We made a booking with a holiday cottage company, for the last week in May 2016. Over Christmas, we realised we wouldn't be able to go, so during the first week in January 2016, I emailed the company to cancel. I expected to lose my deposit -but was rather surprised when they came back to say that if they couldn't re-let the cottage, then we would still be liable to the full balance !!!
As we gave almost 6 months notice, surely they can't do this? I have no argument with losing our deposit, but would object strongly to paying any more? This sounds very unreasonable to me.
"In the event of a cancellation I will immediately advise John Smith Cottages (not real name). I understand they will without prejudice to the balance in full, use their best endeavours to re-let."
This is from the T&Cs.
When I emailed John Smith Cottages regarding our need to cancel, they came back and said that if they were unable to re-let, we are liable for the full cost of the holiday.
So whilst I understand that people can make up their own rules, would it be legally enforceable? I think this is pretty unreasonable as we have given nearly six months notice. I wouldn't argue if I'd cancelled the week before!
Exactly same happened to me with a cottage booking I made and had to cancel last year - being heavily pregnant and tottering around cliff top walks didn't have the same appeal as when I booked it!
Try not to worry as I'm sure it will get rebooked, it was nice enough for you to want to book so someone else will I'm sure! Especially in May, lots of people go away at this time to miss the school holiday rush. The one I booked was for June and it was re-let within the week I think
Have they taken the payment? If not I'd wait and see what happens, but it sounds like an unfair contract term to me that they'd have trouble enforcing in court, especially given you have already paid and lost a deposit. Don't pay the full amount if they ask you to.
No, don't go with Airbnb. I got told my booking couldn't be met by the host, and told to find somewhere else. Have now booked elsewhere, and now Airbnb are telling me my first choice is booked for me, and they will debit my card. They aren't responding to messages.
That's bad and it wouldn't occur to me that they could take the whole fee. I don't know what would be the definition of an unfair contract term but just because it says so in Ts & Cs doesn't make it legally enforceable.
Also you might not know if they have been able to relet it. They could just decide to let it without putting it on the website and pocket two sets of fees.
Why on earth do they get you to pay just a holding deposit and not the whole thing upfront if actually you're liable for the whole cost anyway? Because they know nobody would book if they had to commit all the money upfront, yet effectively that's what you're committing to based on their Ts & Cs
I suspect it will let partic if that is May half term so hope it will be a moot point anyway.
However you probably are liable given those Ts & Cs
Someone asked up-thread why I would expect the t&c's to be unenforceable: it's the first time I've come across this type of issue. If you book a package holiday, you'd expect to lose your deposit if you cancel, can you imagine First Choice etc trying to invoice someone the full value of a week in Spain that they'd cancelled six months prior to departure? And I've never known a hotel operate like this?
But if they were the terms and you agreed to them, then you are bound by them. You could refuse to pay so they would be forced to take you to small claims court. But it would be very easy for them to prove financial loss if every other week in the summer has bookings except that one.
If they try and enforce the full amount, report them to trading standards, it's unreasonable.
How likely is it they would suffer a loss? If they are so busy that you can't even cancel six months before then a) they should have taken full payment to secure the booking and b) they should be able to find alternative punters easily.
If they aren't so busy that they cannot even let the place with six months to do so, then they don't need more than six months notice of cancellation, as they were never than much in demand anyway.