Hi looking for some consumer / legal advice prior to small claims.
My friend's mum paid for a holiday in April. I then immediately transferred my portion of the cost to my friend's dad's account. The holiday was booked for 25th July.
By end of May for reasons I don't think are important (but I can detail if you need) we mutually agreed that it would be fine for another person to take my place. If no person was found then I would still go as canceling my place on the holiday would actually cost more money (due to single room occupancy). We did not speak at all until yesterday 21st July. I never heard back from my friend about whether someone else was going and upon checking with the travel company on 18th July (one week before the holiday) I was still down for traveling much to my surprise. I still did not contact my friend.
Two days later 21st July I checked again with travel agent (FlyGlobeSpan) and found the name had just been changed the previous day. I thought that is fine even though I was not happy about not even being told about it. So I phoned my friend to ask about getting the money back and was told
"you said you were not going so rather than me having to pay the cancellation fee I got someone else to go with me, therefore you aren't getting any money back". A few minutes later they (I was on speaker to whole family..) agreed I could get "a couple of hundred quid back after the holiday, they would phone me".
I was stunned by how unfair this is and because I said I would still go if nobody else was found. Surely the person taking my place should pay 100% of the cost I paid before the holiday. I am effectively paying for someone else to go on holiday. I was expecting this to be a straightforward transfer of money back to my account.
I told my friend via text message an hour or so later after the phone call yesterday July 21st that it is not fair and I have a right to all of my money back. No response for 12 hours so this afternoon July 22nd I told my friend that if I don't get my money back (less the £50 name change cost) by the July 24th 5pm I will be compelled so take the mater to small claims court the following week.
Do you think I have a solid case? The total holiday cost is around £550. I would claim the total cost of the holiday possibly less the name change fee but plus the cost of the court (£65).
The evidence I have is:-
1. Bank statement showing transfer of money to my friends dad's account.
2. Booking reference with my name on it. This was a ticketless holiday, just a piece of paper with flight times, costs, hotel, passenger name and booking reference. The holiday was originally booked for 6 people. Friends mum(1) and dad(2), my friend(3), my friends brother(4) and my friend's brothers friend (5) and my friend's friend, i.e. me (6). Three rooms were booked (mum+dad (1), my friend + me(2), friends brother + his friend (3). The booking reference I have shows my name plus my friend's brothers friend. I was told at the time we would sort out the rooms when we got there.
3. Text message from July 21st showing I have tried to get my money back within a timescale without having to go straight to court. I have not heard back since I sent this message.
I don't have any evidence the name has actually been changed, I only know this because Flyglobespan told me over phone and my friend has verbally acknowledged it. I don't think this is an issue as I'm confident they won't try and deny it, surely..
The statement my friend claims i.e. "you said you did not want to go so I had to find someone else or I would end up paying a cancellation" is false however it is just my word against theirs. My friend says I told them this verbally and it was on speaker phone to my friend plus their mum. Even if this was true (which would mean I lose my original £550 plus have to pay the cancellation of almost £200) I still think that it is meaningless because it has not been canceled and someone is going in my place.
As I told my friend via text message I plan to complete the small claims form next week if I don't get my money back by Friday July 24th 5pm. I plan to just put my friend down as the defender. I don't know if this is correct. Bearing in mind it was my friend's mum that originally paid for the whole holiday and my friend's dad whose bank account I transferred the money to (could be a joint account and the same account that paid for the holiday, I have no idea). I don't even know who the person is taking my place, I think it is up to my friend to get the money off them which shouldn't be a problem since they are in a relationship.
Any comments welcome thanks.