England: Hotel Contract

Bedford v TUI UK Ltd. (Trading as Austravel) 12 October 2006.B booked a trip that included stays at various cities in the Far East and Australia, including a 5 night stay at a 4 star hotel in Sydney. The total cost was £4203. At the time of booking it was made clear that this latter hotel was “on request” only. The booking conditions specified that there was no contract to provide accommodation at this hotel until B received confirmation in writing that the accommodation was available. Three days prior to departure T informed B that the hotel was unavailable and offered an alternative hotel at £445 extra cost. Having already paid for the holiday, B sought to cancel and asked for a full refund. This was refused by T on grounds that the booking conditions entitled them to charge a 100% cancellation fee at such a late date before departure. B paid the extra £445 and claimed a refund of it on his return.The court held that, as T had not confirmed the original hotel, it did not form part of the contract and that B was therefore entitled to a refund of the price of that part of the holiday. B had entered into a separate contract with T for the alternative hotel and that cost the amount of the refund to which B was entitled plus £445. If T had refused the refund of the amount for the original hotel, B would have been entitled to claim that he had entered into the subsequent contract under duress. But T had not refused the original refund and so B entered into the subsequent contract freely.

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