My holiday accommodation was overbooked, what can I do?

Finding your accommodation has been overbooked is not a great way to start your break, but you do have legal rights to ensure you're not left out of pocket.

Package holiday bookings

If you booked your hotel as part of a package, your holiday company is responsible for the actions of the hotel owners.

So, any legal action you take is against the UK hotel or holiday company, rather than a foreign hotel.

The Package Travel Regulations (PTR) make it clear that overbooking is no defence for a company.

Hotel booked via a travel company

If your hotel wasn't booked as part of a package, but was booked with a UK travel company, then your contract will probably be with the hotel. 

But you need to check the terms and conditions of booking carefully, because your contract could either be with the hotel, or with the company you're booking through. 

If the contract is governed by the laws of England and Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland, then you can claim for breach of contract. 

By overbooking, your travel company or accommodation provider has failed to deliver on the agreed contract and so is in breach of that contract. 

If you have to go to a different hotel as a result, then you can claim reasonable expenses from the accommodation provider as damages for the breach of contract.

Reasonable expenses would include the cost of travelling to your substitute accommodation.

Booking with a foreign hotel

When booking foreign accommodation directly, you may be contracting with a company based in another country even though it looks like you booked with a UK company.

This often happens if the accommodation is posted on a listing site where your contract is made directly with the accommodation owner.

In this case, or if you booked direct with a foreign hotel, then you may be dealing with the laws of the country in which the accommodation is located, or where the owner of the hotel lives. 

This means you may not be covered by UK law and, in some circumstances, if you needed to go to court you might have to do this in the country in which the foreign owner lives (for example, if they're based outside the EU). 

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