As Christmas and summer holidays approach, many will take this time to travel throughout Australia. A family holiday should be relaxing, fun and reinvigorating – and the hard earned trip you’ve saved up for should not be diminished by accommodation that is unsafe, not up to scratch or fit for purpose, or not what was advertised. But if this does happen, it is best to be prepared and know your rights.
Under Australian Consumer Law, you are protected by particular guarantees for services that are provided within Australia. For holiday makers, these guarantees are particularly important when considering protections from accommodation services that are unsafe or not fit for purpose. These guarantees cannot be contracted out of – so even if the accommodation provider’s contract terms exclude liability, you can rely on the below protections.
What the Guarantees Ensure:
These guarantees ensure that services must be delivered:
- This means that accommodation services must be safe.
In a way that is fit for purpose;
- If you disclose to the accommodation provider a particular purpose for which the service will be used, and book the accommodation based on this, there is a guarantee that the accommodation will be fit for that purpose.
- This will apply in situations where no time has been allocated for the booking.
What if you need to cancel accommodation?
Unfortunately it is likely you will be subject to the accommodation provider’s terms and conditions when cancelling accommodation, unless there is a “major failure” in relation to the service. This means “the services would not have been acquired by a reasonable consumer fully acquainted with the nature and extent of the failure” or “the services are substantially unfit for a purpose for which services of the same kind are commonly supplied and they cannot, easily and within a reasonable time, be remedied to make them fit for such a purpose”.
It is thus important to read the fine print before you book accommodation services.
What if the accommodation you booked does not match the description online?
The room/s that you receive must match any descriptions that were given when you booked – for example, images of the room that is advertised online should be the same as the room you receive.
You should also consider the above guarantees – if you book the accommodation on the basis that your room will have pool access, and there is no pool access, then this breaches the guarantee that the service will be fit for purpose. Where the room is not fit for purpose, would not have been purchased if the actual nature of the room was known, then this can constitute a major failure.
If you feel that any of these guarantees and protections have been breached, contact Freedman & Gopalan on 02 8917 8700 or fill out the enquiry box on our website, and we will get back to you ASAP.