Caught out by the holiday fine print
I BOOKED a holiday in Thailand without reading the terms of the contract because the travel agent said they were just normal conditions. The terms included a clause permitting the company to put me up 'at any hotel' in that resort in the event of my first choice being 'overbooked'. Since the company did not process my booking immediately, there was no room left in the original hotel and I was booked into an inferior hotel. Is there any action I can take to demand compensation? IT IS doubtful whether 'normal conditions for booking a holiday' are either generally understood or definable. Where a customer is made aware of the existence of conditions for booking a holiday, whether they are described as normal or otherwise, he ignores them at his peril.
However, the clause in question implies that the travel agent will act upon the customer's instructions with reasonable speed. Whether or not the agent's delay in making the booking amounted to a breach of contract depends on the circumstances. But identifying and quantifying damages would be speculative, so a complaint to the Consumer Council would perhaps be more appropriate than legal action. Source: Robertson Double Solicitors. Send your questions to Sunday Money, 5/F 1 Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay, or fax to 565 1423.