Imagine the frustration of a special family holiday being cancelled at the last minute. When this happened to Valerie she was able to get back not only the cost of the holiday but – with our help – £3,000 compensation.
Which? Legal member Valerie Jackson booked a luxury family holiday to Tunisia to celebrate her husband’s 60th birthday – only for the booking agent to cancel it five days before the flight.
Valerie paid £4,348 to Thomson Holidays for the couple, their three sons and partners to stay for a week at a four-star resort.
When Thomson Holidays said that the trip couldn’t go ahead, she asked it to provide an alternative holiday. She told the company they could be flexible on the dates and the airport they flew from. But Thomson couldn’t provide an appropriate alternative and the cost of the holiday was refunded.
Valerie asked for compensation. The response was a £280 voucher, which she returned saying she expected appropriate compensation.
After three months trying to resolve the matter, Valerie contacted Which? Legal for advice.
Advice on cancellation of holidays
Which? Legal advised on issuing proceedings for breach of contract, seeking £3,500 damages for the family. Thomson then offered £1,000 in settlement.
After further communications with our lawyers, Valerie said that she believed Thomson had already had a chance to negotiate, and as such she would seek a decision from the court. Thomson then offered £3,000 plus £73 court fees, which Valerie accepted.
In a breach of contract claim, damages are usually limited to financial loss, such as the cost of a holiday. Compensation for inconvenience isn’t usually recoverable.
But if a contract’s purpose is relaxation or enjoyment, you can claim for loss of that enjoyment. In this case the obligation was to provide the holiday, which Thomson failed to do. It’s difficult to put a price on a holiday’s benefit, but the court may take into account how important the occasion was when making an award.
Have you had a similar experience to Valerie, or have you not felt confident enough to fight the case?