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Your Advice: We Need to Cancel Our Holiday

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 12 Sep 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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@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
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?
Ridley - 8-Aug-17 @ 6:07 PM
Russ - Your Question:
Hi there we booked a family holiday for 10 of us with jet 2 in march and travel in aug.my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer on 31 july and has been told by the specialist she isnt allowed to fly.unfortunately my in laws hadnt bought any holiday insurance at the time as they were going to do it 1 week before we travel.in these exceptional circumstances is there any thing we can do to get compensation.we have spoken to jet 2 but to no avail and they were quit abrupt on the phone

Our Response:
Not really....talking to the holiday company is really the only thing you can do and clearly they are not willing to do anything for you. This should emphasize to people the need to take out holiday insurance at the time of booking (it's no more expensive doing it earlier than later).
YourTravelRights - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:28 PM
Hi there we booked a family holiday for 10 of us with jet 2 in march and travel in aug.my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer on 31 july and has been told by the specialist she isnt allowed to fly.unfortunately my in laws hadnt bought any holiday insurance at the time as they were going to do it 1 week before we travel.in these exceptional circumstances is there any thing we can do to get compensation .we have spoken to jet 2 but to no avail and they were quit abrupt on the phone
Russ - 2-Aug-17 @ 5:55 PM
Lola - Your Question:
We booked a holiday last year with Thomas cook to turkey £2500 but had to cancel due to a panic attak we ask if we could re date it but the girl said it was too close as it was just two days before we were to go and our insurance said they don't pay out on such medical reasons

Our Response:
That's true, you should always make sure your insurance covers cancellation and make sure you are aware of which medical conditions are covered.
YourTravelRights - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:16 PM
we bookeda holiday last year with Thomas cook to turkey £2500 but had to cancel due to a panicattak we ask if we could re date it but the girl said it was too close as it was just two days before we were to go and our insurance said they don't pay out on such medical reasons
Lola - 27-Jul-17 @ 2:48 PM
Hi I've booked a holiday with love holidays for march next year It's for two people and I've put a deposit down. This holiday was booked 24 hours ago but my circumstances have changed and we can no longer go. Would I still get the same amount of cancellation fees ?
Ara - 13-Jul-17 @ 11:08 PM
scouse96 - Your Question:
Had an eye operation in may booked and paid in full for a holiday same month for aug 3rd the op was to insert a gas bubble in me eye, it normally takes 3 months to clear but on the understanding from the doctor I could have a 6 week bubble inserted 15 mins before my op the surgeon told me they dont do the 6 week op on the NHS , CRISIS now with a month left to go to the holiday the gas bubble is still in my eye and got to wait till the 20th july to see if it has gone so I can fly, if theres a tiny bit left in I wont be able to fly. so with only 1 week left before the holiday can I change my ticket details to another person.

Our Response:
You need to contact the holiday company to ask whether it's transferrable at this stage. Check your travel insurance as well.
YourTravelRights - 4-Jul-17 @ 12:29 PM
had an eye operation in may booked and paid in full for a holiday same month for aug 3rd the op was to insert a gas bubble in me eye, it normally takes 3 months to clear but on the understanding from the doctor i could have a 6 week bubble inserted 15 mins before my op the surgeon told methey dont do the 6 week opon the NHS ,CRISISnow with a month left to go to the holiday the gas bubble is still in my eye and got to wait till the 20th july to see if it has gone so i can fly, if theres a tiny bit left in i wont be able to fly . so with only 1 week left before the holiday can i change my ticket details to another person.
scouse96 - 3-Jul-17 @ 3:44 PM
lindauk1 - Your Question:
I have booked holiday with on the beach due to fly to malaga on 25 july my partner had got to have operation next week and doctors said that cant fly for 6 weeks not sure what to do as havnt got insurance yet and would have to change it to next year now.

Our Response:
Contact the operator and see if they are willing to do anything for you (they're not obliged to). This is why it's important to obtain travel insurance.
YourTravelRights - 28-Jun-17 @ 12:10 PM
i have booked holiday with on the beach due to fly to malaga on 25 july my partner had got to have operation next week and doctors said that cant fly for 6 weeks not sure what to do as havnt got insurance yet and would have to change it to next year now.
lindauk1 - 26-Jun-17 @ 9:21 PM
My mum has just been diagnosed with cancer and has to start treatment straight away. We were due to fly out in three weeks and royal bank of Scotland whom we booked through days we are only entitled to get 10% back! Is there anything else we. An do?
Ali - 31-May-17 @ 8:37 PM
We spoke to Thomson who told us to email their exceptions dept which we did! Within less than hour we had a reply to say the holiday had been cancelled and the funds held till we receive the death certificate to send to them then we are free to book another holiday! This is such a relief and just want to let others know who are going through unexpected events that there are companies out there who are willing to cooperate during these times! Can't thank Thomson enough!
Andi1688 - 31-May-17 @ 8:41 AM
My mum died suddenly on Saturday 27th may and we are due to fly on the 11th June We have insurance so I could cancel but would Thomson consider rescheduling the holiday due to the circumstances! I could cope with the holiday after everything is sorted but need to be here to support my brother and dad during the arrangements etc!
Andi1688 - 30-May-17 @ 12:56 AM
We have fallen out with friends and due to go away in 4 weeks time.would they move my holiday up later In the year.
Jan - 26-May-17 @ 1:01 PM
Hi again - further to my note below: we have spoken to Thomsons this afternoon and they have been extremely accomodating and sensitive to our plight. They have agreed to defer our holiday until June 2018! I cannot commend Thomsons highly enough for this as it would've be an easy cop-out for them to have just kept our money and re-sold our holiday - thanks everyone on here for listening and a #bigthankyou to Thomsons, Steve.
Steve - 24-May-17 @ 4:45 PM
Hi - my wife and I have a holiday booked with Thomson leaving on 5th June but my mother is now terminally ill with cancer, is in pallative care and could die any day so naturally we can't go. We have spoken to Thomson customer services who were very helpful and told us to e-mail their 'exclusions' department with proof of her illness by way of a GPs letter which we sent along with a letter form her oncologist. We have holiday insurance however it only covers people that are travelling. We're not asking for a refund and we know technically we have no rights as its fully paid etc but I was wondering what the chances were that Thomsons would allow us to defer as a goodwill gesture. We're waiting for a response from them and we understand they can keep our money but we're curious as to whther anyone else has has a similar experience and what the outcome was. many thanks
Steve - 24-May-17 @ 2:02 PM
Anna - Your Question:
Hi we go away in 5 1/2 weeks myself partner 2 children, holiday paid in full, I've broken my ankle an will find out next week if I need surgery? Either way I'm gunna be potted up for 8 weeks an on crutches, could I change my holiday for a later date? Change destination? I wouldn't be able to manage on holiday with 2 younge children, it's going to be a none weight bearing pot I have put on so not able to walk with out crutches, I've not paid for holiday insurance yet, think my mum as sum through bank to cover me an kids, I'm not wanting refund just a later holiday x

Our Response:
You can try asking your holiday operator, but they will not be obliged to change the holiday for you. Holiday insurance would have enabled you to cancel and re-book.
YourTravelRights - 3-May-17 @ 10:49 AM
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