Home > Holidays > Holiday Lets: Is the Contract With Owner or Agent?

Holiday Lets: Is the Contract With Owner or Agent?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Accommodation Holiday Property Agent

If you are thinking of making a complaint about holiday accommodation, it can be difficult to know who you legally have the complaint against. You might have booked a holiday cottage/villa or self catering accommodation through an agent, but it's owned by an individual who you have had absolutely no contact with so far. So how do you know who to complain to, and who is legally responsible for the upkeep of, and any problems with, holiday accommodation?

Contract Law - Agents.

Under contract law, you usually have a contract whoever it is that you pay your money to. So if you were to find a hotel online, book a room and pay for it directly, it's easy to see that you have a contract with the owners of the hotel. They are bound by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act and the related Supply of Goods and Services Act to provide you with a holiday that fits the description made of it in the brochure, to supply all services with reasonable skill and care, and provide a holiday that is of 'satisfactory quality'.

The waters become muddier when you book a holiday cottage or other holiday accommodation through an agent. You might see a holiday let advertised, and have to book it through a third party. In this case, the third party is acting as the property owner's agent, and although you are paying them the money, the contract for the holiday let is formed between you and the property owner. If you check the booking conditions of any of the big holiday cottage booking agencies, you will usually find right at the start of their booking conditions, an explanation of this along the lines of:

"We, Acme Holiday Company Limited , act as agent in booking your holiday accommodation and any other related services. Your contract will be with your accommodation owner or other service provider."

What if the Holiday Accommodation is Not as Described?

This is a tricky situation in that morally you could say that both parties are liable. For example, if you spot holiday accommodation in a brochure that clearly states there is a cot available for a baby - but on arrival the cot is sadly absent, you have every right to complain as you booked the accommodation on the basis of information provided by the agent. You should notify the agent of the error, and they will have to prove that any such information was passed onto them in good faith. Legally, although the contract is still with the property owner, if the owner can prove that they passed on the correct information about their holiday accommodation to the agent, but the agent misinformed you, they can take action themselves against the agency. The correct way to deal with this sort of issue is to notify the booking agent but address any complaints to the owner. The agent should give you the owner's details when you make your booking.

It will always be the owner of the accommodation that is liable for any compensation - in this scenario for example, perhaps you would have had to buy a travel cot because you needed somewhere for your child to sleep. If the mistake was made as a result of an error by the booking agent, the owner then has the option of recovering the cost from the booking agent, as the owner will have his or her own contract with the agent.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Lucy
    Re: Claiming Compensation Under Data Protection Act
    My children were recently subject to a social services report, social services closed the case a few…
    24 May 2016
  • Haberdasher
    Re: Claiming Compensation Under Data Protection Act
    I attended the police station to report being stalked by a man known to me. The officer found my account…
    24 May 2016
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Is the Shop or Manufacturer Responsible for Faulty Goods?
    Claireew29 - Your Question:Hiya - Im writing to see if you can offer any advice. We…
    24 May 2016
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Faulty Goods
    Shaz786 - Your Question:HiCan you please give advice on what action to take. I bought a balance board from Funkypanda and the board got faulty. I had a
    24 May 2016
  • Wildt
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Bought a car and 3 weeks later the motor seized I called the dealer and the saison stuck with it.. They said they did a full…
    23 May 2016
  • Jules
    Re: Faulty Goods
    Hi, I bought a superkingsize bed 5 months ago, it has slatted base + a wooden support in the middle which has just completely collapsed + come off. An…
    23 May 2016
  • Mum2one
    Re: Faulty Goods
    Hi there I purchased some vinyl for my kitchen floor which wasn't cheap. I had it laid by a professional carpet fitter last July. Everything was OK…
    23 May 2016
  • Claireew29
    Re: Is the Shop or Manufacturer Responsible for Faulty Goods?
    Hiya - Im writing to see if you can offer any advice. We initially bought a new desktop from…
    23 May 2016
  • Shaz786
    Re: Faulty Goods
    Hi Can you please give advice on what action to take. I bought a balance board from Funkypanda and the board got faulty. I had a word with the company…
    23 May 2016
  • Kets
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    I Brought my car from a dealer at the start of February, with no warranty as I knocked off a couple of hundred quid.. 3 months…
    22 May 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ConsumerRightsExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.