Hotel accommodation problems

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When we book hotel accommodation for vacations through an agency, it must be exactly as described and promised by the tour operator or travel agent. If we make our reservation online or directly with the hotel, the hotel must be as described and advertised on the website.

For example, if the hotel rooms are described as having air conditioning and a mini bar, but during our stay the air conditioning does not work or the room does not have a mini bar, we have good reasons to complain.

When we book a vacation package, every part of the trip must be exactly as described and advertised. These vacations are usually promoted and sold through brochures. Everything that is written in the brochure is part of our contract with the agency.

So if anything during our vacation does not match the description in the brochure, it would be a breach of contract and we would be entitled to claim compensation.

For example, we would be entitled to claim compensation if we have booked and paid for a five star hotel but are placed in a four star hotel.

Another common complaint about accommodation concerns the location of the hotel. You might, for example, be promised a central hotel, but once there it might not be that central after all.

If we don’t get what we are promised in the brochure, we have a right to complain and we must do so immediately.

Accommodation issues should be reported and complained about while we are still on vacation. If we booked directly with the hotel, we must complain to the hotel management and ask for an immediate solution.

In the case of a package trip, if an accompanying person accompanies us during our vacation, we must address our complaint to the accompanying person. In the absence of an accompanying person, we must contact the travel agency directly.

If we do not give our travel agent the opportunity to resolve the issues while we are still on vacation, it could affect our claim for compensation when we finally file our complaint.

If the hotel or travel agency offers us a solution or compensation while we are still on vacation, before accepting, we must keep in mind that if we accept, we cannot change our mind .

We should therefore not accept any form of compensation unless we are completely satisfied with the proposed solution.

If a problem is not resolved while we are still on vacation, it is advisable to make our complaint in writing, and also to collect all documents relevant to the complaint and any evidence that may strengthen our case, such as photographs and videos. We should then take our complaint to the travel agency where we booked the vacation.

The amount of compensation we claim must reflect the severity of the loss (s) suffered. The greater the gap between what was promised when booking the vacation and what we actually got, the greater the compensation claimed / offered must be.

In our letter of complaint, we must clearly state the amount of compensation we are requesting. However, it is important that we do not exaggerate in our complaint, or demand something to which we are not entitled.

If our claim is denied, or if the trader offers less than what we requested, and we are not happy with that, then our next step is to file a claim with the Consumer Affairs Office of the Malta Competition Authority. and consumer affairs, for mediation and amicable settlement.

If we have booked the hotel online and are unable to resolve the issue directly with the hotel, then if the hotel is in an EU member state, we can file a complaint with the European Center of consumers in Malta for mediation and amicable settlement.

[email protected]

Ms Odette Vella is Senior Information Officer, Consumer Affairs Office, Malta Competition and Consumer Authority.

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