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Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts/Consumer Rights Act

Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts/Consumer Rights Act

Postby ScaryJeff » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:51 pm


I am after some opinions on the following situation, if anyone would care to offer them.

I booked a hotel-to-airport transfer (online via a company that had generally good user reviews) for a "VIP Car" - described on their website as "Typically newer model Mercedes S-Class or Audi A8 cars offering exceptional comfort and refinement". Cost was about 135 Euros.

When the car turned up to take us to the airport, it was a Mercedes V-Class which I consider to be basically a minibus. Only 6 seats and all leather, but a minibus nonetheless in my book - a high centre of gravity (therefore a bit wallowy) and upright seats do not offer the same comfort level as the low, reclined position an S-Class or A8 would offer. When I complained the company tell me that their terms and conditions state "We will use reasonable effort to honour your vehicle preference, however the vehicle may be substituted with a vehicle of greater capacity or multiple vehicles depending on availability"

At no point prior to the vehicle's arrival at our hotel was I informed of any changes to the vehicle, therefore I had no right to reject the change (nullify the contract?). (At that late stage - and having to catch a flight in two and a half hours - it was very difficult to refuse to take the vehicle provided.) I had booked the car nine months and 24 days in advance. I consider that ample time for the company to ensure they adhered to my request. The company had my mobile phone number if they needed to contact me - they proved this by calling me when I expressed my dissatisfaction to the driver and he called their office.

To my mind the company Ts&Cs might contravene the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which says (paraphrasing courtesy of Which.co.uk) that "a term that allows the trader to fundamentally change the goods or services to be supplied under the contract, and at the same time gives the consumer no way out of the contract if they're not happy with the changes, would be considered unfair under the Regulations".

I am considering action via the small claims court as I am really not happy that the company can behave like this.

Oh and if anyone is thinking "shut up griping about getting the wrong Mercedes" - this was a very special birthday trip I'd arranged for my partner which had taken me 10 months to get the money together. I'm not rich and if I was I wouldn't quibble over a hundred Euros here and there.

Thanks for reading!

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Re: Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts/Consumer Rights Act

Postby atticus » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:10 pm

While I understand your disappointment, I think that you may face an uphill struggle proving that the service provided was fundamentally different to that contracted for.
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Re: Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts/Consumer Rights Act

Postby ScaryJeff » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:16 pm

Thanks Atticus.

I just found out that the company is Spanish and may have no UK legal entity (for want of a better term). I thought that operating in the UK (which they are effectively doing via their website) means that they are bound by certain consumer laws. The small claims court is not an option though.

Looks like I might just have to take it on the chin and vent my remaining frustration via online review sites.
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Re: Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts/Consumer Rights Act

Postby diy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:25 am

Your rights still apply in Spain. I'd do a bit of research to see the difference between a mini-bus and the limo in terms of cost. 135 euro doesn't sound like high end limo money, but I don't know how long/far you booked it for. If you can find a substantial difference in cost vs what you booked and what you were supplied with, then you can attempt a claim. I think you have a better claim that it did not meet the description, rather than allowing them to switch was an unfair term. So far nothing in the terms suggest that the Veto was an alternative.

Also if you paid via credit card - it might be worth talking to them to get it reversed.
My suggestions are not legal advice
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