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To be upset and angry at holiday letting situation?

(52 Posts)
Earlybird Fri 07-Aug-15 14:17:29

Dd and I will be in America over the Christmas break. In May of this year, my sister (who lives there) made a booking for us all to rent a cottage on the beach in Florida for the week between Christmas and New Year. She used a reputable agency that she has done business with previously. A deposit was made to hold the booking, and a confirmation email received from the agency.

Yesterday my sister got an email from the agency saying that the owners of the cottage have decided they want to use the house during the time we've booked, so the house is no longer available. The agency sent through a few alternative cottage suggestions - that are double the price.

To say I am angry is an understatement. How should I approach this? I think I should call (or coach my sister through the conversation) as she can be quite meek. Advice and suggestions greatly appreciated.

I'm going out for a few hours so will not be able to reply immediately.

FenellaFellorick Fri 07-Aug-15 14:23:06

I'd say no. They are more than I am willing to pay. If you cannot honour my original booking or provide something of equal quality at the same price then return my deposit.

Then I'd look round for something else.

PHANTOMnamechanger Fri 07-Aug-15 14:23:31

In these circumstances, I would expect there to be no extra cost to you. If the agent has allowed the owner to back track on a booking , then THEY ought to foot the bill for the sake of good service/goodwill, IMO. We have twice been moved into alternative accommodation (in the UK, by the agent) both were emergencies, but both times we did not pay the difference for being in a more expensive house. One time it was actually very inconvenient as there was only a shower and no bath when the DCs were tiny (showering a wriggly 1 year old who is scared of the noise is quite tricky!)
MAybe the agents cocked up with the dates and are not admitting it?

Spellcheck Fri 07-Aug-15 14:27:00

This happened to us this year - booked a villa in Spain through an agency, and the owner decided to sell up. The agency offered us another villa, more expensive, at no extra cost. This is what I would expect.
Having said that, I have no idea if this is the norm in the US!
Hope you can resolve this.

PHANTOMnamechanger Fri 07-Aug-15 14:27:10

one of those occasions we actually arrived at the agent to collect the key on the day to be casualy told 'oh we've put you in x cottage instead becuase the boiler is not working in y cottage'

the house we got was slightly bigger than we needed, so should have cost more, but the decor was grimy and there was no bath, and there was no nice view, so even though it should have cost more, it was not so nice.

Polyethyl Fri 07-Aug-15 14:31:05

Deeply incompetent of the owners. In 30 years of owning a holiday cottage we have never done this to our guests.
You should be offered another cottage at no extra cost.

UrethraFranklin1 Fri 07-Aug-15 14:36:40

You need to check the small print in the terms and conditions before you talk to the agency. There's no point charging in with demands if the contract allows them to cancel without penalty.
Also remember its the local Florida laws that apply to the contract and anyone advising you based on UK laws and customs is not giving you good advice.

Find out where you stand and then talk to them.

vindscreenviper Fri 07-Aug-15 14:45:56

This happened to us about 6 years ago, we booked a big house in the Lakes for Oct half term. The letting agency just sent an email saying the owners were selling up and returned my cheque, the house then turned up online with another agent a week later and £700 more for that week. I was bloody steaming as I was struggling to find an alternative, when I got in touch with the original agent they said there was nothing they could do as the owner was no longer their client angry
op do you think this might be what has happened to you?

ElementaryMyDearWatson Fri 07-Aug-15 16:04:04

In English law you would have a finalised contract and the agents would have a duty to house you somewhere comparable at no extra price, but I have no idea how it would work under Florida laws. Urethra is right, you need to get a copy of the terms and conditions of the contract. But it could be worth you contacting the agents direct and asking them ever so politely to confirm that, if you take one of the alternative cottages, it will be at no extra cost.

LIZS Fri 07-Aug-15 16:10:14

Is the contract with the agency or the owners? Check the terms for cancellation.

gonegrey56 Fri 07-Aug-15 16:14:34

We had similar experience recently with a flat in Florida, booked through a reputable US agency. However, what happened was that the flat was being renovated, and because of unexpected delays, was not ready in time for our booking to be honoured. The agency apologised, and offered us a far superior and much more expensive flat as an alternative. We were very pleased to accept this. That is the least that you should be offered!

gonegrey56 Fri 07-Aug-15 16:16:16

My message should of course have made clear that the superior flat was made available at no additional cost....we simply paid the original booking price.

ConcreteElephant Fri 07-Aug-15 16:29:17

This happened to us when planning our honeymoon in Iceland.

We would be driving round the island so our options were pretty limited as it was and the very lovely hotel we had booked wanted to cancel our booking to accommodate a wedding which wanted exclusive use. They weren't forcing us but they really wanted us to agree to move - they were very apologetic.

The hotel paid for us to upgrade our room and have two nights in the hotel we'd booked for the next night on our tour (not too far extra to drive in a day) and they also booked us a table at a lovely restaurant in that place, with the whole meal (including alcohol - which is no mean offer in Iceland!) paid for by them. We were happy, they were super appreciative and even put some flowers in our room at the new hotel.

This is exactly what your letting a agency should be doing. Finding and paying for an acceptable alternative. Maybe throwing in a few extras.

Earlybird Fri 07-Aug-15 17:12:23

Thanks to all for your advice and thoughts.

The letting was made through an agency, who represent the owners. The house was a good deal, so part of me wonders if the owners made excuses to cancel so they could re-rent for a higher price.

My sister has sent through a copy of the 'contract'. The terms & conditions are basic to the point of laughable. Most of the details have to do with method of payment and a payment schedule. The only note about cancellation has to do with if the renter chooses to cancel - nothing about if the owner cancels. There is also a sentence about what will happen if there is a mandatory evacuation due to a hurricane/tropical storm.

Will advise my sister to pursue alternative accommodation via the agency at no additional cost to us. So cheeky of them to offer us other alternatives at double the price.....but maybe these things are standard practise in Florida?!

tobysmum77 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:23:27

I think in law you are entitled to your money back only.

UrethraFranklin1 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:26:45

I think in law you are entitled to your money back only.

You know a lot about florida law?

tobysmum77 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:28:44

no, but other people have made random claims based on uk law.

Stellar67 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:30:35

I own a holiday home and it is clear on the agencies I use that is you pull out of an agreement, you can be removed from the website. I think you get one warning.
So looks like the owners are leaving the agency due to a grievance, the agency are using the owners as an excuse. But they should give you a similar property for the same price and pay the rest themselves.
I'd argue for that, as they have offered you properties anyway. And I doubt that it's standard practice.

tobysmum77 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:32:00

I think its certainly very bad of the agency, they are leaving themselves at risk of damaging their reputation.

UrethraFranklin1 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:44:38

no, but other people have made random claims based on uk law

So the more of them they are the more valid they are? hmm
Don't give people legal advice when you haven't the very first notion of the relevant law.

tobysmum77 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:52:09

So its ok for others to make random claims about English law hmm ? The reality is the only avenue to the little man like us is small claims court. You can claim for what you have lost, eg your money.

Or get a barrister to properly investigate by all means....

tobysmum77 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:53:27

The biggest thing is threat to their reputation. They have behaved badly no doubt there.

UrethraFranklin1 Fri 07-Aug-15 18:00:53

No, as said nobody should. Is it hard to understand you shouldn't advise on laws you know nothing about?

Small claims court? What are you wittering about? Do you have any clue about how that works either?

Why do people have so many opinions without any actual facts?

tobysmum77 Fri 07-Aug-15 18:36:20

Why are you picking on me? What's the point? Dubious advice had been given on the thread based on uk law. I was merely pointing out that in reality that is not how it would work.

Now if the op had access to a lawyer with all the answers she wouldn't be posting on mn.

In reality in this situation you have 3 options:
1. make a complaint to the agency based on poor practice and hope it works
2. suck it up and find alternative accomodation with a different agency
3. Engage a lawyer to act on your behalf.

Now for 95% of people 1 and 2 are the only options. Unless you have any other ideas I suspect not confused

UrethraFranklin1 Fri 07-Aug-15 18:42:33

I'm not picking on you, ffs, I was making a bloody point. A good one.

Engage a lawyer? hmm Would you ever stop?

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