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Airbnb - 'non refundable deposit £1100'

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Hello,

 

In November 2018 we booked a large barn through Airbnb for a friends hen do for May 2019 - paid the £1100 non refundable deposit which equated to 50% of the total accommodation costs

 

Unfortunately the wedding has been cancelled and we cancelled the booking for the hen do last week -giving over 4 month notice

 

Airbnb and the host are refusing to refund our substantial deposit even though within a day of cancelling the barn has been rebooked by another party.

 

Clearly they are taking advantage - I have complained but haven't got anywhere and am just ben ignored by the host.

 

Any advice on what to do next would b great.

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Have a look at the rules relating to unfair terms in the consumer rights act 2015 – and the examples of terms which would normally be considered unfair in schedule two – especially part 1 , paragraph 4 and paragraph 5.

 

It seems to me that you are dealing with somebody who is trading their facility and they are therefore subject to the regulations relating to unfair terms and it seems to me that you are being asked to pay a disproportionally high sum because you are withdrawing from the contract – contrary to the requirements of good faith. It is clear that there is no reciprocal agreement in place – that the trader would be obliged to pay you a disproportionally high sum in compensation if for some reason or other the facility ceased to be available and they had to withdraw from the contract.

 

On this basis I would consider suing them under the CRA on the basis that a non-refundable deposit of that order is unfair and therefore the term is unenforceable.

 

 

This is an interesting case. I think it is significant and we will be very pleased to help you.


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I thought this would be the case and I used this in my email correspondence to her... I'm telling a porky when I say have sought legal advice - I have just googled.

 

Dear xxxx,

 

I have sought legal advice on this matter and I have been advised of the following.

 

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 includes a list of the types of contract clauses that may be considered unfair. This includes terms that require, in the event of a cancellation or no-show by the consumer, a “disproportionately high” sum to be paid in compensation. This may include high deposits or situations in which the booking could have been resold.

 

Clearly, the law states that, irrespective of any contractual terms to the contrary, where a consumer cancels a booking, the business may not be able to retain all the monies paid by the consumer in advance.

A business is entitled to hold back an amount that is reasonably needed to cover its net costs or the net loss of profit resulting directly from the cancellation. The retention of a genuine reservation fee may also be permissible if it is a small percentage of the overall price. Anything more may be at risk of being regarded as a penalty in disguise.

 

The advice I have been given has confirmed your policy allows for excessive cancellation fees and under the CPA 2015 would be deemed as unfair.

 

Terms that allow the trader to take too much of your money if you back out of a contract can be unfair. I am aware that you can claim for administration and marketing costs and for any work you had started and loss of profit but no more.

 

Given the holiday we had booked has now been resold and you are not at any financial loss please can you return £900 to me by Friday 18th January. This then leaves your business with £225 of our deposit to cover any charges you may have incurred which seems more than reasonable.

 

Hopefully we can then put this matter to an end without the need to pursue it further.

 

 

This might sound silly but where do I start for suing someone? Would it be through the small claims process?

 

Also the host has gone completely silent and I'm unsure how to contact her other than through the Airbnb site. I have the address of the barn (I have asked for her business address) but not sure any written communication should go to the barn.

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When did you send this letter?

 

You will have to send a 14-day letter of claim explaining that you will bring a legal action and without any further notice.

 

I think leaving them with £200 or £250 is more than generous but if you decide to bring the action then you should sue for the lot.

 

You would bring a small claim in the county court. Once you have sent the letter of claim, register onto the moneyclaim online website and also start reading around this forum to understand how to bring a county court claim. It is very easy. We can help you draft the particulars of claim.

 

Send the claim form to the barn if you have no other address.

What name do you have for them?


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Thank you - I'm currently pursuing a small claim for a different case which is going to a prelim hearing in March. (my first time).

 

I will send the LBA to the barn address.

 

All correspondence I've had with the host has been through email/messaging on the AirBNB website. I sent the last email early last week.

 

Thanks again.

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as they have already relet the property they cant keep the deposit as it is "betterment". If they genuinely have borne costs for accepting the booking them let them show them. If AirBnB have taken a slice then that is between them and their agents and you will co-operate with them to hep them recover the fees etc.

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