half price as he'd share a seat and my sister double checked with his mum she was happy with that, or did she want a full price seat for him? She was happy, and when the room prices came up it appeared that she (who knows why?) was being charged more for her room than my sister so they agreed to split the cost of the holiday 50-50 as it was easier than doing a full complicated breakdown.

HOWEVER, whilst there, they discovered through talking to others that under 2s go free on holiday, something neither of them had known. So technically my sister with the 2 yr old should have paid more by nearly £300. This wasnt clear at all when booking, so is a genuine mistake. The other girl now expects her to pay it and my sister is in quite a state. She couldn't afford this much, she eBayed half her stuff to afford it in the first place, so it is not an exaggeration to say the money if paid back would come out of her Christmas and emergency savings. I know it is irrelevant really where the money came from, but the other girl had her holiday entirely paid for by her family so is not in such an extreme situation.

I'm really not sure what's right here, but this other girl seems to hold my sister responsible for this error as she was the one who technically booked it but, in my view, the other girl was there as well, she was in complete agreement at the time and any questions or research by her should've been done before the holiday! I don't see why she just expects my sister to know more than her about her own child. She is equally to blame for the mistake and so I feel it's too late to be rectifying it now. If she had been the one to put it in her name, undoubtedly the same decision would have been made to split it equally. I feel my sister is being punished for having done her a favour by facilitating her holiday in the first place. My sister is worried the other girl seems to think she has been deliberately conned as there is such a presumption she should have known better from the other girl - this is very definitely not the case.

That said, the other girl's argument is that she has now paid for half my nephew's holiday, which granted doesn't sound fair. I prefer to look at it that she paid for her DS when she didn't need to because she didn't adequately inform herself but I think it's a tricky one, admittedly!

Of course I'm biased toward my sister and feel bad for her that what should've been a lovely happy holiday for her after a really crappy couple of years has essentially been ruined by this. But I'd like to know what all you unbiased lot think so I can advise her as to whether or not to pay this money back?

Flisspaps Wed 06-Jul-11 18:52:30

If I were in your sister's shoes, I'd pay the money out of the emergency fund and go and have a nice time on the holiday with my friend.

WhatKatieDid Wed 06-Jul-11 18:54:57

They've already gone, they're back, it was discovered whilst on holiday that they shouldn't have paid for the 1 yr old and confirmed by getting in touch with the hol company for a complete breakdown on their return.

MadameCastafiore Wed 06-Jul-11 18:55:09

God yes of course she should pay it back!

You could equally look at it like your sister was stupid not looking at the prices etc as well as she should have.

SoupDragon Wed 06-Jul-11 18:56:40

I think she needs to pay it back really.

However, the baby may have been free but the friend would have been charged more for her room because of under occupancy - that's why her room was more expensive. I don't actually understand how your sister could owe her money if the friends room was more expensive. Surely by spitting the cost 50/50 your sister paid more than she should?

balia Wed 06-Jul-11 19:01:44

They need a proper breakdown of the costs, work out what each person's holiday cost, and go from there. If your sister owes her money, surely she could ask to pay back bit by bit as she allowed the other mum to do before they went.

Midge25 Wed 06-Jul-11 19:03:48

I disagree: I think both should put it down to experience and leave things as they are. Yes, £300 is a lot of money, but prior to realising the mistake both felt it was affordable (just) for them. And it is just that: a mistake. It seems a shame to let it cause a rift, especially when, from what the OP says, the friend who is 'out of pocket' actually had her holiday paid for by family, so it would be down to that family to ask for reimbursement, surely? Maybe if this friend is so insistent, your sis could offer to pay the money directly to the family member who covered the friend's hols in the first place....

suzikettles Wed 06-Jul-11 19:07:21

I agree with Soupdragon. If she's going to pay her friend back for the difference in child prices then none of this nonsense on going 50/50 on the more expensive room.

Pussinflatboots Wed 06-Jul-11 19:07:27

Contact the holiday company and ask for a refund of the baby's cost.
Or do what balia says.
Or chalk it up to life experience, pay it (in instalments as the friend did, perhaps), and in the future book separately.

WhatKatieDid Wed 06-Jul-11 19:23:41

That is my feeling exactly midge25, but I guess it's easy to feel that way from this side!! I feel like noones really out of pocket at the moment... That clears up the issue of the rooms being different prices, thanks soupdragon. The friend didn't seem to remember or believe this according to my sister, and my sister had no idea why it should be to help explain! In that case, it'd probably be less than £300 but I believe a mistake has still been made with regards to the 2 yr old, not 100% sure tho. According to the friend who has or is contacting the hol company (not sure which) she should have paid nothing for the 1 yr old and the same amount as my sister for the too
as they were the same rooms but that is obviously not the case then.

That was their thinking, that what she saved on the flight of the 1 yr old, she spent on the room being extra so 50 50 was probably about accurate. But she seems to think differently now.

Smellslikecatpee Wed 06-Jul-11 19:32:24

I'm with the UANBR
if they agreed 50/50 thats what it should be.
One got a better/dearer room one got charged flight cost.

I'd refuse, 'friend' sounds a bit dodgy to me

MorticiaAddams Wed 06-Jul-11 19:59:27

This is a difficult one without knowing more details. If it clearly came up that the friend's hotel room was more expensive then there must be a reason for it. Perhaps she had to pay a single person supplement as her child was free. In this case your sister might not owe her any money.

They seem to be basing this on hearsay rather than cold, hard facts and need to get a breakdown of all the costs and work it out that way.

If it turns out that your sister does owe money then she should make a cheque to the family member who paid rather than giving cash to the friend.

WhatKatieDid Wed 06-Jul-11 20:10:07

Out of interest, to those who've answered or yet to answer, if the friend had been the one to physically book it and put it in her name, would things be different in your opinion?

As far as I know, several family members paid - mum dad g'parents etc - how to go about refunding in that case?

sweetness86 Wed 06-Jul-11 20:15:30

YANBU I think if they were real friends they would put it down to experince and let it go as her friend had the more expensive room .

GwendolineMaryLacey Wed 06-Jul-11 20:19:13

I don't think she should pay it. They both went on a holiday with similar aged children and had a lovely time. If your sister had known her costs were £300 more she wouldn't have gone so no holiday.

We go to Center Parcs every year with my brother's family. We split 50/50 even though they have more children than us. Anything else is petty.

WhatKatieDid Wed 06-Jul-11 20:21:39

Well I don't think they are 'real' friends. They didn't know each other very well, more just acquaintances, before the hol but found themselves in a similar situation and decided a hol together may be nice both being single parents - so it was a bit experimental I guess. My sister says she wouldn't go on holiday with her again anyway for totally different reasons, but she doesn't want to fall out completely. And she wants to be fair I think but she doesn't feel it's that fair that ultimately it will be her DS going without Xmas presses or whatever because of it, I suppose. It's all a bit unfortunate!

WhatKatieDid Wed 06-Jul-11 20:26:54

Thanks Gwendoline, I think that's how my sister feels - it's kind of bonus money to the friend (esp if she doesn't pay it back to the family members who paid for it) and she's massively out of pocket and would never have agreed to spend that much had she known, as she really can't afford it.

northerngirl41 Wed 06-Jul-11 20:29:34

Hate to say it but there is no such thing as "free child places" - all that happens is the cost of the child gets whacked onto the adult price, hence why the friend's hotel was more expensive than your sisters.

So let's say the hotel is £100/head and you have a family of four it's £400 for the room. If you have free child places, it's £200/head and the kids go "free".

The way the booking was made, you might have got a cheap price for paying the per head price, whilst other people in the hotel got a free child place but paid more. I think you can ask the holiday company for a complete breakdown, but I suspect what's happened here is buyer remorse and the thought of someone else getting a better deal - there will ALWAYS be someone who got a better deal than you on the plane - it's just life!

rainbowtoenails Wed 06-Jul-11 20:34:10

Under 2s do not go on holiday for free.

I take it this wasn't a package deal and they booked the flights and rooms seperatly?

On 'normal' flights under 2s pay 10% but dont get a seat so most parents just pay for a seat for them anyway. On budget airlines they are always full charge.

On rooms, unless she was staying in a single room with 1 single bed she would be charged under occupancy for the child which may well have been more then paying for 2 adults.

She really hasn't been overcharged.

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