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Hoseasons refused us a refund after we obeyed lockdown rules | Consumer rights

On the morning we had been resulting from set off on our October half-term vacation, my daughter’s faculty knowledgeable us of two confirmed constructive circumstances of Covid-19 in her class bubble. We had been advised to self-isolate for 10 days and due to this fact needed to cancel the lodging we’d booked in a Hoseasons vacation park.

Hoseasons insists we should not entitled to a refund, or to rebook, as a result of my daughter has not examined constructive. As a key employee I do know the significance of following the federal government pointers to forestall the unfold of such an infectious illness, however am £322 out of pocket for doing the precise factor.

CE, Stotfold, Hertfordshire

Hoseasons’s stance is as ill-informed as it’s unfair. It adopted up its phone rebuff with an e-mail stating that authorities recommendation to self-isolate will not be legally enforceable. In truth, it’s a authorized requirement in case you are recognized as a contact of somebody who has examined constructive, and failure to take action may end up in a effective of at the very least £1,000.

Not solely is the company’s response encouraging prospects to interrupt the legislation, it’s doubtlessly placing individuals in danger. Last year, its mother or father company, Vacation Rentals, was compelled to return prospects’ money for holidays cancelled resulting from lockdown after an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) discovered its refusal to take action a breach of client legislation.

Initially, Hoseasons advised me that you simply had been misinformed by a single agent. When I identified that a second agent had confirmed the faulty info in writing, it amended its response, which makes me worry many different prospects could have been equally misled.

It now says: “It seems that unfortunately the two agents who spoke to the customer did not follow our internal guidelines which provide that refunds must be offered in such cases. The agents have been reminded of our refund policies to ensure this does not happen again. We have also contacted the customer to issue a full refund and £150 in vouchers by way of an apology for the inconvenience caused.”

I’ve beforehand uncovered how no-refund insurance policies permitted by Airbnb encourage prospects to interrupt Covid rules. Last March, it modified its “extenuating circumstances policy” to take away automated refund rights within the case of Covid restrictions.

LH of Pulborough, West Sussex, contacted me when lockdown and border closures prevented her son happening a ski journey to France. She wrote: “The host didn’t cancel when France closed its border with the UK, nor when the ski resort shut down. Instead, my son took the initiative and cancelled, but the host did not reply. Three weeks later, the day before the holiday was due to start, the host sent key collection information and Airbnb released the £1,510 accommodation fee. Airbnb has merely returned the £120 booking fee with a £145 voucher and the host has promised £445.”

Airbnb’s argument is that its hosts are free to set their very own cancellation insurance policies and prospects ought to test earlier than reserving. “They are made clear before guests book, and the vast majority allow guests to cancel without penalties,” it says.

I’ve repeatedly challenged the company’s refusal to insist that each one hosts cancel and refund bookings that can’t legally proceed. In useless.

The CMA confirmed that prospects ought to be entitled to a refund if lockdown prevents a contract being fulfilled, however declined to say whether or not it could be investigating Airbnb.

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