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How to sue deceptive holiday rental owners

(Update. Looking to make a complaint about a holiday rental? Read this post).

Do you mislead holidaymakers who rent your holiday home about the distance to the beach, the “views”, the building site next door, the incomplete swimming pool or broken air conditioning?

holiday-lettingThen be warned, you could be sued. A new type of insurance has been launched by Insure and Go which covers “holiday disputes” and enables holidaymakers to pursue a breach of contract claim with property owners.

In past instances where holidaymakers have had disputes with holiday let owners and requested compensation, whether any refund is given has been up to the owner. Often, complaints have been unsuccessful, leaving holidaymakers with the option of expensive legal fees by pursuing the dispute in the small claims court.

Holidaymakers will now be able to take legal action against holiday property owners for breach of contract without worrying about the legal fees. The holiday disputes policy will cover legal fees of up to £25,000 in compensation battles.

Research from Insure and Go reveals that one in four British adults (24%), over 11 million people, have suffered from breaches of contract, yet only 5 per cent of these people took legal action against the offending companies in order to claim compensation.

Perry Wilson, founder of Insure and Go, commented:

“Holidaymakers are potentially losing out on a lot of money by not pursuing their holiday complaints. At least 12 per cent of breaches of contract that occur are estimated to be worth over £1,000, yet a lot of us either don’t complain at all, or let ourselves be fobbed off by the offending company because we are scared of how much it will cost to pursue our complaint in the courts.

Our research shows that of those people that do take legal action, 95 per cent received compensation and the average amount won was over £1,500”

The most common perceived breaches of contract include:

  • Misleading description of location or accommodation
  • Non-functioning or faulty facilities
  • View not as described in brochure
  • No air conditioning in accommodation
  • Accommodation not fully built
  • Accidents/injuries caused by unsafe/dangerous facilities or equipment
  • No water in swimming pool

Should holiday rental owners be worried? Only the ones who mislead in their advertising. However, it is worth checking over your website and adverts to see if anything could be misinterpreted.

If you do have disputes, try to resolve them with holidaymakers. Consider offering a refund or a discount off a future booking, if you are at fault. But don’t be ‘conned’ into a refund if you feel it’s unjust.

3 Comments

  • John |

    Well I’m not worried but I am a bit dismayed by this.

    Most reputable holiday home owners are keen to settle any issues that arise amicably anyway. Things do go wrong sometimes but it’s in our long term interests to have happy customers.

    “But don’t be ‘conned’ into a refund if you feel it’s unjust.”

    Hmmm. What we realy don’t need is the equivalent of ambulance chasing lawyers and professional complainers (yes they do exist) who make it so that holiday home owners are forced into issuing compensation. What makes you think that holiday home owners can afford the “expensive legal fees” any more than the guests can? It’s not like we are Hilton Hotels or whatever after all. Most of us are already making do on thin margins as it is.

    Ah bit hang on – canny insurers will be offering us insurance against being sued next won’t they 😉

    The long term implication is that prices will have to go up to cover the extra costs which is not really a great result for the average consumer.

    Rather than leaping to embrace the compensation culture in this way guests would be better off doing a little homework before booking – Check out the bona fides of the place you are booking before you leap in – For example checking that the place is a member of a scheme like the one at yourholidaymatters.com is more likely to guarantee you a decent outcome than any legal action after the event.

    As usual the only real winners under this scheme will be the lawyers. Deep joy 🙂

    • Phil |

      Thanks for your comments John.

      Like you say, most reputable holiday home owners are keen to settle any issues that arise amicably anyway. The reputable ones have nothing to worry about.

      It will be interesting to see to what extent claims are successful against holiday rental owners. I expect package holidays, such as those featured on ‘holidays from hell’ have more to worry about.

      Also, the cover has to be taken out when buying travel insurance before the holiday. It can’t be taken out after any disputes arise.

      Thanks for the tips on check out the bona fides of the place you are booking, this post also offers advice on how to check if a holiday let is genuine http://www.schofields.ltd.uk/blog/416/how-to-check-for-bogus-holiday-rentals/

  • paul allen |

    I am in the process of taking a letting agent to a small claims court for selling me a dog friendly let that was dangerous for my dogs at the end of the garden was a 40ft drop with insecure fencing, the cost was 2150,00£ per week, we aborted the holiday and did not stay on the grounds that it was not safe and hold them in breach of contract.

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