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BACKGROUND

Thousands of people have sought my help with obtaining a refund from Hoseasons (actual name: Vacation Rentals (UK) Limited).

Hoseasons sell the following holidays: i) lodges and parks ii) cottages iii) boating and iv) European parks. This blog and the template letters below relate to i) and ii) above.

Please note: the advice in this blog is generic, and the template letters are also generic. I am therefore unable to anticipate every scenario that each person claiming a refund has experienced.

You should be able to easily adapt the template letters to fit your circumstances, and my view is that refunds will follow. However, if you would like bespoke legal assistance at this stage, or if your refund is rejected, myself and my team can assist for a low cost fixed fee (see the link at the end of this blog).

THE LEGAL POSITION

Hoseasons/property owner cancelled

As there is clearly no debate about such cancellations, I will not provide any commentary on Hoseasons’/the property owners’ legal right to cancel.

The position where your holiday has been cancelled by Hoseasons or the property owner is legally clear, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A REFUND.

Some people have told me that their refund request has been rejected by Hoseasons as “you did not take out our cancellation insurance”; Total nonsense.  The purpose of this insurance policy is to protect consumers when ‘they’ cancel. It therefore has absolutely no application when Hoseasons/the property owner cancels.

I have also heard stories where the consumer has been told that they can only have a voucher. Again, this is wrong and you are entitled to a cash refund.

You cancelled

Hoseasons is likely to reject refund claims where the consumer has cancelled, as Hoseasons appear to believe a refund does not need to be given in these circumstances (unless the consumer took out insurance). Hoseasons is  wrong. My view is that you are entitled to a refund under one of the following legal principles:

  1. The contract has been frustrated – i.e. the property owner cannot give you use of the property due to the lockdown, and you cannot travel. In these circumstances, the contract comes to an end and monies are refund; and/or
  2.  The Hoseasons contract is unfair in law if it does not allow for a refund.

TEMPLATE LETTERS

I have set out below two templates: Template 1 – for use where Hoseasons/the property owners cancelled the booking; and Template 2 – for use where you cancelled the booking.

You will see that there are square brackets in certain places in the templates. This indicates that you need to add information specific to your case (such as a date).
You simply need to cut and paste the template text below into a Word document.
Once you have completed the relevant template letter, you should email it to Hoseasons with the following message:

“I attach a letter before action in relation to my booking no. [insert booking no]. Please can you: i) immediately pass this letter to the property owner; and ii) confirm, by return of email, that you have taken this action. Please note, if you fail to forward the attached to the property owner, I shall join you into the legal proceedings.

I note that Hoseasons is a member of ABTA and is therefore bound by ABTA’s ‘Code of Conduct’. In this respect, please confirm that you will be advising the property owner to provide me with a full refund, in accordance with the Code of Conduct, failing which I will make a complaint to ABTA”.

Template letter 1 – where Hoseasons/property owner cancelled

To: The owner of the property known as
[insert property name]

c/o: Vacation Rentals (UK) Limited (“Hoseasons”)

By email only:

Dear Sirs

Holiday booked for [insert date] at [insert property name] (“the Booking”)

Letter of claim

I write further to the Booking on [date] via the Hoseasons website (“the Site”).

On [date] I received confirmation that the Booking had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, following which I expected to receive a full refund. However, despite formally asking Hoseasons for a refund in the sum of £[insert amount] (“the Booking Amount”), I am yet to receive payment.

In the circumstances, I am no longer prepared to leave this matter in abeyance and unless payment of the Booking Amount is received, in full, by [insert date 14 days from the date of this letter] (“the Refund Date”), I will be issuing legal proceedings in the small claims court against you personally, without further notice. This will result in you having a County Court judgment registered against your name.

This is my letter of claim sent in accordance with the Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (the ‘Practice Direction’).

I set out below details of my claim against you, and enclose copies of the key documentation which I consider to be central to that claim.

1 Overview and basis of claim

1.1 At the point of making the Booking, I entered into a contract with you personally (“the Contract”), as clearly set out within the Hoseasons’ lodges and parks booking conditions (“the Terms”) (see: Section A, Paragraph 1).

1.2 In accordance with the Contract, I paid the Booking Amount. Your obligation was to then provide use of the Property, and therefore honour the Booking. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you are no longer able to do this and, in the circumstances, you cancelled the Booking on [date] (“the Cancellation”).

1.3 As a consequence of the Cancellation, I am clearly entitled to a full refund.

1.4 I note that the Terms contain a ‘force majeure’ clause (paragraph 9). However, I have taken legal advice and understand that it has no effect in the current situation as: i) it is not descriptive enough; and, in any event ii) it fails to detail what happens with the Contract in the event of a force majeure event.

1.5 I also note that you will have paid a commission and potentially other payments to Hoseasons in accordance with the agreement you entered into with them. This is a matter between you and Hoseasons, and you have no legal basis to withhold any such monies from the refund you provide to me. I therefore expect to receive the Booking Amount in full, without any deductions.

2 Enclosures

2.1 I enclose with this letter of claim the following documents:

2.1.1 [any booking documents – state what they are – i.e. booking confirmation]

2.1.2 [any relevant correspondence you have had with Hoseasons – i.e. email dated xyz]

3 Next steps

3.1 As noted above, this letter is my letter of claim in accordance with the Practice Direction.

3.2 Given that this is a straightforward claim, I do not consider there is any need to obtain expert evidence.

3.3 There is no basis for you to dispute this matter, and I therefore do not consider this matter suitable for resolution by alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

3.4 I refer you to the Practice Direction and, in particular, paragraph 15 which concerns the court’s power to impose sanctions for failure to comply with the Practice Direction.

3.5 If you do not provide me with a full refund by the Refund Date, I will issue legal proceedings without any further notice to you.

Yours faithfully

[Your name] Encs


Template letter 2 – where you cancelled

To: The owner of the property known as
[insert property name]

c/o: Vacation Rentals (UK) Limited (“Hoseasons”)

By email only:

Dear Sirs

Holiday booked for [insert date] at [insert property name] (“the Booking”)
Letter of claim

I write further to the Booking on [date] via the Hoseasons website (“the Site”).

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, it has been necessary for the Booking to be cancelled, following which I expected to receive a full refund. However, despite formally asking Hoseasons for a refund in the sum of £[insert amount] (“the Booking Amount”), I am yet to receive payment.

In the circumstances, I am no longer prepared to leave this matter in abeyance and, unless payment of the Booking Amount is received in full by [insert date 14 days from the date of this letter] (“the Refund Date”), I will be issuing legal proceedings in the small claims court against you personally, without further notice. This will result in you having a County Court judgment registered against your name.

This is my letter of claim, sent in accordance with the Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (the ‘Practice Direction’).

I set out below details of my claim against you, and enclose copies of the key documentation which I consider to be central to that claim.

1. Overview and basis of claim

1.1 At the point of making the Booking, I entered into a contract with you personally (“the Contract”), as clearly set out within the Hoseasons’ lodges and parks booking conditions (“the Terms”) (see: Section A, Paragraph 1).

1.2 In accordance with the Contract, I paid the Booking Amount. Your obligation was to then provide use of the Property, and therefore honour the Booking. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you are no longer able to do this. Whilst I make no criticism of you for this, it does mean in law that the Rental Contract has been ‘frustrated’, and it should therefore be brought to an end, and the Booking Amount refunded in full, in accordance with section 1(2) of The Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943.

1.3 I note that the Terms contain a ‘force majeure’ clause (paragraph 9). However, I have taken legal advice and understand that it has no effect in the current situation as: i) it is not descriptive enough; and, in any event ii) it fails to detail what happens with the Contract in the event of a force majeure event.

1.4 I also note that you will have paid a commission, and potentially other payments to Hoseasons in accordance with the agreement you entered into with them. This is a matter between you and Hoseasons, and you have no legal basis to withhold any such monies from the refund you provide to me. I therefore expect to receive the Booking Amount in full, without any deductions.

2. Enclosures

2.1 I enclose with this letter of claim the following documents:

2.1.1 [any booking documents – state what they are – i.e. booking confirmation]

2.1.2 [any relevant correspondence you have had with Hoseasons – i.e. email dated xyz]

3. Next steps

3.1 As noted above, this letter is my letter of claim in accordance with the Practice Direction.

3.2 Given that this is a straightforward claim, I do not consider there any need to obtain expert evidence.

3.3 There is no basis for you to dispute this matter, and therefore I do not consider this matter suitable for resolution by alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

3.4 I refer you to the Practice Direction and, in particular, to paragraph 15 which concerns the court’s power to impose sanctions for failure to comply with the Practice Direction.

3.5 If you do not provide me with a full refund by the Refund Date, I will issue legal proceedings without any further notice to you.

Yours faithfully

[Your name] Encs

Copy of Your Consumer Claim (3)