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Your Advice: We Need to Cancel Our Holiday

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 9 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Your Advice: We Need To Cancel Our Holiday

“My wife’s mother has been taken ill, and rushed into hospital, and understandably my wife wants to be with her. We can’t possibly go on the skiing holiday that we’ve been planning since last year, because it’s in France and if anything happened to my mother in law, we wouldn’t be able to get back home. She has no other relatives close enough to take care of her.

“I asked the travel company if we could cancel the holiday, but they say that because we are only four weeks from the date we were due to travel, we aren’t entitled to any refund at all.

“We booked the holiday through a specialist ski company, and they are refusing to budge, pointing at the clause in their contract that says we can’t cancel and get a full refund at this short notice. When I asked why, they said it was because they would have difficulty selling the holiday. Surely they, as a company, can afford to lose the money more than we can as a family?”

Advice on the Next Step

Firstly, check your booking conditions. It’s quite likely that the tour operator is within their rights to deny you a full refund, however unfair that seems, because they will have set out the terms in their brochure.

Tour operator cancellation charges are usually calculated on a sliding scale, with the cost of a late cancellation increasing as you get closer to the departure date of the holiday. Legally, by cancelling your holiday you are in breach of your contract with the trader, the tour company, and this means that they are entitled to compensation for that breach of contract just as you would be if they had done the same to you. The Office of Fair Trading actually looked at these clauses under the scope of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, back in 2003, and decided that in most cases, cancellation charges weren’t disproportionate.

The cancellation charge can be almost as much as the entire cost of the holiday, unfortunately. If you cancel a holiday earlier with more notice, you may only lose your deposit, which is reasonable as the holiday company will have a much better chance of reselling the holiday and therefore you’re only paying a nominal amount for their inconvenience.

What Can I Do?

There’s not much that you can do in this situation – unless you have taken out holiday insurance cover which sets out the circumstances under which you can claim.

Check your insurance policy carefully – make sure that covers you for this type of cancellation, as some of them do have exclusions. Most insurance policies will cover emergencies like illness, death in the family, or redundancy but you might have to haggle with the insurance company over the meaning of the phrase ‘close family member.’

If you knew that your mother in law was ill before you booked, you could also have problems, as most policies exclude cover for anything that you knew might happen when you booked the your holiday.

All in all, this is an unfortunate situation, but as far as the law is concerned, there isn’t much that you can do to get your money back. See here for more information on holiday cancellations .

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Aisha - Your Question:
Booked holiday with friends and the kids, 2 days before travel I found out I was having a suspected eptopic pregnacy and was told by hospital I couldnt fly, so I called holiday company, explained situation, my 2 friends and their kids still going but myself and my son couldnt due to what was happening. Lady said she would cancel mine and sons place and would let hotel know and would change lead passenger to my friend. I contacted travel insurance filled out paperwork, was told I needed the cancellation invoice from holiday company, when I called them they said that I hadnt cancelled the holiday!! They said they would look into whats happend and why it was never cancelled but I am getting nowhere with them. What can I do?

Our Response:
Give your insurance company a copy of the original holiday booking and your medical note saying your couldn't fly. That should be sufficient. Get in touch with the holiday company again and ask to trace the records of the call centre (most holiday companies record all calls) for proof.
YourTravelRights - 10-Mar-17 @ 12:28 PM
Booked holiday with friends and the kids, 2 days before travel i found out i was having a suspected eptopic pregnacy and was told by hospital i couldnt fly, so i called holiday company, explained situation, my 2 friends and their kids still going but myself and my son couldnt due to what was happening. Lady said she would cancel mine and sons place and would let hotel know and would change lead passenger to my friend. I contacted travel insurance filled out paperwork, was told i needed the cancellation invoice from holiday company, when i called them they said that i hadnt cancelled the holiday!! They said they would look into whats happend and why it was never cancelled but i am getting nowhere with them. What can i do?
Aisha - 9-Mar-17 @ 6:14 PM
I booked & paid for a rental cottage in Lancaster Lancashire from 1 march - 29 paid £1040.00 However on 25 February my Husband broke his ankle and he could not travel with injury being so severe. When i advised the owner that we needed to cancel he explained £200 cancellation fee, which I accepted! Expecting £840 refund. He has only offered £690 refund! Completely shocked of his actions.. We had stayed in cottage last year on 2 different occaisions. Last year. What should i do please advise
Dolly - 7-Mar-17 @ 12:19 PM
Hi there please help.... I booked a holiday to mexico for august 2017 in January for myself and then partner to both pay half each. At time of booking i paid a deposit of £100 to secure the flights. However the enviable happened and we split up and he refuses to go with me so I am left with a £2480 bill. I booked the holiday with teletext holidays (stay away from them) in january and we broke up 2 weeks after I booked and paid the £100 deposit. I have been in touch with teletex daily and I am not getting a straight answer from anyone everyone keeps fobbing me off I ring almost every day a few times a day and its now upsetting me all I want to do is cancel the whole holiday. I have tried to request a change of name to passenger flight so that someone else could come with me even this is a hard thing to do all teletext tells me is that the holiday must be paid for in full in 10 weeks time. I cant afford to pay the balance on my own, and I don’t want to travel to mexico on my own either for my 50th birthday. I spoke to someone today to be told if I cancel I have to pay £1589 asap to cancel the holiday otherwise they refuse to cancel the holiday. I cant afford £1589 just to cancel a holiday on my own I work part time.please advise what i should do now, I am at my witts end. i really can not afford the money thay are demanding from me. many thanks for taking time to read any advice greatly appreciated
Michelle - 5-Mar-17 @ 7:22 PM
Hi I'm a foster carer and I booked and paid for a holiday abroad for august but now the child is moving placement will I be able to get the money back for her on my insurance as it's out of my control and it's my job thanks
Laura - 3-Mar-17 @ 9:43 PM
Hi, I booked a holiday over the phone & then got a call from the company to say my card was declined. I was then contacted by the Fraud dpt at my bank who informed me of 6 attempts in a couple of hours to withdraw various amounts of money out of my account by this company. Naturally I was shaken by this & blocked them from withdrawing further. No money has been paid to them & they are now harassing me by telephone, even late at night & I am too scared to take their calls. Do I owe them money now?
Jericho - 2-Mar-17 @ 11:20 PM
Sami - Your Question:
Hi. what it is. my and my sister have booked an holiday for us and all our kids but thing is I still owe 1200 quid and it's got to be paid in 2 weeks. I've paid 600 off the holiday so was wondering can me and my children can be took off the holiday and have the 600 paid towards my sisters part of the holiday?

Our Response:
No it's unlikely this will be possible. You will need to contact the holiday operator and discuss what they can do.
YourTravelRights - 2-Mar-17 @ 11:34 AM
Cath - Your Question:
Hi we are supposed to go to Greece in September,it's paid in full we did this by mistake instead of paying deposit.we didn't insure it yet,my husband has just been told he has terminal cancer,would we be able to get our money back ?

Our Response:
Contact the tour operator to see what their cancellation policy is. At this stage, you might still be able to cancel flights etc for a partial refund.
YourTravelRights - 1-Mar-17 @ 10:54 AM
Hi... what it is... my and my sister have booked an holiday for us and all our kids but thing is I still owe 1200 quid and it's got to be paid in 2 weeks... I've paid 600 off the holiday so was wondering can me and my children can be took off the holiday and have the 600 paid towards my sisters part of the holiday?
Sami - 28-Feb-17 @ 5:57 PM
Hi we are supposed to go to Greece in September,it's paid in full we did this by mistake instead of paying deposit.we didn't insure it yet,my husband has just been told he has terminal cancer,would we be able to get our money back ?
Cath - 27-Feb-17 @ 8:03 AM
Maggie - Your Question:
Hi my wife and I have booked a holiday to Australia and New Zealand in may foe three months but my wife has been put on beta blockers by the hospital she has to go in for further tests to find out what is wrong can I get my money back

Our Response:
Check your holiday booking terms and conditions. Most operators give a break down in their cancellation policy. It's unlikely you'll get a full refund, but hopefully you have taken out travel insurance that covers cancellation?
YourTravelRights - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi my wife and I have booked a holiday to Australia and New Zealand in may foe three months but my wife has been put on beta blockers by the hospital she has to go in for further tests to find out what is wrong can I get my money back
Maggie - 12-Feb-17 @ 10:17 AM
We booked a holiday with on the beach in Jan 2017 for 3adults and one child going in July l have cancelled due to marriage breakdown but my wife and daughter and grandson are still goingyet On the beach say we still have to pay the full amount whether I go or not we have paid £240 depcan do anything about this as now I can't afford my share as I have moved out of the marital home and into a flat
Wills - 10-Feb-17 @ 9:05 PM
Hi there please help.... I booked a holiday to malaysia and Bali in august 2016 for myself and then partnerto both pay half each. At time of booking i paid a deposit of £761 to secure the flights. However the envitable happened and we split up and he didnt pay the balance of holiday being 640. For the past month I have been in contact with the travel agent to requset a change of passenger details but they are refusing to allow and want me to pay 750 for another flight.I explained that im not able to travel half way around the world on my own due to being a nervous passenger thatcould suffer anxiety and panic attacks!Still said not able to transfer or passenger change. i advised that I couldnt possibly afford a further £750 for new flight plus the balance of £640 plus the 761£ id already paid. They stated that they could not resell the ticket to me at a loss??!!how would it be at a loss when id already paid. i contacted the airline direct who said it shouldnt be a problem. Again I wrote to the travel company explaining this still no joy i also mentioned that in their terms and conditions they would do their utmost to accomadate changes to a booking but they just sed No. Well now they are chasing me for the balance of the holiday been a week. I wrote to them again explaining that as they will not change passenger details at reasonable cost and that I really cannot travel alone that distance due to onset of anxiety and panic attacks then i would have no option but to cancel the holiday (i still have about 7weeks before i actually travel) expecting to lose my deposit of £761 but they not bothered and are now asking for further payment of £240 .i advised that i could not afford this further payment. And to insult me further they repeatedly keep sending me emails advertising the exact same holiday special offeravailable every month until November 2017.All they wrote back is as per t&cs the vwry very small print.having to pay this extra amount brings the cost to thousand pound. £1000 for a holiday im not going in. I dont think it unreasonable to dispute these charges considering the amount of notice i gave to cancel and the fact that this holiday is available throught out the whole yr. Please please advise what i should do now. i really can not afford a further £240. many thanks for taking time to read any advice greatly appreciated
Mustang - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:32 PM
Hi there please help.... I booked a holiday to malaysia and Bali in august 2016 for myself and then partnerto both pay half each. At time of booking i paid a deposit of £761 to secure the flights. However the envitable happened and we split up and he didnt pay the balance of holiday being 640. For the past month I have been in contact with the travel agent to requset a change of passenger details but they are refusing to allow and want me to pay 750 for another flight.I explained that im not able to travel half way around the world on my own due to being a nervous passenger thatcould suffer anxiety and panic attacks!Still said not able to transfer or passenger change. i advised that I couldnt possibly afford a further £750 for new flight plus the balance of £640 plus the 761£ id already paid. They stated that they could not resell the ticket to me at a loss??!!how would it be at a loss when id already paid. i contacted the airline direct who said it shouldnt be a problem. Again I wrote to the travel company explaining this still no joy i also mentioned that in their terms and conditions they would do their utmost to accomadate changes to a booking but they just sed No. Well now they are chasing me for the balance of the holiday been a week. I wrote to them again explaining that as they will not change passenger details at reasonable cost and that I really cannot travel alone that distance due to onset of anxiety and panic attacks then i would have no option but to cancel the holiday (i still have about 7weeks before i actually travel) expecting to lose my deposit of £761 but they not bothered and are now asking for further payment of £240 .i advised that i could not afford this further payment. And to insult me further they repeatedly keep sending me emails advertising the exact same holiday special offeravailable every month until November 2017.All they wrote back is as per t&cs the vwry very small print.having to pay this extra amount brings the cost to thousand pound. £1000 for a holiday im not going in. I dont think it unreasonable to dispute these charges considering the amount of notice i gave to cancel and the fact that this holiday is available throught out the whole yr. Please please advise what i should do now. i really can not afford a further £240. many thanks for taking time to read any advice greatly appreciated
Mustang - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:28 PM
carlos - Your Question:
Hi I booked a cruise for may 2017,but sadly my girlfriend has died and therefore I couldn't go on this cruise with vision cruise I paid £518.00 deposit and they told me I can cancel but I will lose this deposit,but the annoying thing is that all the money doesn't have to be paid until the 10/05/17 so surely because I haven't reached the date yet,surely they could meet me half way and say because of the circumstances they could give me half the deposit back,i would be gratefull to hear back from you.

Our Response:
We are sorry to hear about the death of your girlfriend. Check the terms and conditions of their booking policy to see if there is any futher information about cancellation that might cover this eventuality. It is quite common to lose one's deposit when cancelling. Have you tried writing to them with details of your circumstances and asking if they will make an exception? Will your travel insurer cover this?
YourTravelRights - 6-Jan-17 @ 11:44 AM
hi I booked a cruise for may 2017,but sadly my girlfriend has died and therefore I couldn't go on this cruise with vision cruise I paid £518.00 deposit and they told me I can cancel but I will lose this deposit,but the annoying thing is that all the money doesn't have to be paid until the 10/05/17 so surely because I haven't reached the date yet,surely they could meet me half way and say because of the circumstances they could give me half the deposit back,i would be gratefull to hear back from you.
carlos - 5-Jan-17 @ 12:49 PM
Happy New Year, Please do your have any clue? The company which will go on a trip is sold to another I do not want to travel with her can I ask for return of the deposit?
Bs_Bs - 5-Jan-17 @ 6:55 AM
Booked a holiday on line through voyage Privé which offer exclusive timebound deals. Paid over £800 deposit for 2 weeks in Zanzibar April 2017.The website is very detailed including info of average temperature each month.They have omitted to detail that their are "seasons" on Zanzibar so seeing temperatures of 30 and 32 degrees each month we thought this intimated sunshine.Since booking I have been told it is rainy season, torrentially so.I asked if I can move my travel dates and it has taken a week of stress to get a decision and now been told it would cost £1335 on top of the deposit and remaining cost of £1900 to pay which is extortionate. They claim they don't notify of the seasons on the site as they can change although trends do not seem to be the case.Also temperature is subject to change yet this is provided.They claim the holiday is dearer to go in June yet they offer a similar holiday now on a timebound deal which shows prices to be cheaper in early June than Apriil.I recall this to be the case when I booked too.They said I can cancel losing £400 of my deposit and that offer is subject to change. The customer service is appalling.Can you please advise or help?
Miesha - 10-Dec-16 @ 8:50 AM
.. - Your Question:
We have to cancel our holiday as we cant go due to my patner having to go to collage as part of his job, my last payment is next month 01.0.2017 would I just lose my deposit or the whole amount holiday costs £1890, im so stuck on what to do and its my first time booking a holiday!

Our Response:
You will need to check the cancellation conditions in your booking contract. Most holiday companies will also display these on their websites.
YourTravelRights - 7-Dec-16 @ 11:39 AM
We have to cancel our holiday as we cant go due to my patner having to go to collage as part of his job, my last payment is next month 01.0.2017 would i just lose my deposit or the whole amount holiday costs £1890, im so stuck on what to do and its my first time booking a holiday!
.. - 6-Dec-16 @ 10:56 AM
In July 2016 We booked a cruise going to the Caribbean and The Amazonon 1/2/2017 through a travel agent It is all fully paid for. We havereceived (11th Nov )a notification from the cruise companyadvising us of strongly recommended inoculations . We have been to our Drsto discuss this and one of the jabs is Yellow fever . We have been told to think very carefully about this as there can be potential serious risks from this injection for the over 60s .We are 65 and 72 . In view of this situation we wish to cancel the holiday. Please do you have any comments on the situation Thank You
Mamie - 24-Nov-16 @ 3:47 PM
Apache- Your Question:
Due to go to cancun in 7 days, myself my partner and our 14 year old son. My partners older son is in hospital in a coma as of this morning. Our holiday is £4500 all paid for, obviously we now can't go, what are our rights of cancellation?

Our Response:
Check your insurance policy to see whether this kind of cancellation is covered. Your holiday company's terms and conditions will tell you how much you might be entitled to/or lose for cancellation at this stage.
YourTravelRights - 8-Nov-16 @ 12:44 PM
Jojo - Your Question:
Need to cancel holidydue to work commitments Do I have to pay the rest of the deposit?

Our Response:
This depends on the terms and conditions of your holiday booking.
YourTravelRights - 7-Nov-16 @ 1:58 PM
Due to go to cancun in 7 days, myself my partner and our 14 year old son. My partners older son is in hospital in a coma as of this morning... Our holiday is £4500 all paid for, obviously we now can't go, what are our rights of cancellation?
Apache - 6-Nov-16 @ 11:23 PM
Need to cancel holidydue to work commitments Do I have to pay the rest of the deposit?
Jojo - 5-Nov-16 @ 9:19 PM
daisy - Your Question:
My daughter has booked holiday for her and her son ,,she will be going end may 2017,,she just found out she has cancer an has to have chemo for 6 mths which means she may not be able to go ,,she went to travel agents an they told her she will loose her £400 DEP but she is has insurance through the travel agent

Our Response:
Tell her to check the actual insurance policy to reclaim this. Was she given full details of the insurance policy when the travel agent sold it to her? If it doesn't cover cancellation due to illness was she aware of this when she purchased it?
YourTravelRights - 4-Nov-16 @ 2:10 PM
my daughter has booked holiday for her and her son ,,she will be going end may 2017,,she just found out she has cancer an has to have chemo for 6 mths which means she may not be able to go ,,she went to travel agents an they told her she will loose her £400 DEPbut she is has insurance through the travel agent
daisy - 3-Nov-16 @ 8:39 PM
Barnesy - Your Question:
My 2 year old daughter who was due to travel with us was taken into hospital as a medical emergency the day before we were due to fly to Ibiza! I started the claim with the insurance company as soon as possible and have the relevant documents to forward on! People have said that we won't get the full amount of our holiday back, this is worrying me, can this be true?

Our Response:
This will depend on the terms of your insurance. Dig out the policy and check the details.
YourTravelRights - 19-Oct-16 @ 12:48 PM
My 2 year old daughter who was due to travel with us was taken into hospital as a medical emergency the day before we were due to fly to Ibiza! I started the claim with the insurance company as soon as possible and have the relevant documents to forward on! People have said that we won't get the full amount of our holiday back, this is worrying me, can this be true?
Barnesy - 18-Oct-16 @ 9:03 AM
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