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Hot Air Balloon Flights


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Hi,

 

I purchased two hot air balloon flights in 2015. Due to weather conditions the flights I booked and subsequently booked were cancelled - this happened 4 times. The person I purchased the tickets for is now pregnant so cannot fly so I have asked for a refund.

 

I have been refused any refund and it is in the t&c's that the vouchers are non refundable.

 

Would I have any chance of success challenging this in county court citing the consumer rights act 2015 - unfair terms in a consumer contract provision?

 

I have paid £204.00 and not received a service.

 

Thanks

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Don't think Consumer Rights Act can help you here. I think it is quite reasonable for balloon flights to be subject to weather conditions and for the vouchers to be non refundable. If you can't use the vouchers, just check that you can sell them on for other people to use.

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the argument is about the performance of the contract. Just saying they are non-refundable isnt really good enough because ballon flights will be prone to weather restrictions so some kind of alternative settlement should be offered if they cannot perform their part of the bargain. It douesnt have to be open ended or they could delay things until after you are too old to take a flight.

How many times did you attempt to fly/ how many dates were agreed and then cancelled by bad weather. There are previous exaples of this going to court and the outcome will depend on what is considered a reasonable number of attempts to fulfil the contract. 4 times in a year is enough to get you your money back as no-one would expect you to drag this on beyond a year.

Get sending a LBA and then use the small claims procedure if you dotn get a refund. You will need to say in the lba what it is that you want and by when ( refund of £204 by 14 days because the company failed inits performance of its contractual obligations to provide the service paid for within an acceptable timescale.).

Try and finda refernce to a previous case, I certainly remember one from a few years back where the number of cancellations was what it required to kick in the breach of contract claim.

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Hi,

 

Thanks for your response.

 

It was 4 times in 2 years. All 4 times were due to weather. Once a flight was cancelled I would have to wait for another to become available in the area my vouchers were valid for and then go through the process of getting time booked off work etc. My 5th flight was booked for March 21st - it was unlikely weather would be good enough in March but if I don't have the vouchers booked for a flight then they expire.

 

I have sent a LBA, but I have not found a previous case. I will get looking into that now.

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Hot Air balloon operators have these problems because of UK weather being very unpredictable. They can only operate when it is safe to do so, complying with relevant aviation rules.

 

If this were to go to court, i suspect the operator will argue about each of the 4 cancelled fights and what the issues were, for which they will have full records.

 

Given how difficult it can be to actually enjoy the flights, your only argument can be that the terms are unfair. That there should be a right of refund after a certain number of cancelled trips by the balloon operator and no expiry date for the vouchers.

 

It will be an argument about the contract terms and not consumer rights as such.

We could do with some help from you.

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The reasons for the cancellations were legitimate - once raining, twice higher winds at altitude and on the other occasion it was misty in the morning at the take off location.

 

My argument was unfair terms. I was refused a partial refund less an admin fee and the firm refused the involvement of an ADR firm.

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I will ask the site team whether they should move this to a consumer rights/legal thread area, as the guys who know more about this, won't look in the holiday folder.

We could do with some help from you.

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Thread moved to General Legal Issues.

 
 

Any advice I give is honest and in good faith.:)

If in doubt, you should seek the opinion of a Qualified Professional.

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I did a lot of research into this - although I failed to find a successful court action, and only a few details of a failed case.

 

I did find an article ran in The Guardian in 2015 where the journalist successfully got a refund for the customer and I got a copy of the OFT guidelines for unfair terms in entertainment contracts. I emailed the Journalist and to my surprise not only did they respond but were willing to help me obtain a refund.

 

I sent all of this information to Virgin and they have issued me a cheque refund today.

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Great news well done and lets us know when the cheque clears.

 

Is it possible you could post a link to the Guardian Article you mention as it may be useful information to assist other users, also remember you may be able to help others from your experience.

 

Well Done

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:thumb:

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Well done !

 

Hopefully others in this position will now be able to find this CAG thread through a google search and know there is a chance of getting a refund.

 

I was not convinced a court claim would definitely work, if the balloon operator evidenced good reasons for cancelled flights. I should imagine that due to weather conditions, that many people never get to use their vouchers, as the booked days might never coincide with safe flying conditions. If the balloon companies had to refund every customer in this position as a legal requirement, they would have to increase prices or go out of business. Of course these balloon companies would not want adverse publicity from media, so would refund to stop this.

We could do with some help from you.

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The cheque has arrived this morning - the attached letter simply states please find your refund enclosed.

 

I really don't know what would have happened if it had gone to court. All of the information I read from the OFT were guidelines, not actual rules, so would have been totally down to the Judge's interpretation as to whether any of the terms were considered unfair. I might simply have got it because it was cheaper to refund me £204 than to travel and defend the claim.

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