Yet another gorgeous British Summer draws to an end, with 22% more rain in August than normal, and 35 flood warnings in the South of England, alone, over the bank holiday weekend, so it’s not too surprising that many of us have suffered a little, whilst camping. From a personal perspective, I have been away camping three times this year, and it has rained on every single day, so, if you have suffered, I feel your pain.
One of the unfortunate side effects of all this liquid sunshine is the flooding of sites, and the associated mud baths that often follow, and tractors / 4 x 4s towing units on and off site have been an increasingly common sight.
OK. So. We arrive at a site, and it is not, in our opinion, fit for purpose. Our pitch is either water logged, or a mud bath. What are our rights? Can we refuse to stay there, and request a refund?
Whilst, of course, it is our own, personal, choice whether or not we decide to stay on site, our entitlement to a refund is not, in fact, an automatic right. The weather is a situation beyond anyone’s control, and not something that the site owners can be held accountable for. As such, there is no generic law that obliges them to offer a refund, due to poor weather conditions, and inadequate pitches arising from those conditions.
The effective rights we have will, actually, depend on the site’s own Terms & Conditions. If these specify that a refund will be paid, in the event of weather related issues with pitches, then you are entitled to a refund, and, if the site fails to pay, you can take legal action against them. If, however, the Ts & Cs make no mention of a refund, or specifically state that no refunds will be paid, then there are no legal rights to receive one.
Of course, this does not affect your statutory rights, and, if the sites are providing pitches that are genuinely not fit for purpose (polluted water supplies, dangerous electrics etc) then you can report them, and obtain compensation, but circumstances beyond their control, such as extreme weather conditions, will not, automatically, entitle you to a refund. Make sure you read those terms and conditions before you make a booking, because, by making that booking with the site, you are deemed to be accepting them.
With thanks to Trading Standards and CAB for assistance with the preparation of this article.