Holiday parks - Poor-quality food
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Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, it is reasonable for you to receive food of a satisfactory quality and for it to be as described on the menu. If this is not the case, you can ask for a reduction in the charge or – if it is of extremely poor quality – request that you should not pay for that part of the meal.
Also, remember that the food outlet could be a franchise: in that case, the responsibility of the quality lies with the firm rather than the holiday park. The holiday park should also be informed about the issue, as it will want to ensure a good customer experience for all guests.You should know
- These rights are for when you have booked a holiday park stay only, rather than when your stay has been purchased as part of a package.
- If you have an issue, raise it immediately while you're at the holiday park to give the park a chance to sort it out.
- If you are not satisfied with the response or the outcome, use resolver to raise your issue.
- Always be fair and reasonable in your approach to the holiday park – focus on how to resolve the issue.
- You might be able to claim against your credit card if you paid using that method.
- If you booked via a travel agent or independent website, they are only liable if they made an incorrect booking or provided incorrect information.
Holidays are a highlight of the year, and we can all build up our expectations. Before you complain, consider whether your complaint is reasonable. If you explained it to a friend, would they agree with you?
When you raise a case, remember to keep calm. It is important to clearly explain what your issue is, how you would like it dealt with and what resolution you are looking for.
What to expect
The most important part is to have your issue resolved. It is unlikely that you will be able to claim for loss of enjoyment, unless the situation was severe or your situation was a special occasion, such as a wedding.
If you booked your accommodation in the UK, or via a UK-registered website, you have protection under the Supply of Services and Goods Act. This means that the holiday’s parks services and the park’s quality must be reasonable; services should be delivered with reasonable skill.
The key word in this is ‘reasonable’. What can be considered ‘reasonable’ is based on a number of factors, but the key one is what you paid for the experience. The higher the star rating, or the more you paid for the holiday, the higher your expectations of quality should be.
The holiday park should have the facilities described; if they are not available, you have a reason to raise an issue.
If they are not what you expected, you should consider whether they are as described. Next, consider how critical the facilities are to your holiday and experience.
Remember that, if you think the experience means you wouldn’t use the company again in future, it is worth raising the issue: no responsible organisation wants to lose customers.
Keep a record
If you experience an issue, collate as much information as possible. A smartphone is a great way to do this: take photos or videos at the time as proof of the issue, as well as any receipts or records of money you had to spend.
If your issue is unresolved
If you cannot resolve the issue while you are staying at the holiday park, you should raise it within 28 days of returning home. When you contact the holiday park via resolver, aim to attach as much supporting information as possible (such as your invoice, photos and so on) to help clearly explain your issue to the holiday park.
Booked through a travel agent/website
If you booked through a travel agent or website, they were simply the agent for the holiday park and you should raise your issue with the park directly.
However, if you feel that the issue was caused by the website or travel agent, you should raise the issue with them. If your issue cannot be resolved and the travel agent is a member of ABTA, escalate the issue to ABTA.
Paid by credit card
If you paid by credit card – even if it was only the deposit – and you spent more than £100 on the card, you can make a claim against your credit card company: under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the Credit Card company is jointly liable.
Is there an ombudsman?
In the case of holiday parks, there is no ombudsman to which you can take your problem for independent assessment.
What if the holiday park does not address your issue?
If your issue is not addressed then, as a final resort, you could consider mediation with the holiday park. There are a limited number of companies that offer mediation: they deliver an independent assessment and try to find a reasonable solution to your issue.
Alternatively, if the accommodation was booked with a park in the UK, or if the company is registered in the UK, you could take the holiday park to court. You can use Money Claims Online to register your case. Legal proceedings can be expensive and take a lot of time; however, raising a case can show the park you are serious, and you can cancel your case at any point.
If you booked at a holiday park in the European Union, and it remains unresolved after you have given the park time to address the issue via resolver, then the European Consumer Centre (in Basildon) can help you address your issue for free.
Whichever option you choose, if your case is unresolved you can export your case file from resolver. It will provide you with a copy of all communications and supporting information.
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