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6 Dec 2021

'My holiday cottage was so unclean it made my stomach churn, can I get my money back?'

Horrified by your holiday accommodation? We explain your rights to redress

Do you have an issue you need put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?

I booked a two-week summer holiday with some friends to Cornwall earlier this year via Booking.com, costing £2,100 in total.

But, we didn't get the holiday we'd paid for. On arrival we discovered we were staying in a different cottage to the one we'd originally booked.

Inside the accommodation it made my stomach churn, there was mould, stains on the bed sheets and slug trails around the property. The garden furniture was rotting and there was broken equipment on the patio piled up haphazardly.

Building work next door lasted for the majority of our holiday, affecting our quiet enjoyment of the area. And a skip was also placed in the only parking space allocated to the cottage.

We also found the fridge was faulty, and we had to dispose of food and milk regularly.

I reported these issues to the property managers who arranged cleaning, but this had to be done multiple times to bring the house up to an acceptable standard.

They also sourced new garden furniture, but it didn't arrive until day 12 of our 14-day stay. The time we spent complaining and trying to get these problems resolved causes huge disruption to our holiday.

I've since complained to Booking.com who offered us £250 back, but we feel this isn't good enough given the fact our holiday was ruined, our enjoyment was significantly compromised and the booking did not meet the reasonable standards expected.

Can you help us get some money back please?


Put to Rights

Hannah Downes consumer rights expert at Which? says:

When you've been looking forward to a relaxing holiday all year, finding the accommodation you booked is dirty or not-as-described is hugely disappointing.

Given the litany of issues experienced with your property, Mandy, I'm not surprisedyou weren't happy with the £250 offered.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you do have rights if a holiday rental doesn't meet reasonable standards.

Even the cheapest rooms must meet basic levels of cleanliness, and holiday rental companies must carry out the service of providing accommodation with 'reasonable care and skill'.

The accommodation provider must also supply the room or property promised when you booked it - not a different cottage altogether, as you experienced, Mandy.

We contacted Booking.com to reiterate Mandy's rights to redress and ask them to reconsider the compensation offered.

Booking.com apologised and has since offered Mandy and her friends a full refund.

It told us guests should contact its customer service team if a property doesn't meet expectations, and it's now working with the partner associated with Mandy's accommodation to address the issues raised.

With a refund in her pocket, we hope Mandy's next trip is the relaxing, slug-free stay she'd originally planned for.

If you too have stayed accommodation so filthy it made your stomach churn, follow our steps below to secure compensation.

Need to know

Get in touch. If you've got a consumer rights problem you need put right email us at yourstory@which.co.uk

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