Holidays and transport Laws

Your rights when your hotel overbooks

How to complain when your hotel is overbooked


So you have booked your hotel and you’re looking forward to your stay and then disaster. The hotel contacts you and says it has overbooked or even worse you get to the hotel to find that it has overbooked. What are your rights and what should you do?


Ensure you know how you booked your hotel to complain to the correct trader

If your accommodation was booked with a UK travel company, then your contract will probably be with the hotel. But it could be that if part of a whole package then the contract it with that company. Your contract is with the business to which you paid the money.

The law protects you from hotel overbooking

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that you are entitled to services to be carried out with reasonable skill and care. Clearly if the hotel has overbooked, this is not the case!

Having to go to a different accommodation when your hotel is overbooked

If you have to go to a different accommodation due to overbooking then you can claim from the hotel for breach of contract. This would be what a court would deem as reasonable and could be the difference between the cost of the booked hotel and the new accommodation. So for example, a hotel in the area but of a similar standard, but if you can’t book due to the late notice then you should evidence that you tried to book a similar hotel but couldn’t and claim for the difference. You might also claim for extra travel expenses incurred due to the overbooking.

Booking with a hotel not in the UK

If you have booked directly with a hotel not in the UK then you will need to deal with the laws in that country. However, at least until Brexit, you will be able to quote EU laws see How to complain when booking a service based in the EU. The UK European Consumer Centre should also help with any claim.

If you have booked a hotel as part of a package

If you have booked your hotel as part of a package quote the  Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.  You are entitled to redress including:

Loss of value, the difference between the cost paid for the holiday and the one received.
Out-of-pocket expenses incurred reasonable costs as a result of the breach of contract
Loss of enjoyment, compensation for the disappointment and distress caused by things going wrong.
Personal injury, compensation for any personal injury incurred abroad (specialist legal advice is thoroughly recommended here).

Further help when complaining about hotels

Follow these 20 Tips to complain effectively

Rip Off Britain 10/05/2017 How to complain about hotels

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For loads of advice, tips, guidance, laws, advice and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!




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Latest News Press releases telecoms

Mobile phone companies called out for overcharging loyal customers

Press release

Mobile phone companies called out for overcharging loyal customers: The Complaining Cow shows how to take on your mobile phone provider

Mobile phone companies have been found to be overcharging customers whose fixed deal has ended. CAB and The Complaining Cow are campaigning for mobile companies to end this behaviour.

A mystery shopping exercise conducted by the Citizens Advice Bureau discovered that customers of Vodafone, EE and Three who choose to stay on the same phone plan after the fixed deal ends do not get their bills reduced. –This means that customers are paying on average an extra £22 a month for a phone they have already paid off. Loyal customers could find themselves still paying £46 a month extra for the iPhone 8, after it has been paid off.

Mobile phone companies typically incorporate the cost of the mobile phone handset into the price of the contract. This means that the cost is paid over the initial period of the contract, with part of each month’s charge paying for the phone and part paying for calls, texts and data. But, as CAB has found, some companies are continuing to charge for the phone, even after its cost has been paid off.

CAB found that 36% of people with a handset-inclusive mobile phone contract stayed on the same contract after the end of their fixed deal period, with 19% staying on the same contract for more than 6 months afterwards.

Consumer expert Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! is unimpressed by the findings and joins CAB in calling for the providers to reduce the cost of the renewed contract, as the phone has been paid for.

She advises taking on the provider and asserting your rights if you have been affected!
1) If your provider renewed your contract after you had paid off the handset and you could have taken up a contract with another provider, you should write to the provider and state that it is in breach of The Consumer Rights Act 2015 because the contract is weighted in favour of the trader and…

2) that it is also a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2014 because the trader could be considered as committing a misleading practice and you can request one of 3 options:

i) Unwind a contract and get the money back and restore yourself to the position you were in before entering the contract

ii) Fixed discount on the price dependent on the severity of the misleading practice, 25% more than minor, 50% significant, 75% serious and 100% if very serious

iii) Damages for detriment caused can be secured when losses exceed the price paid and can be applied if you have incurred distress and inconvenience


3) under The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations (2013) you must understand what goods and services are being provided and there should be no hidden costs.

4) Quote all these laws and regulations in your email or letter to the company. Make sure you write, as then you have the evidence trail should you need to take the matter further.

5) Give details of when the contract was taken out and the circumstances of the renewal and be clear about what you want them to do to resolve the matter.

6) Should you not be satisfied with the response you could contact the CEO (contact details for CEOs at You are unlikely to get a response from the CEO but the matter will be escalated to the Executive team.

7) You can take the matter to an alternative dispute resolution scheme. This will be CISAS or Ombudsman Services depending on which scheme your provider is signed up with. You can go to them after 8 weeks from when you submitted your complaint or request a deadlock letter from the trader before that time.

The importance of switching energy suppliers and telecom providers on ITV News

For more information about the naughty companies see Citizen’s Advice Bureau press release Mobile phone networks overcharging loyal customers by up to £38 a month

For other telecom issues see All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers

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Get the book! All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers advice, laws for almost every complaint about telecom providers!