Who is responsible in the event of a problem?
What happens if the accommodation you have booked does not quite meet expectations or if the cost differs from the price quoted in the offer? The answer to these questions entirely depends upon the booking method used.
- direct with the owner of the accommodation (hotel or holiday home owner)
- via a travel agent or travel website
- as part of a package holiday
- via a platform.
They are responsible for all agreements made between you prior to the booking. Did you rely on a description on the website? Refer to this description when asking for a refund or compensation.
Establishing the travel agent’s or travel website’s liability is not easy. In principle the owner of the accommodation is responsible for any information provided to you via a travel agent or travel site. The travel agent or booking site can only be approached directly in exceptional cases, e.g. if the price shown is misleading.
The tour operator is responsible for the rented accommodation that is part of a comprehensive package of travel services. The accommodation must comply with what you were offered in the travel contract. Belgian law stipulates that any package holiday agreement must comprise a detailed general description of the accommodation including, amongst other things, the location of the accommodation, the category or level of comfort, the allocated certificate and tourist classification in accordance with the applicable national legislation. Do remember that there may be differences in the qualification of hotels in Belgium and abroad.
More and more private individuals are renting out their properties via websites such as Airbnb or other types of online platforms. Please be aware that private individuals are not bound by the same strict regulations as those applicable to professional landlords. It is often difficult to ascertain whether these private lessors actually do exist. That’s why you should always give preference to online platforms that:
- use their own secure payment system,
- offer a refund in the event of fraud,
- accept payment by credit card giving you the opportunity to recover any payments via the charge back procedure.
What about seasonal rentals?
Holiday homes are usually let by private individuals, which often makes it difficult to ascertain whether they are reliable or not. You should never, therefore, pay the full amount up front, only a deposit and security deposit.
The amounts of both deposits and security deposits are not governed by law and can consequently be set randomly. Write an inventory together with the lessor upon arrival and departure from the property. This will prevent any unjust claims being made against you at a later date.