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BCOMDAVE

European hotel facilities misrepresented via Booking.com. – Opinions please?

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Hi folks and thanks for taking an interest. I have a consumer issue which I would like some opinions on please? Please forgive me if this is in the wrong place.

 

On 18/07 I selected and booked accommodation for two nights via the Booking.com website for a place called Juras Mols in Bigauņciems Latvia. I was hoping for a few days away from consumer related hassle, ha ha, must have broken a mirror recently. The website clearly says on the accommodation page:

 

2nd Paragraph: “Guests can enjoy a sauna and a heated indoor pool. ….”

4th Paragraph: “Free Wi-Fi and free private parking are available. …”

 

My children very much enjoy swimming pools when they’re not on the internet and my wife also enjoys saunas and so I booked on the basis of the information supplied.

 

The general facilities tab for the accommodation shows:

Pool and wellness

• Swimming Pool

• Indoor pool (all year)

• Fitness centre (Additional Charge)

• Sauna

Internet

• WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.

 

All rooms include: “Private bathroom, Hairdryer, Ironing facilities ….”

 

From the rooms available at the time I booked a “Standard Quadruple room with Balcony” containing 2 single beds and 2 bunk beds at a total price of €138 which I paid via a Visa Debit card though the web site.

 

The description of the accommodation and facilities along with the claim on the web site of the 2nd best hotel in Bigauņciems gave me good expectations that the accommodation would suit our needs for an enjoyable break. (laughable really as when I got there, I found there are only 2 hotels in that location :lol:).

 

On arrival we were met by a member of staff, who showed us the common dining room and kitchen and took us to room Num 3 where we were shown the door to our ‘balcony’. This was in fact a metal fire escape leading to the ground. It had close growing conifer trees and overlooked the ‘hotel’ junk yard which I obviously photographed for the record.

 

We asked about the “pool” as we could not see anything that might be a pool and were told that there was no pool and no sauna available.

 

My wife later discovered on the second evening while having a conversation with a member of staff in Russian that there was a sauna in a room marked “Private”, but that (paraphrased), ‘we don’t use it because we have so many guests’. Later we were allowed to store our luggage for a couple of hours between check out and departure in the same Private room. We saw that it was being used as a store room with mattresses and bed linen and was obviously not available to guests. The staff clearly didn’t want us to photograph this room. The only sign of any ‘pool’ was an empty circular ‘plunge pool’ of not more than 1m diameter.

 

Wifi: The facilities says, “WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.” The normal expectation of a reasonable person would be that this would provide access to the internet. (Isn’t there something about internet access being a basic human right?). In truth is was sometimes possible to get a Wifi connection, but it did not give Internet access in most parts of the building that I tried. It was useless to us, unless we were in the common dining area on the ground floor. Not a complete disaster, but certainly not what was advertised.

 

We returned from the beach on the first evening around 9 p.m. we found the shower was broken, and judging by the condition of the broken fitting, was of a long standing nature. Not the biggest problem in the world to hold the shower head up, although more difficult for the children to shower on their own, but certainly not a quality experience.

 

Soon thereafter my children complained to me that the hot water in the shower had gone cold. I checked and there was no hot water from the shower or sink. I went to the reception and was told that it was because too many people had used the shower and that the accommodation’s boiler wasn’t able to make enough, but that it would be ok in about an hour. We ate and I checked the water on several occasions up until midnight and it was always cold. I checked again in the morning when it was at best tepid. So I ‘enjoyed’ two invigorating cold showers.

 

I checked again in the late evening following our return from a day trip and again the water was cold. I spoke with another guest who said that they had never had hot water on any evening of their stay. – I took their name and address.

 

This property and the facilities available to guests had clearly been misrepresented. Due to the lack of the advertised facilities: Wifi, proper balcony, indoor pool and sauna etc., I photographed and noted all of the problems and kept a copy of the website pages.

 

I contacted the booking .com customer services on my return and informed them that I considered them to be in breach of contract due to their misrepresentation of the hotel and requested a full refund and claimed damages by way of the cost of a trip to the nearest indoor swimming pool with a sauna.

 

I said that:

I believed it was an express term, of the contract for services, that the facilities described would be provided as part of my booking at this hotel. It was also an implied term that the service provided would be done so with reasonable care and skill.

 

Under UK law there are a number of pieces of legislation that provide consumer protection from unscrupulous or negligent traders, namely the: Misrepresentation Act 1967, Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (amended 2014), Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and most recently the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

 

I note now from their website that they disclaim liability for pretty much everything and state that “any dispute arising out of these general terms and conditions and our services shall exclusively be submitted to the competent courts in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.”

 

I said I would be most surprised if there was not similar provision for consumer protection from misrepresentation by a business under the Dutch Civil Code. I also believe that Article 6 of EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DIRECTIVE 2005/29/EC – the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive covers misleading business practices (“A commercial practice shall be regarded as misleading if it contains false information and is therefore untruthful or in any way, including overall presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer, ….”), is generally applicable in this instance. And in any event the Consumer Right Directive 2013 should still apply.

 

First off they claim to have not received my email. Then they offered 25 Eur compensation without acknowledging or answering any point of my claim. Next they said that it was difficult after the event and again offered 25 Eur. They now claim that: it’s nothing to do with them as they are just an ‘advertiser’, that the hotel does not accept my complaint and again they offered 25 Eur.

 

I have raised the matter on the ODR platform for what it is worth. I have asked Visa about a charge back and they have said, “It’s a very weak claim, but if you want to submit it we’ll take a look.” Misrepresentation of the fraudulent kind is fairly clear in my eyes. I’ve taken a look at the Resolver web site, but that talks about legislation relating to package holidays, which I don’t believe is appropriate for room only bookings.

 

So, please:

 

1 Am I barking up the wrong tree or being unrealistic in expecting things to be as described?

 

2 Anybody know about the ‘harmonisation’ of consumer laws across Europe or the Dutch Civil Code?

 

3 Which is the most appropriate legislation?

 

4 Anybody had experience of the “European Small Claims Procedure” (I hope I've included the relevant link)

 

Thanks in advance for any info.

 

Dave

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Sorry that you haven't had a response as yet. Hopefully this post will show up for today's experts (of which I am not).

 

 

In my opinion, you booked and paid Booking.com so they are responsible for dealing with you and then they can go after the hotel. I hope you still have the advert of the hotel and its (non) facilities. It beggars belief that any hotel would not have enough hot water for all the rooms.

 

 

A fire escape is not a balcony.

 

 

 

There is some law around for citizens in the UK to sue in another country and hopefully the experts will know more.


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Hi,

they are incorrect IMO. they cannot state that any action can only take place under Dutch law.

 

see the CJEU case in Helga Löber v Barclays Bank plc,

http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=9ea7d2dc30d8e7c9e59f136f4ee2b4c9fa8a022e559b.e34KaxiLc3qMb40Rch0SaxyPaxb0?text=&docid=205609&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=518663

 

of relevance:

article 5(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000;

Article 5(1) and (3) of that regulation provides as follows:

 

‘A person domiciled in a Member State may, in another Member State, be sued:

 

(1) (a) in matters relating to a contract, in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question;

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Thanks,

 

I will look into the info your reference material. Initial thought though?

 

 

.....(1) (a) in matters relating to a contract, in the courts for the place of performance of the obligation in question;

 

That could be more complicated. If the 'performance of the obligation' is providing accommodation in Latvia, does that then follow that action has to be taken in Latvia? Maybe I should read more first. :|

 

Thanks again.

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No. You performed the obligation in the uk and so did they ie the contract was formed here.

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Just looking at the Booking.com website and it may be that they are a third party where the facilitate a booking between you and the provider. This can cause problems if someone wants to take court action so you need to do research on them before taking any action.

 

 

This page on their website may go some way in explaining what they do

 

 

http://tinyurl.com/ybj69n25


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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I visited a hotel in the USA that had messed up my booking and I found Booking.com quite helpful, I phoned them, they phoned the hotel (who I heard being a bit argumentative), Booking.com then phoned me back and I said Id managed to find another hotel, Booking.com refunded me the difference.

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Having looked at the hotel on Booking.com it does look so-so and the reviews are rather average too..there does appear to be a 'pool' even if it is only a meter wide....if I were you id put it down to experience..Ive stayed in hotels in Vegas area recently and some are good, bad and ugly but none Id complain about but deff some I wouldnt visit again !

 

Even if you could start legal action in the UK it would be a risk and not convinced youd get much back, maybe the offer thay have made so far is best youd get ?

 

Andy

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The CMA has started action against various of these companies I think entirely possible to take the UK ltd and the EU office to court. They are purely an agent of the hotel as they take the payment. Imo

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