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Is this fair?

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Johannesburg, South...
2 posts
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Is this fair?

We made a holiday booking, tried to cancel it immediately. The Hotel Fliana took a $3000 cancellation fee. This booking was cancelled 10 weeks in advance. They then tried to take another $1000 for the booking. We have had to cancel our holiday as a result of this. I just want to know if this is fair? We tried to do this in the nicest possible way and explained our predicament to the Hotel Fliana, they were not interested at all. So with 10 weeks to sell the hotel room over the EASTER weekend and only 2 rooms left they thought it right to take $3000 of our credit card immediately. To me it's a matter of ethics and good business practice to listen to your customer and do the best for them you can!! Come on Hotel Fliana...

Vienna, Austria
Destination Expert
for Vienna, Austria, Innsbruck
Level Contributor
21,275 posts
29 reviews
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1. Re: Is this fair?

The website states that they basically charge 35% of the total price in advance ("Anzahlung"). The respective Terms&Conditions ("AGB der Hotellerie"), which come from the chamber of tourism / department for the hotel business), state that in your case the cancellation fee is 40% of the total price. I personally find 40% over the top but in the moment you submitted your booking you accepted the terms and conditions and a binding contract was established. The fact that you tried to cancel your booking a few moments later is legally irrelevant but I agree that it would have been nice and human if they had charged a lower penalty.

Perhaps you can contact them again (nicely and politely) and ask whether they could issue a voucher/gift certificate to be used for another stay in the future!

Johannesburg, South...
2 posts
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2. Re: Is this fair?

I see that you are from the area. Thank you for the kind response. The question was not if it's legal. In some countries the death penalty is legal... the question is, is that the way we want to conduct business. Take the bread from someone's mouth without earning it?? Are they in the business of making money from hotel reservation cancellations or providing a service? The question is a moral one? Taking one night cancellation would be considered fair, the cost for the room per night is $502. The cancellation was done with Expedia at 1:14 am there was no one in reservations department as Expedia called them. Thus they were not even aware of the booking. They will definitely rent out this room as they only have 1 left and ten weeks to do it. Plus it is the Easter weekend. The Hotel actually tried to get another $1000 after already taking $3000 a day later. It does seem really unethical. Our first approach was really kind but it was met with a brick wall! If you look at the other negative ratings for Hotel Fliana you will see they all for similar reasons. The Hotel has also already threatened us with legal action. This will become a battle of David and Goliath...

Dublin, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Austria
Level Contributor
17,350 posts
69 reviews
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3. Re: Is this fair?

unfortunately business is business, and you accepted the contract. whether or not it is what you consider to be unfair, is legally irrelevant.

what have you been "threatened" with? if contract said forfeiture of 40% and you paid a lesser amount, they have the law of contract on their side, to claim the balance. however, I cannot see them persuing that as the legal cost would negate what they could claim.

but were you remiss in not taking out holiday insurance? after all, that is one of the things that such insurance is for.

Karlsruhe, Germany
Destination Expert
for Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
9,544 posts
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4. Re: Is this fair?

You signed a binding contract with them and they acted according to the contract. "Moral" says: both sides should keep contracts and agreements. In this case, I'm afraid, from their point of view it is not them but you who is not acting fair and ethical, expecting that the terms and conditions do not apply to you. Like it or not.

Lesson learned: Always check terms and conditions before booking anything. If you do not like the terms and conditions, don't sign the contract.

Burnley, United...
Destination Expert
for Vienna
Level Contributor
14,226 posts
101 reviews
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5. Re: Is this fair?

I am actually very sympathetic with the OP and what has happened to them. No matter what this hotel's stated terms they have it fully within their power to waive them. Any hotel that tries to pursue a charge of $4000 against someone who has made an honest mistake is, in my opinion, totally heartless. If I ran my business like that I'd have no customers left. IMO this hotel does not deserve customers and I hope the OP adds their experiences to the hotel's TA page to let others know just how unfriendly and greedy they are. Terms and conditions like this should be to penalise last minute frivolous cancellations, not to punish those who have tried to correct an error at the earliest opportunity.

Vienna, Austria
Destination Expert
for Vienna, Austria, Innsbruck
Level Contributor
21,275 posts
29 reviews
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6. Re: Is this fair?

Cheap train and air fares often stipulate a cancellation fee of 100% - worldwide!

I can really understand your anger because you lost a lot of money. But there is nothing you can do but (nicely and politely) asking them whether they are willing to reduce the penalty or whether they would eventually issue a voucher. If you were in Austria you could attempt suing them (for unconscionability), although I am sure that you would lose.

Burnley, United...
Destination Expert
for Vienna
Level Contributor
14,226 posts
101 reviews
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7. Re: Is this fair?

You must agree Mikey that it's not a good advert for Austrian hoteliers when this happens to people trying to plan a perfect holiday in the country. In this case they should have been very flexible.

Dublin, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Austria
Level Contributor
17,350 posts
69 reviews
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8. Re: Is this fair?

I come back to what I said before. holiday insurance includes cancellation charges. did the op not consider that for an expensive holiday, it was vital to have travel insurance?

Burnley, United...
Destination Expert
for Vienna
Level Contributor
14,226 posts
101 reviews
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9. Re: Is this fair?

@ nakagoli. I don't think any travel insurance covers changing your mind or making a mistake. I've supported you before when people complain about car hire companies, but in this case I think the hotel should have relaxed their terms. Unlike someone who actually uses a car then doesn't like the terms when they return it this OP obviously didn't want to make a binding booking from the start, wanted to withdraw way before the date and hadn't involved the supplying company in any measurable expense or commitment.

Dublin, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Austria
Level Contributor
17,350 posts
69 reviews
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10. Re: Is this fair?

I was not reading it as just a change of mind, but rereading the op, he does say that he cancelled immediately. under those circumstances, yes, the hotel should have been more lenient.

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