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  1. #1
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    Default Is this reasonable?

    Hello

    I'm a long time reader turned recent poster of this forum. I was hoping to get some opinions on what to do in this situation:

    Back in May we booked a weeks holiday in a holiday house in the blue mountains, which is supposed to start next Friday. The house is located less than 4 kms away from the bushfire which is currently graded as emergency level and is not yet under control. Advice from the RFS is that if you do not need to be in the area, don't go, and for motorists in general to avoid the area. The suburb it is located in is listed as under threat on the RFS website, and the main access road has been closed on and off since last Thursday.

    I called the owner of the house and told her we were not sure it would be safe to continue with our travel plans, and asked what their cancellation policy was. She said that as far as they were concerned, the house is still standing therefore they are not willing to offer any form of refund. I asked if she would at least refund the linen and cleaning charges since we won't be staying there (there are kids staying with us and I just refuse to put them in that kind of danger), and she said no because it's our choice not to stay.

    While I see her side, I don't think it is reasonable to expect us to stay there and risk evacuation or worse during our holiday.

    Is there anything I can do, or should I just suck it up and accept that I've lost that money?

  2. #2
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    I would wait until a few days (1-2) before you travel. If the RFS are advising people to not go then I would send the landlord this information and advise her that as their property was not legally accessible at the agreed time and if she didnt refund all money I would take her to small claims court.

    - disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.!

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to VicPark For This Useful Post:

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  4. #3
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    That's pretty awful. Most places refund your money less deposit if you give enough notice. She obviously knows there's no way anyone else would want the house if you don't go.

    Were there any terms and conditions when you booked? Was it online? I'd ring consumer affairs if not and see what they say. Usually there's no obligation to refund unless it's part of the terms of the booking. I would check with consumer affairs. Good luck.

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    I'd ring Fair Trading and see what they say based on the RFSs advice. I'd also ask then if the property owner's insurance would cover them for loss of income because of natural disasters.

    I think often after natural disasters businesses are usually v keen for tourism to resume, but presumably this is a little close to the event.

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    no advice, but geez what a mole.

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    I think that's pretty unfair actually.

    Non essential travel should be deferred, and yet theyre expecting you to show up?

    She could at least offer to rebook you in at another time with some sort of a reasonable discount.

    Ridiculous and I would be looking into it further.

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    Yep get advice from fair trading. Had she said if you can change the dates so your lives are not at risk and you are all happy?

    Personally I think she is a greedy, money grabbing cow. I would put your complaint on Facebook, let as many people know about her attitude and ethics as possible.

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    Yea I'm really surprised she hasn't suggested rebooking at a later date.

    That's to her benefit too. I mean if you come later you might enjoy your trip and book again or refer friends. If you are forced to go now you are probably not going to have a terribly good time.

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    They might have insurance anyway I would have thought to cover this.

  12. #10
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    Thanks for replying so fast! To the person that asked if there were t&cs when I booked, there were, and they do say 100% cancellation fee, but I guess I just didn't think that would apply in a natural disaster.

    Someone asked about rebooking ... We could do that if she offered I guess (just my husband and I), but the point of the trip was because we have friends coming from overseas who we were going to be holidaying with (hence the massive holiday house).

    I just read the info on the fair trading site and it says that unless the house has burnt down, access roads are closed or the authorities say the area is not safe to enter, then she has every right to refuse refund. Thats where the grey area is I suppose, because while they are recommending that people don't go there unless absolutely necessary, they haven't said you CANT go there if you know what I mean. So she could deem our booking as a 'necessary' reason to go there.

    I would have thought her insurance would cover it too, but maybe not. It's annoying because apparently the situation is JUST safe enough but to me it is way too unsafe. What kind of a holiday is it to be on constant evacuation alert, to not be able to leave the house because it is under threat of ember attacks, and to risk the smoke and air pollution on our friends babies lungs?

    We are definitely not going to be able to go, but it would be nice to have even a portion of that $2000 refunded so that we might be able to take our visitors somewhere else!


 

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