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to ask for a partial refund for holiday cottage?

(143 Posts)
PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 12:16:54

I've already asked for a partial refund, more to make a point than anything else, but wondering what others would do in the same situation.

Paid £700 for a week in a self catering cottage for myself, dp and dc. On day 5 I opened a cupboard in the kitchen and was hit by a very strong smell of gas. Opened all the doors and windows, called the agency, they sent an agency rep to check it out and the rep called out a gas engineer who replaced the meter which was leaking from a valve! All this took up most of the day, and we couldn't cook or get washed.

No further contact from the agency to thank us for reporting the leak (which must have been longstanding) or check we were ok, and no carbon monoxide alarms at the property (which I'm not sure is even legal).
We had two further days at the cottage.

I honestly wouldn't have asked for compensation for the disruption had they just had the decency to phone and check we were ok or apologise for gassing us for 5 days, but they did nothing and said nothing at all.

So after leaving it a few days to see if they would be in touch I decided to email them yesterday and told them that I think it was a dangerous situation for my family and asked for a refund for the first 5 days. I also asked for a copy of the last gas safety inspection certificate for the property, and asked why they have no CO monitors there.
I haven't had a response yet.

mummymeister Sat 27-Aug-16 12:23:52

This is a very serious matter and I am shocked actually at the way that you have been dealt with.

in a letting property with gas there has to be CO monitors. did you also have fire equipment like a blanket in the kitchen, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms? (preferably linked and on the mains) if you didn't then they are definitely breaking fire risk assessment rules.

you need to pass all of this on to the local fire authority for the area that you were staying in. put it all in writing and also send it to the local councils trading standards team. was the cottage independently inspected or graded through someone like visit England or quality in tourism? you will see this from their website. if they are contact these two bodies as well.

places like this can quickly become death traps and you have to report this to everyone for the sake of the next people staying there.

in terms of your compensation, I would work out what is a reasonable sum based on the time spent and the inconvenience and write to them to ask for this. your other option is to take it to the small claims court and unfortunately some places will only respond when you threaten to do this. if you want to pm me happy to give more advice and help.

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 12:31:24

Thanks for the advice! I really don't care about the money at all but said it to get them to take my complaint seriously. There was a mains connected smoke alarm upstairs, and a fire blanket in the kitchen, but I didn't see anything else. The boiler was in a cupboard in one of the bedrooms, which in itself is a danger! There was also a wood burner in the living room.

rollonthesummer Sat 27-Aug-16 12:37:30

Who did you book the holiday cottage with-was it through an agent?

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 12:40:55

It was an agent. We usually book with Sykes but they had nothing available in the area so we went with a smaller company. I won't name and shame until I get a response from them, in case they can prove they do have monitors and we just dodn't see them.....however we are 99.9% sure there was nothing there.

BikeGeek Sat 27-Aug-16 12:41:47

Do you actually know it was a longstanding leak?

I would say compensation of the one wasted day was appropriate.

Carbon monoxide alarms wouldn't detect a gas leak, so by all means bring it up from a safety point of view but it's not relevant to the gas leak situation

notapizzaeater Sat 27-Aug-16 12:44:15

At £700 for the week a wasted day is worth £100 for the inconvenience alone.

Whenever I've stayed in a place with gas the certificate had been behind the door of the boiler

trafalgargal Sat 27-Aug-16 12:49:34

You have no way of knowing it was a long standing leak and in fact if it was odds are the smell would have seeped into the rest of the property and you'd have noticed sooner so I'd remove that bit of speculation. I'd ask for £200 as loss of a day at £100 plus the same again for inconvenience.

Sara107 Sat 27-Aug-16 12:53:02

Absolutely reasonable to ask for the gas safety certificate and question the lack of CO detectors. They should be there. Do what Mummymeister suggests and contact fire authority so they can check out that this rental is actually complying with safety standards. Things can go wrong, even if everything has been looked after properly, it may not be anybody's fault that the gas sprang a leak, but I can't believe the company would not be a bit more apologetic about it. They could have offered you a goodwill gesture like a meal in a nice local pub/ restaurant. So I think you should certainly ask for some money back, if you lost a day of your week, why not £100 refund? If you did eat out that day, bill them for the meal?

PikachuSayBoo Sat 27-Aug-16 12:53:25

I think asking for five days compensation is OTT, it spoilt one day. So one days compensation and maybe a bit more as good will.

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 12:54:34

BikeGeek, it was leaking through the pressure test valve. I don't know how that would spontaneously start leaking, but I suspect it may well have been leaking from the last time it was used. I will phone a gas company and ask their opinion on this (as we didn't think to ask the engineer at the time).

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 12:57:57

It was definintely leaking from before we arrived. I was actually struggling to breathe when I was in the kitchen baking (electric oven so not even using the gas at the time) but assumed it was dust. After the meter was replaced my breathing was fine.

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 13:00:04

My request for compensation wasn't just for the inconvenience but to make the point that we'd been breathing in gas for 4 days...including our little children.

thecatneuterer Sat 27-Aug-16 13:18:23

Surely if you had been breathing in enough gas to cause an issue to you (is that a thing? How much gas would it take it cause breathing issues? A lot I'm guessing) then the smell of gas would have been so strong you would have called the emergency gas number immediately?

And surely if there had been enough gas to cause health issues then the place would have blown up before the end of four days.

I hope an expert can come along and clarify this.

I think £100 would be fair.

LunaLoveg00d Sat 27-Aug-16 13:37:24

request for compensation wasn't just for the inconvenience but to make the point that we'd been breathing in gas for 4 days

But compensation is to compensate for loss - and those 4 days weren't lost and as far as you know, you weren't ill. And neither were the kids. I don't think carbon monoxide detectors are a legal requirement unless a risk has been identified - as a lay person I would say that a boiler in a bedroom is indeed a risk, but I am not a gas inspector. Also you need to be clear in any complaint what you are complaining about - carbon monoxide poisoning is not the same thing as breathing in natural gas although the symptoms are similar. A carbon monoxide detector would not have detected a gas leak.

I think asking for £100 is reasonable to compensate for the inconvenience. Asking for £500 is chancing it.

Herschellmum Sat 27-Aug-16 13:39:04

While I do acknowledge the fact that a methane leak can be potentially dangerous if a naked flame is near but even still it had to have a very specific mixture of gas to actually be flammable, anything over or under that won't egnite, however obviously if that happened the results would be catastrophic. However values fail, you can't partially blame the lodge for that it's just a potintial hazard anyone with gas in their homes faces and why it's important to get them checked, so I think asking for those details is a very good idea and obviously IF they haven't had it checked then they need reporting however of they have then really you can only claim for the one day you holiday was disrupted and other than the hot water and heating for the day I doubt very much you were required to stay in. But I very much agree they should have checked in, In the very least I would expect an apology and perhaps my lunch paid or something like that.

As for the rest of your complaint it does sound a bit over the top. Firstly it sounds like yours confused at the type of gas you were exposed to. It was methane which although Flamable causes little others issues in exposure like you experienced, the CO detractors pick up carbon monoxide which is a burnt gas, and that is lethal but that's isn't what you were exposed to.

If your lodge was that dirty that you were coughing than you have reason to complain about the cleanness of the lodge but methane wouldn't make you cough, least not in the quantity you came across.

I do think you are being a bit dramatic, however I do think the lodge should be at least trying to apologise and compensate you. The company do seem to be not taking it seriously enough, I think you need to make your case about the potential danger and wasted day not claiming you were ill for days because of the leak.

Based on the total cost of your holiday I would be speaking compensation around the £150-200 mark, I doubt you will get £500/600 you are seeking but you never know. Good luck.

listsandbudgets Sat 27-Aug-16 13:41:47

Wow that's awful. For comparison, we rented a holiday cottage earlier this month.

We had a problem because the electrics tripped when we usedwashing machine. We phoned and told them and got a call back within an hour saying that an electrician would attend at 9.30am the next day and not to worry about being in a he'd be accompanied by caretaker who holds keys.

We returned from a lazy breakfast out to find electrician just finishing off and problem fixed.

I'd be fuming in your situation YANBU

Herschellmum Sat 27-Aug-16 13:47:02

The cat-

I'm not an expert but my husband is ... Methane posioning is a thing, but would need to be massive quantities, from my understandung the gas would need to be as high to massivly deplete the amount of oxygen available, the essentially the room needs to be full of it.

As for its Flamable properties it needs to be a specific mix, so too little and it won't ignite but also too much and it won't either, so if the room was full you could light a match and it would ignite (actually match probably wouldn't ignite either but you get the point) ... Not sure the levels but the something like over 30% it wouldn't ignite, and by the time it's at a level it would then you would definitely smell it.

PotofGold1186 Sat 27-Aug-16 14:01:46

I also think 5 days is OTT. We have a boiler under the stairs and everytime I opened it I could smell gas. There was a small leak from the gas meter. The chap who repaired it said it wasn't a serious leak, they just smell like it because it's in a small space.
It is a serious thing but I think you are going a bit over the top with regards to "breathing it in". It smelt strong because it was in a confined space, it was probably a tiny leak.

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 14:40:12

With regards to breathing it in I have no idea how much or how strong it needs to be to be a danger to health but I do know that gas leaks of any size have potential to be deadly. The smell in the cupboard was VERY strong and refilled with a very strong smell very quickly. The engineer had to replace the entire meter so it must have been a non-trivial issue. I am not confusing gas types. I mentioned lack of carbon monoxide monitor because there weren't any and as far as I gather they are a legal requirement in all rental properties with fuel burning appliances. I'd also be mentioning lack of fire blanket if it hadn't been there, and that's not related to gas.

PupPupBoogie Sat 27-Aug-16 14:53:02

But that's the point. They can potentially be deadly. But it wasn't to you. You're not dead or injured or harmed in anyway. So there is nothing to compensate for except hurt feelings. Which isn't covered in law really

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 15:05:16

Interesting points of view here. I wonder if it had been a different hazard would you feel the same...for example finding an exposed live wire in your holiday cottage where your toddlers have been playing for 5 days. As long as they didn't actually touch it or get electrocuted you'd be happy with that.. and not expect some compensation for having paid to stay somewhere unsafe?

danTDM Sat 27-Aug-16 15:15:13

500 pounds is not a partial refund.

You booked the most expensive week of the year. The was a gas leak the day before you left which was fixed promptly. I would say at most, 100 pounds is reasonable. They have not been negligent and you are implying they are with this 'slow leak' business.

PinkFroggy Sat 27-Aug-16 15:20:41

It wasn't the day before we left but I'd have been even more annoyed to think we'd been paying to live with a gas leak for 6 whole days!

Becky546 Sat 27-Aug-16 15:21:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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