Today I had a pre-paid reservation for a hotel, booked a month ago or so. They rang me to say they had a problem at the hotel, and had to move a number of guests elsewhere as the rooms weren't available. The hotel they proposed moving me to wasn't nearly as nice (I was booked into a 4* hotel with a pool, they wanted to put me in a 3* with no gym, let alone a pool). Oh, and the person I spoke to suggested that they'd my pre-payment in exchange for having found me an alternate lesser room!

Unsurprisingly, I pushed back on that. As I'd missed their initial call due to travelling, and was therefore the last to call back, when I made a fuss they managed to find me a room after all. On arrival, I had a chat with the duty manager, who was horrified that they hadn't offered to waive the charge, and has been amazing since. However, had I not been so forceful about the whole thing...

In the UK (or England if it matters), if you've booked and pre-paid for a hotel that's unable to accommodate you (due to overbooking, rooms suddenly going out of service, people not checking out when planned etc), what are you legal rights in this situation?

  • 1
    What does hotel's terms and conditions say? Oct 21, 2015 at 21:43
  • 3
    The booking is with a global hotel chain, so the listed T&Cs are a bit vague as they're globally applicable. Just as many airlines have vague T&Cs, but EU-261 forces them to be fairly decent when they deal with EU flights, I'm wondering if the UK rules force them to be better than the vague T&C rules offer by default?
    – Gagravarr
    Oct 21, 2015 at 22:08
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    I don't know the theory and it's only happened to me stateside (in LA and Orlando) on both occasions I told them to fack it I will find my own room. I was on corporate expenses so it didn't concern me much. In England I would definitely put on my lawyer hat and start walking them through the principles of equity and breach of contract. I would treat the idea of taking them to court as an amusement which would spook them.
    – Gayot Fow
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:17
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    @Him It most certainly covers foreign transactions made abroad, this was decided by a case heard by the House of Lords appellate committee in 2007. See Office of Fair Trading v. Lloyds TSB Bank plc (publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldjudgmt/jd071031/…)
    – Calchas
    Oct 27, 2015 at 1:38
  • 1
    @Him Then no, because the Act only applies to credit agreements made in the UK
    – Calchas
    Oct 27, 2015 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


May I ask how did you book the hotel?

This a small detail but it can make a big difference.

If you booked directly at the hotels website then it is classed as a breach of contract under English law and you can make a claim.

Did you book with a credit card or debit card? If it was a credit card, then you can also claim against the credit card company for breach of contract.

If my memory serves me well, the hotel company must provide you with alternative accommodation at the same location or proximity, of the same standards & facilities as the room that you have booked with them. (Also provide you with a taxi to get to the other hotel).

Failing to do that they should refund your money, plus provide you with compensation. To be honest the handling of this kind of situations vary a lot, depending on the individual policies of the hotel companies and training (or the lack of it) of the hotel staff.

When I use to manage a hotel (again long time ago) I had the authority to refund and individually compensate (with vouchers) customers who happen to be in that situation.

I think these days and in your case as it sounds that you have booked with a hotel chain, you will have to claim in writing by contacting the legal department of the hotel chain.

The deputy manager of the hotel should have provided you with the necessary forms and contact details to make the claim.

Anyway, as they did provide you with the room that you have booked at the end, there are not many things that you can actually do.

If I was in your shoes, I might consider writing to the Head Office and express my disappointment and anger with the way that my booking was handle, you might end up with a some travel vouchers for booking a day or two in the future.

I hope that helps

  • 8
    Any references or information on what rules/laws compel the provision of alterntaive accomodation? Your answer is interesting, but it's not clear if your duties when you worked at a hotel were legal (and hence the rights that gagravarr is asking about) or company policy.
    – CMaster
    Oct 26, 2015 at 11:54

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