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JesterRIP

Booked with Love Holidays - Accom changed on arrival

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Good morning all,

 

 

Been a member some time - not usually one to post for the hell of it but I have been really racking my brains over this one and hitting brick walls wherever I go...

 

 

Long story short - had booked a holiday for myself over Xmas and when I arrived they told me the hotel was overbooked. They then put me in a cab and sent me from my nice *chosen* serene resort, and dumped me in a completely different resort, right in the heart of the shops / nightclubs etc

 

 

The accommodation was a lower grade, fewer facilities and I wouldn't have chosen it in a million years. I called Love Holidays there and then as I just wanted to come home. I took loads of pictures and on their advice, decided to try and make the best of a bad situation and raised a complaint when I got back.

 

 

They forwarded this to Hotel Beds (who my contract is with, apparently) who agreed I'd been let down, totally unacceptable etc and offered "compensation" of 25% of the accommodation which clearly wasn't going to cut it. I'd paid over £500 total and they were offering me £64 back.

 

 

After a bit of follow-up this was raised to 40% and £103 compensation. How can anyone in this day and age pay for one product and receive something totally different?

 

 

Anyway - ABTA didn't want to know because Hotel Beds are based in Spain and are obviously not ABTA affiliated (that's handy isn't it?) which begs the question - why are Love Holidays if nothing you ever book with them is never their responsibility? If you ask me, it's more of a selling point "look at us, we're ABTA affiliated!" - indeed, but that endorsement is about as much use as a condom machine in the Vatican. I digress...

 

 

So I send my complaint (along with photographs, screenshots etc) directly to Hotel Beds - and despite their pledges on their website to "guarantee" to answer emails within 24 hours and resolve complaints within 7 working days - I've not heard a peep out of them.

 

 

Unfortunately booked with debit card and although the bank are part of the Visa voluntary chargeback scheme, their hands are tied because Hotel Beds are "willing to provide assistance" in offering me a laughable amount of compensation for ruining my Christmas with lack of sleep, stress, and putting me in 1960s style accommodation when I paid for so much more.

 

 

I'm not sure what to do now. I'd offer to drive over to their HQ and bend over - but they're based in Spain (I think) which would involve me booking and paying for more travel... :-D

 

 

Any wise words would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading.

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On what basis does this company Love Holidays say that you don't have a contract with them? You booked with them? You paid them? It sounds like a try on to me but I'm willing to learn if you can tell me how it works.

 

As far as I can see it is simply a question of upping the offer. I would expect that at some point the issue of County court papers will do the trick. I can't imagine the Love holidays really want to check over to wherever you live and risk defeat in the County Court on a small amount. Who is it who has offered the settlement so far?


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Incidentally, when was it disclosed to you that Hotel Beds were apparently your contracting partner? Have you looked at any of your documents?


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On what basis does this company Love Holidays say that you don't have a contract with them? You booked with them? You paid them? It sounds like a try on to me but I'm willing to learn if you can tell me how it works.

 

As far as I can see it is simply a question of upping the offer. I would expect that at some point the issue of County court papers will do the trick. I can't imagine the Love holidays really want to check over to wherever you live and risk defeat in the County Court on a small amount. Who is it who has offered the settlement so far?

 

 

They state "clearly" in their T&C's your contract is with a separate airline, accommodation provider and airport transfer - even thought they take the payment in whole from you when you book - and you don't even find out who that is until you have booked:

 

 

Incidentally, when was it disclosed to you that Hotel Beds were apparently your contracting partner? Have you looked at any of your documents?

 

The other thing is, while I was searching (in order of Trip Advisor rating, naturally) there was a banner stating holidays to this destination are currently trending upwards, notices about the price being only available for so long etc - in other words, pressure to buy immediately and not necessarily time to sit down and look over the T&Cs as carefully as one might.

 

 

I raised the issue with ABTA who promptly came back with "You contract is with Hotel Beds who are not ABTA affiliated and regretfully we cannot support your case on this occasion..."

 

 

The problem is my hotel "overbooked" and Hotel Beds were not aware of this. It seems to be that the hotels in these resorts are all scratching each other's backs. When I turned up at Reception, the guy took my passport, started filling in the paperwork etc - it was only when he asked me if my family were joining me and I told him I was travelling alone, he disappeared out back and came back 5 minutes later and told me they were overbooked. Suspect to say the least. How comes he didn't know this beforehand?

 

 

But I guess it comes down to what you can prove eh?

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My understanding is that an agent is liable to a third party on behalf of the principal if the identity of the principal is not disclosed. You say that you did not know that the principal involved was Hotel Beds until after the contract was made. In that case on my understanding of the law of Agency, Love Holidays are liable and you should proceed against them on that basis.

 

I think you have to come up with a reasonable and moderate figure to go for.

 

I think you need to list out exactly the way in which you feel that you were deprived of the benefits which you contracted. It's up to you if you would like to say that the entire week was wasted – but you will have to justify that if it eventually goes to court – as I expect it would.

 

Frankly, for the cost of the claim form – although there is a hearing fee of over £200 – but for these costs I would say it was worth a punt if you feel that you are up for proving a point. If you come up with a reasonable figure, then they may will simply cough up rather than avoid the scandal.

 

Of course it would be very funny, wouldn't it, if it was Love Hotels which had done the overbooking – but this would be really too difficult to find out. You still haven't told us who it is who has offered you the settlement so far.


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I just checked by doing an example holiday booking to make sure I wasn't going mad or citing anything inaccurate...

 

 

Yes - you don't find out who your accommodation contract is with until you've paid at least the deposit.

 

 

And if you're thinking to yourself "wait one, I just want to read a little more about these T&Cs... there's a couple of prompts on the page to imply you won't really have the time...

Booking example.jpg

Edited by JesterRIP

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My understanding is that an agent is liable to a third party on behalf of the principal if the identity of the principal is not disclosed. You say that you did not know that the principal involved was Hotel Beds until after the contract was made. In that case on my understanding of the law of Agency, Love Holidays are liable and you should proceed against them on that basis.

 

I think you have to come up with a reasonable and moderate figure to go for.

 

I think you need to list out exactly the way in which you feel that you were deprived of the benefits which you contracted. It's up to you if you would like to say that the entire week was wasted – but you will have to justify that if it eventually goes to court – as I expect it would.

 

Frankly, for the cost of the claim form – although there is a hearing fee of over £200 – but for these costs I would say it was worth a punt if you feel that you are up for proving a point. If you come up with a reasonable figure, then they may will simply cough up rather than avoid the scandal.

 

Of course it would be very funny, wouldn't it, if it was Love Hotels which had done the overbooking – but this would be really too difficult to find out. You still haven't told us who it is who has offered you the settlement so far.

 

 

 

Thank you for the advice - and I have indicated in the course of my follow up complaints that court action would be a given should my complaint not be resolved to my satisfaction so I've been very transparent from the "off". Unlike them...

 

 

Love Holidays forwarded my complaint to the principle accommodation supplier, Hotel Beds - who are based in Spain to make things tricky when it comes to being bound by UK law.

 

 

Hotel Beds came back with "Yes that is unacceptable - here's a 25% accommodation refund sweetner..."

 

 

When I told Love Holidays this was unacceptable (i.e. if I bought a brand new Jaguar and they tried to fob me off with a 40 year old Fiesta) they immediately upped that to 40% without even going back to Hotel Beds.

 

 

I queried this and Love Holidays' response was that "Hotel Beds told us we could raise it to this amount".

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Although I suggested that you should keep your claim a modest, it seems to me that Love Holidays have made such a serious error in the way they are presenting themselves as an agent that they would be extremely worried about finding themselves in court and having a judgement given against them on this basis.

 

Because of this, I think that you might find it worth raising your claim – or at least expressing it on the high side – counting on the fact that they would be unwilling to take the risk of losing in court.

 

All of this of course, is assuming that I'm correct on the agency principle.


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I would suggest an assertive letter to them pointing out that you reject their position that as agent they have no liability towards you. I would explain to them that not only you have been dealing with them on their website and you have paid your money to them, but if there assertion that they are merely acting as an agent is correct, then in order to benefit from the protection of being an agency position, they were required to identify their principal before the contract was made. They did not do this and therefore they are directly liable and you are intending to sue them on that basis within 14 days unless they compensate you for the loss and distress you have suffered which you calculate at £XXX pounds.


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Incidentally, Love Holidays will have a contract with Hotel Beds which will very likely contain an indemnity clause. So in the end, it's no skin off their nose unless they feel shy of enforcing it.


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Love holidays receive loads of complaints, seen many on CAG with similar issues.

 

They are not really Travel Agents. The are really just like a comparison site. You either book a holiday with different component parts, with separate flights and accommodation, which come with terms not guaranteeing much or you book a packaged ATOL bonded holiday which is just referred to Thomas Cook or whoever. With an ATOL packaged holiday it comes with more rights.

 

I think Love Holidays really only take responsibility for the packaged arrangements. The other holidays with accommodation not guaranteed is a contact with the booking company. Love Holidays just handle the money and no doubt take a commission.

 

This is one of those internet trading situations where legislation has not kept up. It might take someone to go to court to make the argument.


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I'm all for taking it to court and determined not to get mugged off but it's really difficult to know who to take action against. Love Holidays who claim no responsibility but wouldn't even tell me who my flight was with and my accommodation booked through until I'd paid... or Hotel Beds who are responsible for my accommodation, yet are based in Spain and not bound by UK law ?

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I would suggest an assertive letter to them pointing out that you reject their position that as agent they have no liability towards you. I would explain to them that not only you have been dealing with them on their website and you have paid your money to them, but if there assertion that they are merely acting as an agent is correct, then in order to benefit from the protection of being an agency position, they were required to identify their principal before the contract was made. They did not do this and therefore they are directly liable and you are intending to sue them on that basis within 14 days unless they compensate you for the loss and distress you have suffered which you calculate at £XXX pounds.

 

 

Whilst they didn't identify the principle - they did say "it won't be us" or words to that effect.

 

 

I'm going to give them a chance to get in touch with Hotel Beds on my behalf, and if this fails then I'm going to be approaching solicitors.

 

 

I know they read these forums, so none of this will come as a surprise.

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I'm all for taking it to court and determined not to get mugged off but it's really difficult to know who to take action against. Love Holidays who claim no responsibility but wouldn't even tell me who my flight was with and my accommodation booked through until I'd paid... or Hotel Beds who are responsible for my accommodation, yet are based in Spain and not bound by UK law ?

 

I think you can issue a UK court claim against a Spanish company trading In the UK via Love Holidays. Because it is within the EU, the contract was made in the UK and you are resident in the UK, then a UK court can have jurisdiction. Your problem is the costs involved, as you might well have to pay someone in Spain to serve the court claim on this Spanish company at their Spanish address. There is also the problem of enforcement of any judgement in your favour.

 

As i think Bankfodder suggests you might be able to make a claim against Love Holidays, but before you do that, i would suggest you really read all of the information you were given by Love Holidays before you booked and paid. Also the contact information issued after you booked. From what i have read previously Love Holidays have a pretty watertight business model that ensurers they comply with all legal requirements and it is very difficult to make them liable in situations like these. There will be contract clauses about the accommodation not being guaranteed and which company is arranging it.

 

My advice is to seek advice from online holiday forums before you waste money on issuing court claims that might not get anywhere. The Telegraph Travel expert Simon Calder is very knowledgeable about these type of issues. You might find more info online if you search,


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Great will do thanks - and thanks to BankFodder too for the insightfulness.

 

 

I'll keep you posted with how I get on.

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As UncleBulgaria says, there is a European small claims process http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV%3Al16028

 

However, I'm quite clear in my mind that they have a duty to identify their principal. If they have not done so then they are liable directly. It is then up to them to invoke their indemnity protection against their principal. Also, I can imagine that if you try getting a judgement here against Hotel Beds you will suddenly find that they are prevaricating and passing the buck and you will get lost in a maze of mirrors and smoke. It will be exhausting and they will win simply because you eventually give up with fatigue.

 

As UB says, they may not be an agent – but the important thing is that on their website they hold themselves out as an agent and that's good enough.

 

This is a claim which needs making badly and against the UK agent – not against the principal. Lessons need to be taught (and may be learned). Someone needs to cut through all of the obstacles.


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Incidentally I can imagine that one of the reasons why they won't identify their principal at the outset is because they act for a number of different people and they're not quite sure who they're going to place your booking with yet. If that is the case then there is absolutely no doubt that your contract is directly with Love Holidays.


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Incidentally I can imagine that one of the reasons why they won't identify their principal at the outset is because they act for a number of different people and they're not quite sure who they're going to place your booking with yet. If that is the case then there is absolutely no doubt that your contract is directly with Love Holidays.

 

 

 

But given what UB says about LH being a watertight business model - won't their own legal team simply try and tie me up in knots?

 

 

I'd obviously have to "lawyer-up" on this one - but it could become costly and a considerable risk if what UB says about their business model is pretty solid...

 

 

Wouldn't they simply deny my contract is with them? The minute I mentioned taking the matter through the courts if the response was unsatisfactory I got a very lengthy email back from LH - most of which just read like legal blurb and a whole bucket list of stuff they're apparently not responsible for.

 

 

Seems to me they've got this sewn up. Much as I'd love to stand up to the bullies of industry, I am but one man at the end of the day with very limited legal knowledge!

Edited by JesterRIP

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But given what UB says about LH being a watertight business model - won't their own legal team simply try and tie me up in knots?

 

 

I'd obviously have to "lawyer-up" on this one - but it could become costly and a considerable risk if what UB says about their business model is pretty solid...

 

I am going by what has been said elsewhere. If you search Love Holiday complaints you will find many cases. If you complain enough they will give you vouchers towards another holiday without admitting any responsibility about what happened.

 

What i want to know is whether you were guaranteed the accommodation at a certain hotel without any conditions attached. Usually there are conditions where they cover their backsides.


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I'd like to know what evidence there is that they run a legally watertight business model. To my mind their terms and conditions are already flawed because although they raise the issue of their agency – you have already found that they don't identify their principal.

 

I doubt very much whether an organisation like this has spent the amount of money it needs to really protect itself in every respect. I think it challenges people with lots of bluster and people back off because they are not sure of their rights and also because the amount of money at stake doesn't really make it worth their while to mount proper challenge.

 

Of course they won't ever admit responsibility for what has happened. They would be crazy to do this. But are you looking for an admission of liability? Or are you looking for a money settlement?

 

In terms of you getting a solicitor, I think that this is entirely unnecessary. Most solicitors doing this kind of work for this kind of value are complete rubbish. Most solicitors on the high Street won't understand anything or won't know anything about the law relating to agency. There simply read the terms and conditions and tell you that you have no basis for an argument – and that itself will cost you two or £300.

 

Most solicitors will simply get into sending correspondence so that the whole thing becomes protracted and drawnout and you will become alarmed about expenditure and eventually you will pull the plug on the whole thing.

 

Most solicitors don't have the ambition or the anger to fight your corner for you. I have very rarely ever met a solicitor who is prepared to get down and have a scrap.

 

You only get this kind of play-dirty attitude with big corporate firms where there is a lot of money at stake. On the high Street, there is nobody who is able to be cutthroat. That's why they're on the high Street.

If you want to do this then do it yourself – or else accept their hundred quid


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I am going by what has been said elsewhere. If you search Love Holiday complaints you will find many cases. If you complain enough they will give you vouchers towards another holiday without admitting any responsibility about what happened.

 

What i want to know is whether you were guaranteed the accommodation at a certain hotel without any conditions attached. Usually there are conditions where they cover their backsides.

 

 

Yes there's something in there about the occasions where accommodation is changed:

 

 

10. Changes and Cancellations by the Supplier Principal

 

We will inform you as soon as reasonably possible if the Supplier Principal needs to make a significant change to your confirmed Arrangements or to cancel them. We will also liaise between you and the Supplier Principal in relation to any alternative arrangements offered by the Supplier Principal but we will have no further liability to you.

 

 

19. Accommodation Ratings and Standards.

All ratings are as provided by the relevant Supplier Principal. These are intended to give a guide to the services and facilities you should expect from your accommodation. Standards and ratings may vary between countries, as well as between Supplier Principals. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of any ratings given.

 

 

 

Taken from their T&Cs.

 

 

Also of note is that at the bottom of the T&Cs there's a link to the T&Cs of their principle suppliers - but the list is huge and since it's impossible for you to know which you're going to be booked / paired with - how on earth are you supposed to read up before you commit?

 

 

And I don't remember having any "cooling off" period either - certainly not in the itinerary and follow up emails I received after I booked anyway. I always thought this was a given?

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Of course they won't ever admit responsibility for what has happened. They would be crazy to do this. But are you looking for an admission of liability? Or are you looking for a money settlement?

 

 

Put simply, I want a refund for a product I purchased but they failed to deliver. They're offering 40% after an initial fob-off of 25% - plus Love Holidays offered a £50 coupon as a "gesture of goodwill" (AKA we're to blame but won't admit it because it will open the floodgates) towards my next holiday with them. Which I found extremely arrogant and presumptuous of them after my experience...

 

 

Bottom line - I didn't get what I paid for. You wouldn't go to a car showroom and accept a cheaper model for the money you paid - nor even a similar model but different colour - so why do we allow holiday companies to get away with it?

 

 

As for deceiving me, mugging me off and ruining my Christmas - an apology would suffice.

 

 

I'm not, nor ever have been part of the compensation culture. I have always however, been part of the just culture. And it really winds me up that people who have glossy "ABTA" banners and similar motifs, capitalise on that "peace of mind" appearance to promote their products - and yet when you dig into the weeds, you find such a thing is merely a label and nothing more.

 

 

Good advice on the solicitor thing. Didn't think of it like that!

Edited by JesterRIP

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Hotel Beds have agreed to a full refund.

 

 

Excellent news - I am so happy.

 

 

I can't help thinking though, that the real culprits in this whole issue are the hotels themselves. Still - it was nice to receive a sincere apology.

 

 

Thanks again to BF and UB for your wisdom.

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