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UK European Consumer Centre

Holiday accommodation not up to scratch?

UK consumers are complaining more about accommodation services whilst in Europe.

Complaints and questions about accommodation such as hotels and villas went up by almost 16% from January to the end of November in 2018 compared to the same period last year.

With the number of visits abroad by UK residents having increased from 55.6 million in 2010 to a peak of 72.7 million visits in 2017, it’s clear that UK travellers need more accommodation.

Andy Allen, service director at the UK ECC, said: “The rights of the independent traveller within Europe can be different from those of the package holiday traveller, who has extra rights under the new 2018 Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.

“While UK residents are making more visits abroad, many consumers do not realise that visitors who just book their accommodation online have no right to cancel – it is not covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations which came into force on 13 June 2014.”

The type of problems we see relating to accommodation bookings vary widely but a few problems stand out, such as:


  • Misrepresentation of the facilities 
  • Broken equipment 
  • No bookings
  • Building works
  • Failure to return deposits


If something does go wrong whilst you are in the accommodation this is a breach of contract. A ‘contract’ may also be breached if the accommodation provided does not do what its terms and conditions say. 

So, what are your rights if there is a breach of contract?

The consumer actually has a right in law to be put back into the position they would have been in if the contract had been carried out correctly, or at least to be compensated if this is not possible (for example, a refund or a different room to a suitable standard).

And Andy had this advice for consumers unhappy with their accommodation: “It’s always best for consumers to make any complaint about their accommodation as soon as possible, whilst actually on holiday if possible, as this gives the trader the opportunity to put things right.

“Consumers should take photographs to support their complaint, as proving the cause of a complaint can be problematic once back in the UK.

“It’s also worth knowing that if you are holidaying in Spain there is specific legislation on tourism (which includes a hotels regulation specific to each Autonomous Community).” 

If you have had a holiday home from hell then you can get more advice about your specific problem by contacting us on 01268 886690 or by email on 

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