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Your Advice: We Need to Cancel Our Holiday

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 18 May 2018 | 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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I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GO ON A HOLIDAY I HAVE BOOKED AND PAID FOR IN FULL DUE TO BEING LET DOWN BY THE SITTER FOR MY DOG - WHO NEEDS MEDICAL CARE. I KNOW THIS WON'T BE COVERED BY INSURANCE BUT NEWMARKET TRAVEL ARE TELLING ME I WILL HAVE TO PAY CANCELLATION FEES ON TOP OF MY FULL PAYMENT! RATHER THAN 'CANCEL' CAN I JUST NOT TURN UP AT THE AIRPORT?
CCG - 18-May-18 @ 3:51 PM
Kate - Your Question:
I booked a holiday via on the beach which included flights and hotel. On the beach advised the hotel had changed their description and that building/demolition works across the road from hotel were now extended from 31/03/2018 to 31/10/2018. Due to this I asked my options. No compensation etc was offered however onthebeach advised that the hotel supplier has confirmed we can cancel the hotel reservation free of charge. This was communicated to me in writing and phone call on 13th April. I responded that I wanted to cancel and also called to confirm this. Onthebeach advised that they did not cancel until the following day 14th April and due to this the supplier is now having issues claiming refund from hotel and basically I may not get my hotel refunded free of charge. As they advised I could cancel I have now booked and paid for alternative accommodation with another provider.

Our Response:
If you were offered the chance to cancel and did so as soon as you received the communication, the holiday company should honour this. Your contract is with On the Beach - it is up to the to resolve this with the hotel.
YourTravelRights - 20-Apr-18 @ 2:31 PM
I booked a holiday via on the beach which included flights and hotel.On the beach advised the hotel had changed their description and that building/demolition works across the road from hotel were now extended from 31/03/2018 to 31/10/2018.Due to this I asked my options.No compensation etc was offered however onthebeach advised that the hotel supplier has confirmed we can cancel the hotel reservation free of charge.This was communicated to me in writing and phone call on 13th April.I responded that I wanted to cancel and also called to confirm this.Onthebeach advised that they did not cancel until the following day 14th April and due to this the supplier is now having issues claiming refund from hotel and basically I may not get my hotel refunded free of charge.As they advised I could cancel I have now booked and paid for alternative accommodation with another provider.
Kate - 18-Apr-18 @ 10:53 AM
Dush - Your Question:
Hi we’ve booked and paid for a family holiday to Majorca at the end of may didn’t take insurance out with the holiday company when booking. My daughter has been taken seriously ill and is currently in the intensive care unit we’re not to sure how long she will be in there for and if she would be well enough to fly if she’s out in time. Just wondering if we was to cancel the holiday would we get any money back?

Our Response:
You will need to check the terms and conditions of the holiday booking with your holiday company to find out about their cancellaiton policy.
YourTravelRights - 4-Apr-18 @ 11:54 AM
Hi we’ve booked and paid for a family holiday to Majorca at the end of may didn’t take insurance out with the holiday company when booking. My daughter has been taken seriously ill and is currently in the intensive care unit we’re not to sure how long she will be in there for and if she would be well enough to fly if she’s out in time. Just wondering if we was to cancel the holiday would we get any money back?
Dush - 1-Apr-18 @ 6:19 PM
I booked a P&O cruise and took out annual travel insurance with Coverwise, which covered cruises. we are due to travel in 4 weeks time, and today doctor phoned to say a routine scan has revealed my mum has terminal illness, and immediately put on end of life pallative care. I will have to organise funeral arrangements. My father passed away many years ago. I therefore will be unable to travel on holiday in 4 weeks, my cruise company have advised that they will charge 75% cancellation fee of our holiday, which is over £6,000. My insurance cover is a bit confusing, but looks like I will only get maximum £2,000 on any claim. What can I do? I would have been interested on even transferring our holiday to another date, but doesn't look like I can. Is there anything I can approach them with to change to another date or have a credit note so I can book another cruise when I am finished bereavement ? thanks
CAR5565 - 11-Jan-18 @ 9:56 PM
Boo - Your Question:
I booked a family holiday with my sister, bro in law and my mother.My sister was taken ill and had an operation therefore we had to cancel our Cruise holiday.My sister received the refund for her and my brother in law.I went through my insurers as paid for myself and my mother.My insurance company now only want to reimburse for me and not my 77 year old Mother. They are saying she should claim under her policy, but we had not yet taken out a policy for her, and I paid the full amount anyway as It was my treat for my mother.Please advise,kind regardsDianne

Our Response:
If your mother wasn't named on your insurance policy, there's not much you can do about this unfortunately. Did you name her as one of the joint policy holders before travelling?
YourTravelRights - 9-Jan-18 @ 2:02 PM
I booked a family holiday with my sister, bro in law and my mother. My sister was taken ill and had an operation therefore we had to cancel our Cruise holiday. My sister received the refund for her and my brother in law. I went through my insurers as paid for myself and my mother. My insurance company now only want to reimburse for me and not my 77 year old Mother. They are saying she should claim under her policy, but we had not yet taken out a policy for her, and i paid the full amount anyway as It was my treat for my mother. Please advise, kind regards Dianne
Boo - 9-Jan-18 @ 9:26 AM
Rams - Your Question:
Hi my son and wife have booked and paid for their holiday in June next year they have just received news that my daughters laws mum as just been diagnosed with cancer and terminal they haven't got there holiday insurance as they have forgotten todo it how do they go on about getting insurance they haven't said how long she as got its months rather than years how do they go about insurance

Our Response:
They may need to talk to insurers directly via phone or to use a broker as not many policies cover the sickness of a relative who's not part of the holiday.
YourTravelRights - 21-Nov-17 @ 3:46 PM
Hi my son and wife have booked and paid for their holiday in June next year they have just received news that my daughters laws mum as just been diagnosed with cancer and terminal they haven't got there holiday insurance as they have forgotten todo it how do they go on about getting insurance they haven't said how long she as got its months rather than years how do they go about insurance
Rams - 20-Nov-17 @ 10:18 PM
I've booked a short break online for my husband and his friend, order confirmation was received however my husband is down as lead passenger and 2nd passenger, I've tried to call the booking company but every dept is closed, we have since received booking confirmation and my husband is still down as both passengers his friends name isn't anywhere what can I do.
Anna - 24-Oct-17 @ 1:02 AM
I have booked a holiday to Majorca next yr ie 28th Aug to 7th Sept 2018 with on the beach I have played 101.00 deposit already which I don't mind looking, but they now say I have to pay them 343.00 in full within the next 14 days to cancel my holiday I'm furious what can I do ..?
Terry - 23-Oct-17 @ 7:10 PM
Rocky4 - Your Question:
Can I get some of my holiday money back. admitted to hospital 2 days before flight

Our Response:
Does your travel insurance cover cancellations? Check this out. It's worth contacting your holiday company although at this late stage not many companies would refund anything.
YourTravelRights - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:13 PM
Can I get some of my holiday money back ..... admitted to hospital 2 days before flight
Rocky4 - 20-Oct-17 @ 8:16 AM
Three of us ladies booked a holiday to Crete. One of us has had to drop out. Love Holidays paid some refund and we were grateful. However, EasyJet have not removed the name of our friend from the flight booking on the return to UK journey and we cannot check in unless all three check in together. There is no part of their website that permits a passenger to cancel her flight and just not travel. We aren't looking for a refund, we want to check in on line (EasyJet insist that you check in only on line) before we travel abroad to a place where we are going to be without a computer or a printer. Not having a boarding pass is bad enough in UK, but worse in a country that speaks Greek as a first language. we now have a couple of hours of business day to get it fixed. No one should be put at the mercy of a company's computer system without a viable non-computer alternative being readily available. It is a form of discrimination against those who cannot read or write, blind, or who are dyslexic, disabled, elderly, have Parkinson's disease, rheumatic hands or those who have no hands, not to mention those who have no internet access, no signal.
Ruth - 4-Oct-17 @ 1:19 AM
G - Your Question:
My Wife and I were married in June and decided to have a late honeymoon skiing over Christmas/new years. We've since booked a trip and paid the deposit (Approx £1000) but have not paid the full balance yet. We've just found out she is pregnant, around 10 weeks now, but will be much further into the pregnancy by Christmas. She won't be able to ski (or drink alcohol), so she and I would much rather have a safer, relaxed honey moon somewhere warm now! It's a very well known ski holiday booking agent, but I can't seem to decipher their T&C's regarding the situation with the deposit - it's unlikely we'll get it back, but as it's still a few months away, 90 days to be exact. Any advice before I speak to the company direct?

Our Response:
There's nothing in consumer law that covers you in the event that you have to cancel your holiday because of pregnancy. Most of the tour operators will just keep your deposit if you cancel more than 84 days ahead. You should call them to discuss really.
YourTravelRights - 3-Oct-17 @ 2:22 PM
My Wife and I were married in June and decided to have a late honeymoon skiing over Christmas/new years. We've since booked a trip and paid the deposit (Approx £1000) but have not paid the full balance yet. We've just found out she is pregnant, around 10 weeks now, but will be much further into the pregnancy by Christmas. She won't be able to ski (or drink alcohol), so she and I would much rather have a safer, relaxed honey moon somewhere warm now! It's a very well known ski holiday booking agent, but I can't seem to decipher their T&C's regarding the situation with the deposit - it's unlikely we'll get it back, but as it's still a few months away, 90 days to be exact... Any advice before I speak to the company direct?
G - 1-Oct-17 @ 6:09 PM
@Clance...your question has already been answered right below where you repeated it LOL!
RubyRainbow - 14-Sep-17 @ 2:39 PM
My partner and I were due to fly to Paris on September 3rd for 2 days to celebrate the end of her ongoing spinal surgeries after breaking her back a few years ago. We booked the flights on August 24th at 4pm. Her final operation (outpatient) was supposed to be on August 30th. On August 25th, she got a call at 9.30am to sat the operation was getting changed to September 4th as they had scheduled her with the wrong surgeon. We had not even booked a hotel or travel insurance by this point. Knowing that we were within the 24 hour window, we called the airlines to cancel. easyJet were brilliant and gave us a full refund minus an admin fee, we called BA and they said we were entitled to a full refund but since it was booked through a travel agent (Omega Travel), the agent would have to cancel as BA did not have the permissions to alter the booking. Omega stated that their terms and conditions do not permit cancellations and that they were not able to refund us. Several telephone conversations ensued between Omega and BA where BA were saying we were entitled to the refund and Omega saying no. Eventually, Omega asked for proof of the surgery being changed and they would then process the refund. They have just come back to say that they will not refund due to it being against airline rules - which simply isn't true. We were within the 24 hour cooling off period which BA allow all ticket holders. We now don't know what to do as we believe we should be entitled to at least a partial refund.
Clance - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:59 PM
Clance- Your Question:
My partner and I were due to fly to Paris on September 3rd for 2 days to celebrate the end of her ongoing spinal surgeries after breaking her back a few years ago. We booked the flights on August 24th at 4pm. Her final operation (outpatient) was supposed to be on August 30th. On August 25th, she got a call at 9.30am to sat the operation was getting changed to September 4th as they had scheduled her with the wrong surgeon. We had not even booked a hotel or travel insurance by this point. Knowing that we were within the 24 hour window, we called the airlines to cancel. easyJet were brilliant and gave us a full refund minus an admin fee, we called BA and they said we were entitled to a full refund but since it was booked through a travel agent (Omega Travel), the agent would have to cancel as BA did not have the permissions to alter the booking. Omega stated that their terms and conditions do not permit cancellations and that they were not able to refund us. Several telephone conversations ensued between Omega and BA where BA were saying we were entitled to the refund and Omega saying no. Eventually, Omega asked for proof of the surgery being changed and they would then process the refund. They have just come back to say that they will not refund due to it being against airline rules - which simply isn't true. We were within the 24 hour cooling off period which BA allow all ticket holders. We now don't know what to do as we believe we should be entitled to at least a partial refund.

Our Response:
Travel bookings are not covered by Consumer rights legislation relating to the cooling off period. However, asthe airline is willing to refund/partially refund, then your travel agent is being unreasonable. Their terms and conditions are vague and but the information they've given you stating that they do no permit cancellations doesn't seem to concur with their t & cs anyway which differ depending on which version of their website you read. See here:
"PROCEDURES FOR CANCELLING YOUR FLIGHT RESERVATION: You must call our customer service department to inform them that you wish to cancel your flight. Customer service will inform you of any penalties and cancellation charges to be incurred with regards to a refund.
A cancellation refund form will be emailed to you for you to sign and return to us the same day. Failure to return the signed form to us the same day will result in loss of monies.
Please note that it is the customer responsibility to make sure and to check that our customer service dept are in receipt of the signed form the same day as making the cancellation. If the signed form is not received the same day but arrived one day later – loss of monies will be incurred by the client.
We suggest you persist in trying to obtain a partial refund. Write with a formal complaint to the customer services department and make sure you post reviews of their behaviour on any review sites/social media.
YourTravelRights - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:02 PM
My partner and I were due to fly to Paris on September 3rd for 2 days to celebrate the end of her ongoing spinal surgeries after breaking her back a few years ago. We booked the flights on August 24th at 4pm. Her final operation (outpatient) was supposed to be on August 30th. On August 25th, she got a call at 9.30am to sat the operation was getting changed to September 4th as they had scheduled her with the wrong surgeon. We had not even booked a hotel or travel insurance by this point. Knowing that we were within the 24 hour window, we called the airlines to cancel. easyJet were brilliant and gave us a full refund minus an admin fee, we called BA and they said we were entitled to a full refund but since it was booked through a travel agent (Omega Travel), the agent would have to cancel as BA did not have the permissions to alter the booking. Omega stated that their terms and conditions do not permit cancellations and that they were not able to refund us. Several telephone conversations ensued between Omega and BA where BA were saying we were entitled to the refund and Omega saying no. Eventually, Omega asked for proof of the surgery being changed and they would then process the refund. They have just come back to say that they will not refund due to it being against airline rules - which simply isn't true. We were within the 24 hour cooling off period which BA allow all ticket holders. We now don't know what to do as we believe we should be entitled to at least a partial refund.
Clance - 11-Sep-17 @ 2:57 PM
Jonesy - Your Question:
We booked and paid for a long haul holiday, 3 adults me and my husband and my daughter who is an adult. When we booked the holiday she was fine. Approximately 1 month before the holiday she went to see a GP and was referred to see a specialist. 2 weeks before departure she saw the specialist who advised against travel and told her that diagnostic tests would happen the week after. She cancelled her place on the holiday at this point a week before departure. At the time of travel my daughter did not have a diagnosis. On the day of travel my daughter had a 2nd appointment to see the consultant to discuss the results of tests. During this appointment he gave her a possible diagnosis and said that she would receive treatment possibly surgery the week after. We received this news during a scheduled stop over on route to our destination. Given that out daughter had been diagnosed at this point we turned round and returned. We incurred extra costs for return flights and an overnight hotel at the airport. I am aware that the insurance company will not pay out for a pre exising medical condition. However, this did not happen until the day of travel, where do we stand with our claim? Many thanks

Our Response:
You need to discuss this with your insurer directly as we don't have any information about your policy.
YourTravelRights - 11-Sep-17 @ 2:14 PM
We booked and paid for a long haul holiday, 3 adults me and my husband and my daughter who is an adult. When we booked the holiday she was fine. Approximately 1 month before the holiday she went to see a GP and was referred to see a specialist. 2 weeks before departure she saw the specialist who advised against travel and told her that diagnostic tests would happen the week after. She cancelled her place on the holiday at this point a week before departure. At the time of travel my daughter did not have a diagnosis. On the day of travel my daughter had a 2nd appointment to see the consultant to discuss the results of tests. During this appointment he gave her a possible diagnosis and said that she would receive treatment possibly surgery the week after. We received this news during a scheduled stop over on route to our destination. Given that out daughter had been diagnosed at this point we turned round and returned. We incurred extra costs for return flights and an overnight hotel at the airport. I am aware that the insurance company will not pay out for a pre exising medical condition. However, this did not happen until the day of travel, where do we stand with our claim? Many thanks
Jonesy - 9-Sep-17 @ 4:44 PM
alathome48 - Your Question:
My family were due to fly to Cyprus on 21 August we were a family of four my wife and my two sons three of us had pre-existing medical conditions which we took out insurance for my eldest son being that of epilepsy. Unfortunately on arrival at the airport my son had and epileptic seizure and had to be taken to A&E of course that resulted in us missing our flight. My son was released later and certified by the consultant as fit to fly. Our flight operator could not provide us with alternative flights and we had to book with another flight operator two days later at a cost to us. We stayed in and hotel by the airport for two days save us having to make the journey back and return a few days later. Would we be able to make a claim on this as looking at some of the comments it seems very unlikely although we had takenout specific insurance on medical conditions.

Our Response:
The easiest way to find out to is to contact the claims department of your insurance company. They're usually happy to explain the terms of your policy and what it may/may not exclude.
YourTravelRights - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:12 PM
My family were due to fly to Cyprus on 21 August we were a family of four my wife and my two sons three of us had pre-existing medical conditions which we took out insurance for my eldest son being that of epilepsy.Unfortunately on arrival at the airport my son had and epileptic seizure and had to be taken to A&E of course that resulted in us missing our flight .My son was released later and certified by the consultant as fit to fly . Our flight operator could not provide us with alternative flights and we had to book with another flightoperator two days later at a cost to us.We stayed in and hotel by the airport for two days save us having to make the journey back and return a few days later . Would we be able to make a claim on this as looking at some of the comments it seems very unlikely although we had takenout specific insurance on medical conditions .
alathome48 - 7-Sep-17 @ 12:22 PM
Cher - Your Question:
We are due to go on holiday on 26th August but my son broke his arm, a severe break, last Thursday. He is only 5 and, at best, the cast could be split to allow him to travel but only if the surgeon or a doctor will give a fit to fly certificate. The surgeon has said that splitting the cast could risk his recovery and mean that his arm doesn't heal properly, further surgery could be required and re casting. There are some issues over whether the insurance company will cover him if we still go also. They won't if he still needs further investigation or checks or will increase the premium if not. We are wanting to cancel the holiday as we think the risk is too high, we don't want to risk his recovery. What are the chances the insurance company will pay out if we get the correct certificate from the surgeon to say he thinks he is unfit to travel as too risky for his recovery?

Our Response:
We don't know have any information about the specific terms of the policy which you purchased, so we really can't say. Give the insurer a ring, they'll be able to tell you what your options are, whether cancellation is included and at what level.
YourTravelRights - 16-Aug-17 @ 1:53 PM
We are due to go on holiday on 26th August but my son broke his arm, a severe break, last Thursday.He is only 5 and, at best, the cast could be split to allow him to travel but only if the surgeon or a doctor will give a fit to fly certificate.The surgeon has said that splitting the cast could risk his recovery and mean that his arm doesn't heal properly, further surgery could be required and re casting.There are some issues over whether the insurance company will cover him if we still go also.They won't if he still needs further investigation or checks or will increase the premium if not.We are wanting to cancel the holiday as we think the risk is too high, we don't want to risk his recovery.What are the chances the insurance company will pay out if we get the correct certificate from the surgeon to say he thinks he is unfit to travel as too risky for his recovery?
Cher - 14-Aug-17 @ 9:29 PM
big al - Your Question:
I have booked a holiday with loveholidays7 days ago I have now been told that I have to have a eye operation and cannot fly for a least 3 months The holiday is for the9thof october ,2 months away, when you book a holiday ,do you not have a 14 days cooling off period! I just asked because the holiday company are asking for 50% of the holiday plus cancellation fees I am giving them two months notice?is this fare

Our Response:
There is no cooling off period for holidays. Check your travel insurance, does it cover cancellation?
YourTravelRights - 10-Aug-17 @ 11:39 AM
Ridley - Your Question:
We booked a holiday to antuiga and due to fly end of August, I have just found out I'm pregnant and my doctor and midwife have advised we don't travel because of zikka virus. The advice is also the same on the government website it doesn't recommend pregnant women travel. We have got travel insurance what are our rights?

Our Response:
If you have travel insurance as you say, check that it includes cancellation and what this covers etc.
YourTravelRights - 9-Aug-17 @ 2:40 PM
i have booked a holiday with loveholidays7 days ago I have now been told that i have to have a eye operation and cannot fly for a least 3 months The holiday is for the9thof october ,2 months away, when you book a holiday ,do you not have a 14 days cooling off period! I just asked because the holiday company are asking for 50% of the holiday plus cancellation fees I am giving them two months notice?is this fare
big al - 9-Aug-17 @ 10:11 AM
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