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Anyone not been happy with site and not given full refund?

(4 Posts)
marjean Tue 16-Aug-11 21:47:34

I've just returned from a wonderful camping holiday in France. I booked 3 sites from the UK in June. The first 2 sites were great and I expected similar greatness from the 3rd, particularly as I'd found it in a 'cool camping france' book.

On arrival, the proprietor veeeeery slooooowly began to handwrite a receipt. I asked her if she expected me to pay there and then and she said she would like me to. As her office didn't appear to be near the site, I thought it would save hassle later on so I paid in cash for the 4 nights. I also understood that if I had not, she would have expected a 60 Euro deposit for the campsite key anyway, so I didn't have a problem with it at the time.

She went outside, got in her van and asked us to follow her in our car to the site. We proceeded out of the village, along a main road, to a fenced-off area resembling motorway services. The road noise was bad, only two other pitches were full (so there had no need to book) and nothing was as I had imagined. However, with tired, hungry children who had been in the car all day, I decided to give it a go.

The morning after, dh and I were in agreement - we had to leave. I called the owner to tell her that I was very sorry, I had changed my mind and we were leaving. She sounded surprised and said that she couldn't stop me leaving and that she would be in the office in an hour. When I called in at the office, she got out the hand-written receipt and did some sums. She said that it was the 'reglements' that she had to take 30% off my refund. I questioned her (not very forcefully, it has to be said, but after a poor night's sleep and with waiting kids and dh in the car and with nowhere to sleep that night, I was keen to get moving) but she just kept repeating about these 'reglements.' She handed me the cash, I left, I got upset in the car, dh was annoyed that we'd paid so much, but he can't speak French so it was all down to me. Anyway, we found a great site that night and the rest of the holiday was fab.

So, at the end of this surprisingly long post, I'd love to know if anyone else has been stung when asking for a refund? And does anyone have any idea of these 'reglements' or is it just down to individual sites?

Thanks for reading!

oranges123 Tue 16-Aug-11 22:25:27

We had trouble at Herston Yards Farm in Dorset in the Easter holidays. We booked three pitches with EHU for a group of us and when we turned up they had let another group pitch on one of our pitches and half of one of the others was also taken up. So we ended up with one and a half pitches. The first members of our group to arrive had pitched and when asked if they wanted to ask one of the groups to move said no as they had a big tent and our friends were kind-hearted. There was loads of toing and froing but even though the site only gave us half what we had paid for they refused to give us a refund on the difference. Apparently it is their policy not to give refunds! They offered to let us move to another field which they had belatedly opened up which we refused as by this time we were half way through the weekend and in the end gave us a couple of bottles of wine instead.

In the end it was just ruining what was otherwise a lovely weekend so we gave in. Won't be going back though.

Interestingly when I tried to post a review on UKcampsite, it turned out the site doesn't allow reviews. Don't know if that is still the case. [Hmm]

IloveJudgeJudy Wed 17-Aug-11 11:23:45

Ime in France, unless you are just staying for one night, you usually pay the whole lot when you leave. When I questioned this at the first French campsite, many years ago, wnating to pay in advance, they said "what if you don't like it?"

That has always been my experience since then. Having said that, we don't usually book. We usually go the second two weeks of August, when it's not so busy. We did have to book this year, but it was the same thing again. In fact, we didn't even pay a deposit as it would have been so awkward - the site just trusted us.

In the UK, though, it has been my experience that you have to pay the whole amount upfront. I much prefer camping in France, not just because of the weather.

marjean Wed 17-Aug-11 18:16:16

Thanks for your replies. I'm prepared to write it off as a bad experience and learn from it. I certainly wont be booking next year as many of the sites had spaces and we had no trouble getting anywhere that night.

I have given deposits before - or paid in part -but it was the way she slowly wrote what looked like a receipt that compelled me to ask whether she expected payment. Stupid, in hindsight, but as I say, I would have given her 60 Euros for the key anyway so she may have taken the 30% from that.

I'm going to write to cool camping and try to leave some reviews on internet sites. Not in a 'revenge-seeking' way but giving an accurate description of what's on offer - ie a small, poorly landscaped site, behind an electronicially-operated gate just off a main road, way outside the village (which had no facilities anyway) and a poorly-maintained play area, only really suitable for older children.

Anyway, we live and learn.

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