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Expert tips
Liability & law

Legal protection tip #19: When the hotel offers less than was promised

A quiet spot with an uninterrupted view of the sea was how the travel agent’s sales pitch described the holiday accommodation in southern Turkey. A Coop Rechtsschutz customer had an enormous sense of anticipation. But then everything turned out quite differently.

1 July 2018, author: Petra Huser, photo: Helvetia

You see a girl with diving goggles and a snorkel.
The sense of anticipation before a holiday is huge – a quiet spot with an uninterrupted view of the sea. But what if it all turns out quite differently?

A Coop Rechtsschutz customer spent two weeks on holiday in southern Turkey. For months, she had been looking forward to sun, sea and sand. When she contacted Coop Rechtsschutz after the trip, she was angry and far from relaxed. The hotel was dirty, the rubbish was not cleared away and the uninterrupted view of the sea that she had been promised was a big lie, the woman said.

It is important to complain there and then

The customer did the right thing and complained there and then to the travel agent’s representative, who showed understanding and tried to improve the situation. Without any success, unfortunately. When the customer returned from the holiday, she wrote a letter of complaint to the travel agent and asked to be reimbursed half of the CHF 3,000 spent on the trip. The travel bureau sent a prompt reply, apologizing and saying that it was prepared to reimburse CHF 450. 

Gather photos and witness statements to clearly illustrate the situation at the hotel

The Coop Rechtsschutz lawyer contacted the travel agent and insisted on a compensation payment of CHF 1,500. The first response was unsatisfactory. The amount offered was doubled at least, but the CHF 900 was still a long way from the 50% of the total cost that had been requested. However, the second letter from Coop Rechtsschutz brought an agreement that was acceptable to both parties. The photos that were submitted, showing the situation at the hotel at the time, and two further witness statements from hotel guests who had experienced the same thing were clear proof and did not allow the travel agent any opportunity for counterarguments.  

Five tips for when the hotel offers less than was promised: 

  1. Complain there and then: the travel agent must be given the opportunity to improve the situation.
  2. Write down the further course of events and any agreements with the travel agent.
  3. Take photos and/or video recordings.
  4. If possible, note down the contact details of other guests affected (witnesses).
  5. Send a written complaint about the shortcomings to the travel agent as soon as you return and state how much compensation you are requesting.
Petra Huser

Coop Rechtsschutz - Petra Huser

Coop Rechtsschutz is Helvetia’s independent partner. Petra Huser started work at Coop Rechtsschutz as an assistant in Legal Services. From 2008, she was an assistant to the Executive Management. She now works as Communications Officer for the company.

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