Stance on accommodation refund ‘mind-blowing’

The woman had to change her travel plans to Queenstown due to this week's Alert Level 4 lockdown....
The woman had to change her travel plans to Queenstown due to this week's Alert Level 4 lockdown. Photo: ODT files
An Auckland woman has negotiated a partial refund with the owner of a Queenstown holiday home after the property’s managers offered her back only a fraction of her $3000-plus booking.

Monica Mathis had booked the Weaver St property for a week’s stay with her husband and two children from today, through online platform Bookabach.

After the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown was announced on Tuesday, she asked the property’s managers if she could cancel, but was refused a refund or credit to rebook a shorter stay in October.

Ms Mathis said she knew the property’s cancellation policy did not oblige them to give her a credit or refund, even for Covid-19-related cancellations.

However, she had read an advisory to property owners on the website of Bookabach owner Vbro that encouraged them to do so, even if not allowed for in their cancellation policy.

That was why she had found the property’s manager’s lack of flexibility ‘‘truly unethical and mind-blowing’’.

Only after pushing the company ‘‘extremely hard’’ did they offer her $500 back.

But she managed to directly contact the property’s owner, who was more sympathetic.

They had offered her a refund of about 60%, ‘‘which I’m happy with’’, she said.

In contrast, Bookabach itself had immediately refunded her traveller service fee of just over $300, and all the other businesses they had made bookings with for the trip, including Air New Zealand and Ezi Rental, had offered credits or refunds.

In an emailed statement, a Bookabach spokeswoman said cancellation policies were decided by individual homeowners, and it was important travellers checked the policy applying to a property before they made a booking.

‘‘While we encourage our hosts to adopt flexible cancellation policies, ultimately it’s their decision to choose.’’

guy.williams@odt.co.nz

Comments

It’s kind of the property owners to even offer. Air BnB offered a full refund but two other holiday rental companies would not refund any money for UK accommodation booked for July prior to even the global pandemic announcement! Of course travel insurance always had a pandemic clause, so essentially I now always check cancellation and refund policies when I book holiday accommodation and don’t expect goodwill to bail me out.

The Queenstown resort businesses plead with the domestic tourist to visit during the pandemic because the higher spending international travellers are not filling up the usual coffers. Then, without any fault as soon as a lockdown hits, the businesses treat the domestic tourist like a piece of garbage blown in from the street. My question: what the hell do the domestic travellers still see in an over-developed, over-rated, wallet-draining destination that is Queenstown?

For years Queenstown priced itself out of reach for most NZ families, then when overseas tourist's couldn't get into NZ they begged Kiwi's to come and help them out and we did. Then as soon as the borders opened they reverted to their true selfish position. Stuff you Queenstown

Hang on Driver1 and Den,
This is one accommodation provider of hundreds, that has chosen not to refund the guest. I know of many, many providers that have refunded 10s of $1000s in cancellations, to the detriment of their businesses.

 

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