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Mistake on Holiday Website: Should We Have to Pay Extra?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 7 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Contract Holiday Trading Standards Goods

Q.

My wife and I looked on various websites for a cheap holiday for the two of us and our two children. We found a good deal for a holiday to Fuerteventura which was fairly cheap, but not ridiculously so. As such we booked it. The details on the email confirmation mention the flight out, the flight back and the hotel accomodation. It specifically states that there is no transfer included, which suits us as we always hire a car for our independence.

Late this afternoon I received a call from a representative of the holiday company stating that there had been a mistake on their websites and that the flights were not included in the price. He said if we still want the holiday we need to pay more money, which in effect more than doubles the cost of the holiday. He said I could have time to think about it and pretty much pressured me in to contacting him again tomorrow.

As far as I am concerned, they made the mistake. I booked a holiday at a certain price. The flights are on the email confirmation. Can they charge me extra like this? The cost of the flights obviously hasn't changed, but they obviously, (and they have admitted so), made a mistake and didn't charge us for them.

Now we could just walk away and have a refund, but we were looking forward to this holiday and I don't feel I should have to walk away. I thought companies had to honour the price at point of sale. Do I have a right to demand the holiday at the price we booked it at? What was a good deal, with their price hike, way more expensive than their competitors.

(A.C, 18 May 2009)

A.

There are two issues here. The first issue is that in contract law, a trader does not have to sell you their product at the price advertised. In fact they don't have to sell you the product at all. For example, if you were to go into a shop and see an item displayed at a particular price and it transpired that the item had been wrongly priced, you could not make the retailer sell you that item at the marked price.

A price on a display or even in a brochure is described in contract law as an 'Invitation to treat' and is simply an invitation for you to make the seller of the goods an offer to buy them. When you make this offer, the seller can refuse to sell the goods if he realises that the price displayed is a mistake. Once he realises that a mistake has been made, he should withdraw the goods from sale and put them back on sale at the correct price, inviting you to offer the correct price.

In practice, many retailers would simply decide to honour the original price because it's less hassle. But in contract law, they don't actually have to, and this is what the holiday company is relying on.

The other issue here is whether the contract to buy the goods has been completed,and this is the more difficult part of the problem. It's easy to say that there is no contract when you come up against this scenario in a shop, but when you book online and have a receipt for payment setting out what you think you've purchased, it's a greyer area.

Normally a contract is only concluded when you pay (or agree to pay) and the seller gives you your goods or services. This is called consideration. Plainly, as you haven't been on the holiday, there hasn't been any consideration on their part yet. This puts the holiday firm in breach of their contract to supply a holiday to you. You should be entitled to compensation - but can only insist on a refund, not that they provide the holiday at the cost advertised.

You have two potential courses of action - you could accept the refund and try to find a suitable holiday elsewhere, or pay more for the holiday. If you decide to pay more, you could try to claim the extra money back through the small claims court, but whether or not this will be successful depends very much on the circumstances. A district judge would look at whether the company were reasonable in asking you to pay for their mistake and may decide that they were, in this case. They will also take into account the holiday company's offer to refund.

You could also mention that you will be reporting the company to your local trading standards office for misleading advertising. Legally, whether any action will be taken is again very much dependent on the circumstances, whether the mistake was genuine and whether they continued to advertise the holidays after the mistake was noticed. But sometimes just the threat of trading standards can produce results.

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Sophie- Your Question:
HiWe have booked to go to Milan for 4 nights in October. Firstly, before anything was agreed the travel agent went ahead and booked a quad room an hour away from Malpensa. Nothing was explained as to why it was only when we asked that she explained and was told it was non refundable etc. So we've paid the monies they asked. We submitted passports x 4 only to find that our eldest son was omitted from the booking. So we again sent his details across. Only to be told that we would need to pay extra for his flight. I am sure this is wrong as original email confirmed all our stay at the price so why we being charged for their error? This travel agent has not assisted us and we feel that we've been pushed into buying as we are none the wiser. Is there anyway we can get a full refund? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
If this was booked as a package the Package Travel Regulations give you the right to:
-get the holiday that was described to you and the agreed price,
-be given details about the holiday that are factually correct and not misleading
-be provided with accommodation and resort that is clean and safe.
Tell the travel agent you want a refund because they have notbooked what you asked for. If necessary tell them you will take to the small claims court.
YourTravelRights - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:52 PM
Hi We have booked to go to Milan for 4 nights in October. Firstly, before anything was agreed the travel agent went ahead and booked a quad room an hour away from Malpensa. Nothing was explained as to why it was only when we asked that she explained and was told it was non refundable etc. So we've paid the monies they asked. We submitted passports x 4 only to find that our eldest son was omitted from the booking. So we again sent his details across. Only to be told that we would need to pay extra for his flight. I am sure this is wrong as original email confirmed all our stay at the price so why we being charged for their error? This travel agent has not assisted us and we feel that we've been pushed into buying as we are none the wiser. Is there anyway we can get a full refund? Thanks in advance
Sophie - 7-Sep-17 @ 7:29 PM
Moo - Your Question:
Hi we booked 2 weeks ago to go on holiday on 30 August 2017.We are traveling as an extended family of 5 so the room I booked online has a separate living area for my mother (71) it also is on ground floor and has a bath and kitchenette to help with my 1yo, I also paid extra to be on one side of the holiday complex I sespifucakly booked this as my mother has walking difficulties and knowing the hotel I know this side of the complex is closer to the food,pools and entertainment also on ground floor so she doesn't have to drag upstairs and I don't have to carry the buggy and my son up. I emailed to make sure we will be provided with a cot quoting the room I had booked and I was told that this is not the room I will be receiving.The actual room I'll be getting is A family suite on the second or third floor with open plan living, a walk in bathroom with only a shower, no kitchenette I've contacted the agents and I keep getting passed from pillar to post Where do I stand on this ?

Our Response:
You haven't received what you booked/paid for, this is breach of contract, but also in terms of the consumer rights legislation, it's "not as described". Although many types of holiday bookings are exempt from consumer rights legislation, you should be entitled to a correction of the booking details or a refund. The problem is the agent's lack of communication, we suggest you speak with Trading Standards or Citizens' Advice to see if they can offer any help in contacting the company for you.
YourTravelRights - 17-Aug-17 @ 11:16 AM
jimbob123 - Your Question:
Hi, Around 3 months ago I booked a package holiday to Santa Clara in Cuba with thompson, a honeymoon for myself and wife. This week I receive an email from thompson informing me that my flight (in November this year) from Manchester to Santa Clara has been cancelled and that they no longer will be operating any hotels in the santa clara region - which includes my hotel - so essentially they have completely cancelled a holiday I have already bought and paid for. They said they still can fly to Varadero (the other side of cuba) and still operate hotels in that region and would be willing to pay £100 towards any additional costs it we wished to re-book there but the package deals are for that area at this later stage are more then double what we originally paid for our holiday to santa clara - what can I do in this situation - they also wont accept any of my calls, every time I try to call them they keep my on hold and then eventually they just hang up.

Our Response:
The company should offer you a full refund in this instance. Email customer services and send a written copy to their headquarters you shouldn't have to accept an alternative that you do not want.
YourTravelRights - 15-Aug-17 @ 2:19 PM
Hi we booked 2 weeks agoto go on holiday on 30 August2017. We are traveling as an extended family of 5 so the room I booked online has a separate living area for my mother (71) it also is on ground floor and has a bath and kitchenette to help with my 1yo, I also paid extra to be on one side of the holiday complex I sespifucakly booked this as my mother has walking difficulties and knowing the hotel I know this side of the complex is closer to the food,pools and entertainment also on ground floor so she doesn't have to drag upstairs and I don't have to carry the buggy and my son up. I emailed to make sure we will be provided with a cotquoting the room i had booked and I was told that this is not the room I will be receiving. The actual room I'll be getting is A family suite on the second or third floor with open plan living, a walk in bathroom with only a shower, no kitchenette I've contacted the agents and I keep getting passed from pillar to post Where do I stand on this ?
Moo - 15-Aug-17 @ 11:57 AM
Hi, Around 3 months ago I booked a package holiday to Santa Clara in Cuba with thompson, a honeymoon for myself and wife. This weeki receive an email from thompson informing me that my flight (in November this year) from Manchester to Santa Clara has been cancelled and that they no longer will be operating any hotels in the santa clara region - which includes my hotel - so essentially they have completely cancelled a holiday i have already bought and paid for. They said they still can fly to Varadero (the other side of cuba)and still operate hotels in that region and would be willing to pay £100 towards any additional costs it we wished to re-book there but the package deals are for that area at this later stage are more then double what we originally paid for our holiday to santa clara - what can i do in this situation - they also wont accept any of my calls, every time i try to call them they keep my on hold and then eventually they just hang up.
jimbob123 - 13-Aug-17 @ 10:12 PM
Hi I have booked a holiday for a.a party of 22 people had a quote.for £352 per.person flight . Full boardand transfersagreed this price with the agent and sent over everyone names date birth and 100 each deposit. Then get a phone call to say but of a problem only booked.15 on the flight and prices changed he then manged to book some more.on later that night and now is asking us either to pay £14.00 each more. Or book the other 3 on a totally different flight. How do we stand on this as the info we have back states everyone is listed as flight and holiday
Kel - 13-Jul-17 @ 10:56 PM
Captain - Your Question:
Hi I booked a holiday over 3 months ago with Thomson which is fully paid,. due for departure in 5 weeks.We are a family of 4 with 2 children aged 12 & 16.I received a email changing hotel and resort as they say they made a mistake and the hotel which is one of their own don't do 2 children of this age in one room.Looking into things I think they should have priced us up for 2 rooms ,any advice would be most helpful thanks

Our Response:
You have a right to cancel for a full refund. Unfortunately, at this late stage that doesn't really help you as an alternative holiday might be difficult to find. It's worth considering accepting their offer and submitting a compensation claim afterwards, for example if you were meeting friend/family at the original resort, or the facilities/local amenities are not so good.
YourTravelRights - 3-Jul-17 @ 2:38 PM
Gary - Your Question:
Hi I am looking for advise. I recently booked a flight and hotel separately but found a better deal on jet2holidays and I paid in full and cancelled the others but I have just recieved a phone call from jet2 saying the prices were wrong on the website and they can't supply the holiday for that price. Since I have paid in full at the price they gave was an invitation to purchase and I entered a contract surely they have to supply the goods? Any help would be appreciated thanks

Our Response:
Check the terms and conditions - many companies say that a contract does not exist until the goods are supplied. Usually your payment would also have to be accepted and a confirmation email sent through. You should receive a full refund if your money has been accepted. Note there is no cooling off period relating to holiday bookings either, so make sure you have not been chargedfor cancelling the first holiday.
YourTravelRights - 3-Jul-17 @ 2:16 PM
hi I booked a holiday over 3 months ago with Thomson which is fully paid,. due for departure in 5 weeks.We are a family of 4 with 2 children aged 12 & 16.I received a email changing hotel and resort as they say they made a mistake and the hotel which is one of their own don't do 2 children of this age in one room.Looking into things I think they should have priced us up for 2 rooms ,any advice would be most helpful thanks
Captain - 2-Jul-17 @ 9:12 PM
Hi I am looking for advise. I recently booked a flight and hotel separately but found a better deal on jet2holidays and I paid in full and cancelled the others but i have just recieved a phone call from jet2 saying the prices were wrong on the website and they can't supply the holiday for that price. Since I have paid in full at the price they gave was an invitation to purchase and I entered a contract surely they have to supply the goods? Any help would be appreciated thanks
Gary - 2-Jul-17 @ 12:00 PM
lorr - Your Question:
Hi I have booked a holiday and put someone down as a mr instead of a miss, will I be charged to cchange this?

Our Response:
Check this with the holiday operator. It's best to get it changed as the booking/flight details will need to match those on your passport.
YourTravelRights - 27-Jun-17 @ 1:44 PM
hi i have booked a holiday and put someone down as a mr instead of a miss, will i be charged to cchange this?
lorr - 25-Jun-17 @ 8:10 PM
seasider - Your Question:
Hi, we have booked a holiday for August 2018. I found the holiday online and then phoned the holiday firms local shop to see if they could do a better deal.It ended up being more or less the same price, but as the salesgirl had taken so long to try to get us a better deal we decided to book through them rather than the online deal.We paid a low cost £150.00 deposit and have the confirmation stating the remainder of the balance is due in April 2018.This week the shop phoned us to say we owe £450.00, the remainder of the low cost deposit. We explained that nowhere on the confirmation does it say we have to pay the £450.00, the shop are saying the systems were down when we booked , this is why the £450.00 is not shown on the confirmation.The balance due April 2018 plus the £150.00 deposit does add up to the full cost of the holiday.I dont agree that we should have to pay this now as it is in no way our error.Any advice please?Thanks.

Our Response:
When you entered into the contract, there was no mention of a further payment until the balance of the cost in April 2018. Most holiday companies commit receiving a deposit and then taking the balance at a certain time period before the holiday (usually 8 to 12 weeks before the departure date). Here is what Thomson (for example) says:
"You will be required to pay a deposit to us for each person when you book unless this is within 12 weeks of departure. The deposit amount will be specified by us or your travel agent when your booking is made.This is your only commitment until 12 weeks before you go. Within two weeks of booking, we will send you a Confirmation Invoice showing how much you owe us. You must pay the amount on the last Invoice issued by us, at least 12 weeks before you go on holiday"
We do not think you need pay extra from what you have told us, but it might be worth contactingCitzens' Advice
YourTravelRights - 6-Jun-17 @ 11:49 AM
Hi, we have booked a holiday for August 2018. I found the holiday online and then phoned the holiday firms local shop to see if they could do a better deal. It ended up being more or less the same price, but as the salesgirl had taken so long to try to get us a better deal we decided to book through them rather than the online deal. We paid a low cost £150.00 deposit and have the confirmation stating the remainder of the balance is due in April 2018. This week the shop phoned us to say we owe £450.00, the remainder of the low cost deposit. We explained that nowhere on the confirmation does it say we have to pay the £450.00, the shop are saying the systems were down when we booked , this is why the £450.00 is not shown on the confirmation. The balance due April 2018 plus the £150.00 deposit does add up to the full cost of the holiday. I dont agree that we should have to pay this now as it is in no way our error. Any advice please? Thanks.
seasider - 3-Jun-17 @ 12:02 PM
Fred - Your Question:
Hello need your advice, my travel agent Cheated on us by giving account number under company name but he lied as he gave his own account and absconded with the money , whst to do

Our Response:
Report it to the police of course.
YourTravelRights - 11-May-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hello need your advice,my travel agent Cheated on us by giving account number under company name but he lied as he gave his own account and absconded with the money ,whst to do
Fred - 10-May-17 @ 3:55 AM
Nicola - Your Question:
Hi,We have booked a holiday costing £3995 which we have paid £1900 of (£100 on a credit card and balance to be paid in 4 days time). The travel agent are now saying the booking confirmation was sent in error and it shouldn't have been that price and are now wanting an additional £600. Can you please advise? Thanks,Nicola

Our Response:
If you have not received any other documentation and the only information you received was the original price, the operator cannot increase it. Send copies of the booking, the confirmation and any other payment information you've been sent. Say that this is the contract you agreed to and in accepting your deposit they have also entered into the agreement. Charging more would be a breach of contract. You should (1) ask for the holiday to go ahead at the originally agreed price
or
(2) demand a full refund (and hope to book another holiday)
or
(3) pay the extra and try to claim it back via the courts. It might be worth seeing if you can get advice from a solicitor if they first option is not successful.
YourTravelRights - 3-May-17 @ 12:01 PM
Hi, We have booked a holiday costing £3995 which we have paid £1900 of (£100 on a credit card and balance to be paid in 4 days time). The travel agent are now saying the booking confirmation was sent in error and it shouldn't have been that price and are now wanting an additional £600. Can you please advise? Thanks, Nicola
Nicola - 2-May-17 @ 6:27 PM
Fletchemma - Your Question:
Hi I'm looking for advice, my boyfriend booked our holiday last October with Barrhead travel to Dubai flying with emirates flying out in July this year. They contacted him last month to say the girl who booked it didn't add my middle name and put her own birthdate in instead of his. So therefore they had to rebook our flights 3 months before we go and are charging us an extra £800. None of this is our fault so why should we be paying for their mistake?

Our Response:
Were you given a copy of the booking at the time - in order to check the details? Sorry we don't have enough information to really comment at this stage.
YourTravelRights - 27-Apr-17 @ 2:39 PM
Hi I'm looking for advice, my boyfriend booked our holiday last October with Barrhead travel to Dubai flying with emirates flying out in July this year. They contacted him last month to say the girl who booked it didn't add my middle name and put her own birthdate in instead of his. So therefore they had to rebook our flights 3 months before we go and are charging us an extra £800. None of this is our fault so why should we be paying for their mistake?
Fletchemma - 26-Apr-17 @ 6:36 PM
Jen - Your Question:
Hi there I would appreciate some advice. Booked our wedding 1st June 2018 with wedding planner last sun went to travel agents to book holiday side of things. Long story short majority of guests wanting to go for 14 days too. All went through the computer system at travel agents with a few deposits they asked that prices were held or 24 hours so the rest of the guests were to ring up Mon and pay theirs. Received call on mon from travel agents who advised not all bookings had gone through as not enough 14 day flights therefore wud have to offer us 10 night holidays instead or try and get 14 day flights released. After a lot of calls etc 14 flights were released but with extra cost of £1,300 per adult to eventually be reduced to £600 per adult. Agents said they met us half way when actually they didn't as this was new price online. Therefore upset and cancelled booking and now wishing had kept hold of the booking. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry to add at no time was I advised Chance this cud happen therefore booked people on in no particular order two bookings had gone through confirmed including my own and my cousin's but my 17 year old daughter and her friend had not gone through (cheaper to stay in room next to us than all together) so obviously would want daughter and her friend to be booked on before my cousin.Please help where do you think I stand and do you think they should honour and reinstate the booking a good will gesture even if for the 10 nights? Thanks x

Our Response:
No they do not need to honour this if you have cancelled it. They may still want the business though, so it's worth asking.
YourTravelRights - 27-Mar-17 @ 12:31 PM
Hi there I would appreciate some advice.Booked our wedding 1st June 2018 with wedding planner last sun went to travel agents to book holiday side of things.Long story short majority of guests wanting to go for 14 days too.All went through the computer system at travel agents with a few deposits they asked that prices were held or 24 hours so the rest of the guests were to ring up Mon and pay theirs.Received call on mon from travel agents who advised not all bookings had gone through as not enough 14 day flights therefore wud have to offer us 10 night holidays instead or try and get 14 day flights released.After a lot of calls etc 14 flights were released but with extra cost of £1,300 per adult to eventually be reduced to £600 per adult.Agents said they met us half way when actually they didn't as this was new price online.Therefore upset and cancelled booking and now wishing had kept hold of the booking.Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry to add at no time was I advised Chance this cud happen therefore booked people on in no particular order two bookings had gone through confirmed including my own and my cousin's but my 17 year old daughter and her friend had not gone through (cheaper to stay in room next to us than all together) so obviously would want daughter and her friend to be booked on before my cousin. Please help where do you think I stand and do you think they should honour and reinstate the booking a good will gesture even if for the 10 nights? Thanks x
Jen - 25-Mar-17 @ 8:55 PM
Benji - Your Question:
In January we booked a package holiday through Thomsons to Sensimar hotel, Punta Cana, Dom Rep for October this year. The description was that this was a brand new 250 room adult only hotel for summer 2016 with 4 swimming pools, 3 of these being infinity pools and 5 restaurants, the 'planned appearances looked great.On Thursday 7th June I received an email from Thompsons saying that the 'only pool' at the hotel was not an infinity pool as there was sand dunes in front of it, all but one of the restaurants were part of the Riu Republica (610 rooms).Customers enquiring on the whereabouts of the hotel through travel agents and via the phone were left confused as nobody seemed to have a clear answer, reviews left are less than positive. Where do we stand on cancelling? Sales advisor in shop seems to think that we will be liable for cancellation charges even though brochure description was inaccurate and to be told that the inaccuracies weren't discovered till the email was sent seems rather strange.

Our Response:
It's difficult to deal with this until you've actually had the holiday. If Thomsons has already informed you that the hotel is not as described then they should offer yo a refund or a discount. If they refuse, you should make sure you keep a copy of the advert/your booking details etc andtake photos when you are there as evidence that you have been sold something that was not at all as described.
YourTravelRights - 11-Jul-16 @ 1:53 PM
Sorry date should be 7th July not 7th June
Benji - 9-Jul-16 @ 1:55 PM
In January we booked a package holiday through Thomsons to Sensimar hotel, Punta Cana, Dom Rep for October this year. The description was that this was a brand new 250 room adult only hotel for summer 2016 with 4 swimming pools, 3 of these being infinity pools and 5 restaurants, the 'planned appearances looked great. On Thursday 7th June I received an email from Thompsons saying that the 'only pool' at the hotel was not an infinity pool as there was sand dunes in front of it, all but one of the restaurants were part of the Riu Republica (610 rooms). Customers enquiring on the whereabouts of the hotel through travel agents and via the phone were left confused as nobody seemed to have a clear answer, reviews left are less than positive. Where do we stand on cancelling? Sales advisor in shop seems to think that we will be liable for cancellation charges even though brochure description was inaccurate and to be told that the inaccuracies weren't discovered till the email was sent seems rather strange.
Benji - 9-Jul-16 @ 9:24 AM
Shelley - Your Question:
In February we booked 2 long haul flights and yesterday 16/5 I rang to ask how much it would cost to upgrade to business class. 3 hours later they rang to say £495 each which I thought was cheap and they said it was a promotion so I paid over the phone on my credit card with a 2% surcharge. Today the company rang me back and said it was a mistake and you need to pay another £2000 so obviously I said no. Are they allowed to do this? I have an email and paperwork confirming and I had to agree to this via a return email. They have told me they have credited back the monies to my credit card for the upgrade. Thanks for reading any advice would be great.

Our Response:
Yes as long as they have refunded you, they can do this.
YourTravelRights - 20-May-16 @ 11:04 AM
In February we booked 2 long haul flights and yesterday 16/5 i rang to ask how much it would cost to upgrade to business class.3 hours later they rang to say £495 each which I thought was cheap and they said it was a promotion so I paid over the phone on my credit card with a 2% surcharge.Today the company rang me back and said it was a mistake and you need to pay another £2000 so obviously I said no. Are they allowed to do this? I have an email and paperwork confirming and I had to agree to this via a return email.They have told me they have credited back the monies to my credit card for the upgrade.Thanks for reading any advice would be great.
Shelley - 17-May-16 @ 5:56 PM
i booked a holiday this afternoon over the phone to thomson. The girl I spoke to gave mea price , then the price dropped and then it went back up again. I paid in full. An hour later she phoned back and said they had given me a price that was too low. are they allowed to do this?
ems - 24-Oct-15 @ 5:17 PM
I bought 2 holidays from on the internet, one was an obvious mistake, the other was probably correct. Would i be alowed to keep both holidays as i have paid in full the amount asked for, and also received a booking confirmation and vouchers for the all inclusive holiday accommodation., and now they want me to pay the full price. Can you give me any advice please. Thanks, Stunville.
Stunnsville - 16-Jul-15 @ 7:37 PM
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