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Helpful Holidays - anyone got out of a contract with them?
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Helpful Holidays - anyone got out of a contract with them? Reply with quote

Hi, I wonder if anyone else has experienced this. I bought a holiday cottage earlier in the year and signed a contract with Helpful Holidays. I have been so disappointed with them and the final straw came when they rented my cottage out to Cornwall Housing. It was used as emergency accommodation without my prior knowledge. Apparently they have taken previous bookings from Cornwall Housing without a problem. Unfortunately there was a problem with this booking. I've been told I can't refuse any bookings and anyone can be classed as a holiday maker if they are away from their normal residence (this person was in fact on remand).

This is not what I signed up for and I want to leave (it think my contract terminates in September-they haven't answered my email checking the date yet). However they say I'll owe £2000 as per the t&c's. Has anyone experience anything like this before. Or any advice would be welcome!!
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 843
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are emergency accommodation, you usually don’t have a normal residence. You have been evicted or made homeless for some reason and the local authority have been obliged to accommodate you at their cost.
You might be an asylum seeker, or as in your case, someone on remand. It doesn’t matter - you are not on holiday. Try doing a search on emergency accommodation and what the criteria is.

I would take a careful look at your contract with Helpful Holidays as there is a good chance they are in breech of contract with you to let your property out to someone who is not a holiday maker.

Also, they may well have been paid a lot more than you received and will have kept the remainder of the payment. Of course they will tell you they have never had a problem before....... Evil or Very Mad

I am very sorry for you, not a nice thing to have happened.
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They even had the cheek to ask if I'd have the person back after drugs were found! I've spoken to a number of solicitors and if it ends up in court it would cost me a lot of money as it would be small claims and I'd have to pay costs. HH definitely know what they are doing. Myself and the house keeper wrote separately to the MD and he didn't even acknowledge our email. They don't even consider this to be important.

I'm now stuck as to whether to pay for a solicitor or just give them the £2000😠
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5988
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might be worth raising this with EASCO to get their take on the legalities. As the average “man in the street” this doesn’t seem a reasonable act on the part of HH, or any other Agency, and not what I’d expect if I signed up - I’d want to see it as a clearly stated condition.
It also smells a bit of sub-letting - who is your contract with for the particular letting period, HH, Cornwall Housing or the offender?
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll look into EASCO, thank you. It's not the first time they've sublet it either!!
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 843
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you got legal assistance within your insurance policy?

Also, make a report to the Trading Standards local to the head office for Helpful Holidays - if they have done this to you, they have done it to others.

The strength of your case is really in the detail of your contract wording though, and we cannot see that.

Edited to add: I have just had a look at their website and in particular the property owners section - it seems they are now part of the Sykes group. Now why should that make me think it explains a lot......????


Last edited by zebedee on Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've checked my policy and it doesn't cover contracts unfortunately 😠. I will contact trading standards, Great idea! The wording in the contract reiterates holiday makers in each paragraph but I've been told it cleverly doesn't give a definition of holiday makers and so it's up to an individual's take on it.
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russellt



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Posts: 345
Location: Ivybridge, Devon, UK

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know you have the reputation of the Helpful Holidays business entirely in your hands now, don't you? Talk to them.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 843
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willoughby wrote
Quote:
I've been told it cleverly doesn't give a definition of holiday makers and so it's up to an individual's take on it.


Actually, if you google the definition of “holidaymaker” all the big dictionaries say the same.... the person has to actually be “on holiday”
Don’t let them double talk you, they are in the wrong. You need to be very firm.
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried to talk to them. They say things like it's discrimination to refuse people and that my definition of holiday maker is different to them. I'm going to try EASCO tomorrow and see if they can help 😊.

Thank you for the advice so far. Useful ideas!
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A solicitor said we could argue the dictionary definition. It would just cost too much to take them to court. Hopefully a strongly worded letter would work and put the off. I do wonder if they have been in this situation before.
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russellt



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Posts: 345
Location: Ivybridge, Devon, UK

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willoughby St Just wrote:
It would just cost too much to take them to court.


Thus my comment above. You could spend the value of your property helping to define the strict interpretation of the word 'holiday'. To what end?

I guess people on remand, and in the care of the local authority, are still allowed to go on holiday. Whether the local authority should be paying is a moot point.

HH are completely out of order on this, and I feel for your situation. Knowing what you know now, would you(or any sane person) a) sign the HH contract or b) put your property with HH?
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Willoughby St Just



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good point. I'd not thought of it that way. I think I would be wise to get help with a legal letter pointing out these things. Definitely more to think about!! Thank you.
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Zingara



Joined: 09 Apr 2013
Posts: 604
Location: Antibes, PACA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sensible suggestions about EASCO and Trading Standards (and the local paper?)

I would also look at small claims court issues the other way 'round.

You know you don't trust them, you have a valid definition of "holiday maker", and you don't want to deal with them any more.

Tell them you're finishing the contract, and why (holiday let, subletting), don't pay them £2000. It will be up to them to take you to small claims court. Judges are, on the whole, sensible individuals and are likely to see it through your eyes, especially as you will have made every effort to discuss this with HH, without reasonable response.
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 721
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be inclined to look at this from the other side - as suggested above.

Trading standards and the local paper are good ideas too.

Any sensible person wouldn't need a dictionary definition to tell them that a 'holiday maker' is not someone on remand - especially if they are using the premises for illegal activity. Drugs?

So, I'd send them a nice letter explaining you are walking away, and why and let them decide if they want to sue you. After all, it will cost them as much to sue you for the money as it would cost you to sue them and they have a business reputation to consider as well.

If you haven't done so, make and keep a note of all your letters, e-mails, phone calls etc. as evidence (should it be needed) that you have tried to communicate with the company. Make a note of any response, or lack of, from them.
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