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I was mis-sold/mis-led on a holiday rental apartment - can I get compensated?

(3 Posts)
Snowstorm Mon 07-Sep-09 12:17:28

Booked an apartment, for our holiday in August, in Mallorca through an estate agents I'll call BH, via the Holiday Lettings website.

Was going to rent a ground floor apartment (£1,480) but decided that seeing as this was the first summer holiday abroad that we'd had for 7 years (and first with children), we'd recklessly splash out and upgrade to a Penthouse instead (£2,050). It all looked lovely and it had a big balcony with a shaded area and stairs up to a roof terrace etc. etc.

When we booked, the guy we booked through (and this was all done by email so I have everything in writing, even if nothing was signed) said that there was only the owner's Penthouse left and I asked if there were any photos of it. He said no but that it was furnished almost identically to the Penthouse referred to in the advert. I asked if we were able to secure it for the same price as the other Penthouses and he said that the owner had agreed to let us have it for £2,050, which was the same price as the other Penthouses.

When we got there, we were met by BH's 'Concierge Manager' and taken up to our Penthouse ... only it wasn't. It was at this point that I found out that this block of apartments had two styles of 'Penthouse' - one the nice large one with the very large balcony, shaded dining area and stairs up the private roof terrace and the one we were being shown to - a top floor apartment with the same size balcony on it as the middle floor's (small'ish - 3 metres by 1.75 ... something like that) with absolutely no shade at all and ... in order to reach the roof terrace (which was completely bare of any furniture or shade) you had to go out of your apartment, up the public stairs and gain access via a locked door. This type of apartment was marketed for £1,800 and completely unsuitable for anyone who had young children (no shade, and rubbish access to the barren roof-terrace via 2 locked doors). I would not have booked it for our holiday under any circumstances.

After a good deal of fuss and upset on my part (this was NOT what I had booked and paid for etc. etc.) and discussions with the (clueless) Concierge Manager and the guy I'd booked through via phone, we were eventually lucky enough to be moved down to a Ground Floor Apartment (they moved a party of 6 from a ground floor apartment to this top floor flat .... poor things, but at least they were all adults).

So we paid for a large Penthouse (£2,050), got put in this top floor 'penthouse' (£1,800) and ended up in a Ground Floor Apartment (£1,480) that I would have booked, had I known the reality of my booking. We lost £570 because the blurb in the adverts referred to all the Penthouses in the same way ('access to balcony and roof terrace), made no differentiation between different types of penthouse and the guy I booked through phrased things, including the answers to my questions, so carefully that I had no idea that I was supposed to be asking the questions that I would have had to ask, in order to determine the differences between what we paid for and what they gave us.

Sorry that's so long (the whole unedited version is longer!). If anyone has any idea as to whether there is such a thing as being able to be compensated (50-75% of monies lost?) for gross misrepresentation or the like, then I'd be extremely grateful.

Thank you VERY much in advance for any thoughts or advice.

LIZS Mon 07-Sep-09 15:47:01

As far as I can tell from the Holiday Lettings small print, you have a contract direct with the owner and therefore you'd have to liaise with him. Your booking does n't seem to be ABTA protected so you can't access their complaints system. Is the owner here or in Spain ? Maybe Trading Standards/Consumer Direct could advise you of your rights.

Snowstorm Mon 07-Sep-09 20:41:59

Hello LIZS,

Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me.

I would assume that the issue was with the estate agent who I contacted through the Holiday Lettings website, who emailed me the info./answered my questions (albeit without full disclosure) and took the booking.

The estate agency/holiday rep. are both based in Mallorca.

I have been in contact with them and today I got email saying that I gave up the right for compensation between the price of the large Penthouse and the top floor flat that we were appointed, by taking up their offer of the Garden Floor apartment on the day of our arrival in Mallorca. I did have a phone call with the holiday rentals manager when we got there (upset and pissed off having been taken to an apartment that I had not agreed to) and remember asking to be re-paid the difference between the two types of penthouses. He said no but that he could re-house me in a Ground Floor Apartment. Of course I took it, because this flat was so unsuitable for us and our needs. I remember thinking, 'just get the Ground Floor Apt. and I'll sort this out when I get home and re-read our emails'.

His email today made no mention of the fact that he'd charged me the price of and referred me to a picture and description of a luxury Penthouse that we did not get.

Legal stuff/compensation aside - I'm really hoping that Karma delivers this guy a really big kick in the balls sometime.

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