/ Money

Legal advice: holiday cottage kicks up a stink

Have you ever been refused a refund for unsatisfactory accommodation? Here’s how we helped a member get her money back.

In September 2021, Alexandra visited a four-star cottage she’d booked for £845 through Dream Cottages, but she soon found the accommodation wasn’t up to scratch.

In addition to dirty laundry bags and a mix-up that meant the water had been turned off (issues that were soon resolved) a leak had caused a strong damp smell throughout the cottage and meant Alexandra was unable to spend much time inside.

Case law precedents

Alexandra’s enjoyment of the cottage had been affected by its condition, so we suggested she may be eligible to get some of her money back.

Previous case law set a precedent: in the case of Jarvis v Swan Tours Limited from 1975, it was stated: ‘Where a contract is entered for the specific purpose of the provision of enjoyment or entertainment, damages may be awarded for the disappointment, distress, upset and frustration caused by a breach of contract in failing to provide the enjoyment or entertainment.

We advised Alexandra to make a formal complaint, referencing the relevant case law, and to request compensation. This was sent to the cottage owner, as the contract was with them rather than Dream Cottages.

After initially offering a low level of compensation, which Alexandra rejected, the cottage owners then offered a full refund. Dream Cottages said: ‘We’re sorry the experience did not meet our usual high standards. She received a full refund from us after the holiday.’

Have a legal question of your own?

Which? Legal offers affordable legal advice, over the phone and by email to help you tackle your problem or issue.  

The team of legal advisers will give you tailored information and advice on your rights and next steps, so you can handle your issue confidently.  

Which? Legal can help on a range of topics, from faulty goods and car purchase issues to landlord and tenancy issues, plus much more.

To find out how the team can help you, call Which? Legal on 0117 405 5695 or visit Which? Legal.

Hazel Davidson says:
15 March 2022

I voted for “Something Else” in the question about swapping Broadband provider, because I have no idea how to go about switching and I have never heard of the other 2 options.

Jeff A Lippitt says:
15 March 2022

First of all if it was for me I’m not sure but if it was for one of my loved ones or someone dear to me I would do or spend as much as I could or do whatever I have to do to make sure my loved one could move around I could only hope they would do the same for me but this world is kind of fickle so I’ve learned not to expect much from people but that doesn’t stop me from trying to help even someone that’s homeless if I have it I’ll help yours truly