THOUSANDS of Brits across the UK head to caravan sites each year for a holiday – but many have said they aren't able to get a refund since the coronavirus lockdown.
As we're still under lockdown, hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses are closed for leisure use.
But while caravan holidaymakers have been stuck at home, some say they are having to keep paying annual fees towards them if they own one.
So what are your rights around getting refunds? We've pulled together some answers for you.
What are the caravan parks saying?
If you own a caravan, chances are you'll be paying something called a pitch fee, an annual sum which cover the services on your site.
Depending on what type of site your caravan is located on (some have facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants and gyms etc) and whereabouts your caravan is located, pitch fees can vary county to county.
Some caravan owners have argued that as they're not using the site facilities, they shouldn't have to pay the full price.
However, according to the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BHA&HPA), which represents caravan park owners, the pitch fee also covers keeping your caravan safe and protected, so it still has to be paid even if you're not using it.
But in the meantime, MoneySavingExpert.com has said BHA&HPA has told its members to "communicate openly with van owners and, where possible, to retain their goodwill in these unprecedented and difficult times."
Are any caravan parks giving refunds?
According to MoneySavingExpert, some parks are offering money off the fees to help the owners during the crisis.
Some are offering discounts instead – such as on food and drink until next year to help with costs.
Below is the list the caravan parks are doing to help their tenants.
Which caravan parks are offering credits to owners?
MoneySavingExpert has contacted different caravan parks to see what they are doing to help people with their pitch fees.
Below is a list of responses they have received so far.
- Parkdean: Fees are from £3,245 to £7,495 for 2020. No fee credit or refund.
It is offering 30% off food and drink purchased until the end of the 2021 season.
- Haven: Fees are from £2,945 for 2020. A site fee credit, calculated pro-rata over the period of closure, with a £20/week deduction for ongoing costs during closure.
- Park Holidays: Fees are from £3,245 to £7,495 for 2020. Not yet made a decision.
- Golden Sands: Fees are from £2,600 for 2020. Fee credit calculated on a weekly basis at a rate of 60% of their site fees for each week. Backdated to 1 April 2020. There will be no increase in site fee charges for 2021.
Has the Government given any help at all?
Watchdog The Competition and Markets Authority has backed a call for refunds, with guidance on its website stating:
"Where a contract is not performed as agreed, the CMA considers that consumer protection law will generally allow consumers to obtain a refund. In particular, for most consumer contracts the CMA would expect a consumer to be offered a full refund where:
- A business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services;
- No service is provided by a business, for example because this is prevented by Government public health measures;
- A consumer cancels, or is prevented from receiving any services, because Government public health measures mean they are not allowed to use the services."
What do I do when I want to speak to the park about a refund?
Start off by working out what you're paying for that you're not using, such as entertainment, utilities, cafes, bars and pubs.
Approach the parks, via email or phone, and come to an agreement over a refund fee.
If that doesn't work, send a formal letter.
Should you not get a response, you may want make a claim to your card provider or go to court. We've explained how to do that here.
You could also report the business to Competition and Markets Authority if you feel they have been behaving unfairly towards you.
Alternatively, you could also take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Meanwhile, if you've booked a holiday and want a refund, Martin Lewis has revealed a travel insurance loophole that could help.
If your holiday company is offering you vouchers rather than a cash refund, we've explained what your options are here.
Holiday firm Tui has cancelled all holidays until the end of this month, find out if yours has been affected here.
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