How we can help you
The European Consumer Centre informs you about your consumer rights in the EU, provides free legal advice in cross-border disputes, and mediates if you and the hotel cannot work it out together. Our website offers information, tips and sample letters that will help you take the right steps.
Good to know
I do not want to go abroad, can I cancel the hotel booking free of charge?
Of course, you can always cancel your booking, but as long as the hotel is open and the operator is still able to provide the agreed service, you are in principle not entitled to cancel your booking free of charge. You are subject to the booking conditions and willingness of the hotel to rebook or cancel the hotel booking free of charge.
Adjusted rules in France
A temporary emergency measure has been introduced in France. Do you have a hotel booking between 1 March 2020 and 15 September 2020, and do you want to cancel it because of the coronavirus? Then cancellation is free of charge. You are entitled to a refund. The hotel may also offer you a voucher, which you do not have to accept. If you do not use this voucher within 18 months, you will still be entitled to a refund.
Your consumer rights in Europe
Have you booked a hotel in another EU country, such as Germany, Italy or Spain, and would you like to cancel it (free of charge)? Then contact our legal specialists via the contact form. Several countries have temporarily changed the rules. We will be happy to explain your consumer rights to you!
Can I cancel my hotel booking (free of charge) in the event of an entry ban?
Of Course, you can always cancel your booking, but as long as the hotel is open and the operator is still able to provide the agreed service, you are in principle not entitled to cancel your booking free of charge. Your hotel room is still available, only you cannot get there due to an entry ban. You are subject to the booking conditions and willingness of the hotel to rebook or cancel the hotel booking free of charge.
Insurers no longer see the cancellation of a holiday due to the coronavirus as a sudden event. Recovering money through your cancellation insurance is excluded with most insurers.
What am I entitled to if the hotel cancels the hotel booking?
If the hotel cancels your booking, for example because of the coronavirus, you are entitled to a refund of your money. The hotel may offer you a voucher, which you do not have to accept. The hotel may also propose to change the booking dates. You do not have to agree to this. You will still be entitled to a refund.
Hotel open, facilities closed. Am I entitled to a compensation?
Have you booked a hotel with facilities such as a swimming pool, arcade or restaurant, which are closed due to the coronavirus? In that case, you are entitled to a refund of part of the travel sum you paid. You cannot use the facilities even though you have paid for them.
Termination of booking agreement
When you booked the hotel, were you promised access to a water park or other facilities aimed at families with children and did you book this hotel precisely because of those facilities? Can you prove it? Then you can dissolve the booking agreement. This cancels the booking and entitles you to a refund of your money.
Please note that if it was indicated when booking that the facilities are closed, you are not entitled to a free cancellation and refund of your money.
Do I have to accept a voucher if a hotel booking is cancelled?
If your hotel booking has been cancelled by the hotel due to the coronavirus, the hotel may offer you a voucher. The voucher is offered on a voluntary basis. You have the right to refuse this voucher. If this offer is refused, the hotel will have to refund you the ticket price. The voucher should not be forced on you.
What should I pay attention to when accepting a voucher?
If your hotel booking is cancelled because of the coronavirus, the hotel may offer you a voucher. You may refuse this voucher. Before you choose to accept a voucher, check if the voucher complies with the basic principles of the voucher scheme of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets ACM.
- Accepting a voucher is a choice, it should not be imposed on you. The starting point remains that you are entitled to a refund when you cancel your booking.
- The voucher must be a full replacement. This means that the voucher value is equal to the original travel sum including booking fees and administrative costs, etc.
- Vouchers must have a reasonable validity period, e.g. 12 months.
- The remaining amount of the voucher (the part you have not spent) must be paid out afterwards by the hotel within a reasonable period of time.
- Have you made a down payment? Then you do not have to pay the remaining amount if you know that the holiday cannot go ahead or if the hotel will be unable to perform the agreement.
Also check if the voucher is covered by a guarantee fund or if another guarantee scheme applies, so you will not be left empty-handed in the event of bankruptcy.
What can I do if the hotel refuses to refund my money?
If the hotel refuses to refund your money in the event of cancellation of your booking, you do not need to leave it at that. Let us explain what you can do!
Download sample letter
Make your complaint known to the hotel in writing, via the website or by email. Please use the ECC sample letter ‘Booking by the hotel cancelled due to coronavirus? Get your money back!’ This letter can be downloaded in Dutch and English. Free of charge! Give the hotel 4 weeks to respond to your complaint.
Report it to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM)
Does the hotel fail to respond within the time limit you set or is your request for a refund rejected? Report it to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets! This regulator can take strict action against hotel operators that do not comply with the rules and are taking unfair advantage of the corona crisis.
Complaint about a foreign hotel? Ask ECC for assistance!
Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have a conflict with a foreign hotel established in another EU Member State, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, which you cannot resolve together? Ask our legal specialists for assistance. We mediate between you and the hotel. Free of charge!
Take it to court
If ECC’s mediation is unsuccessful, you can start a small claims procedure and submit your complaint to the court. Our legal specialists can inform you about the legal options and costs for starting this procedure.
What can I do if the hotel wrongfully withheld charges?
If the hotel cancels your hotel booking, for example because of the coronavirus, you are entitled to a refund of your money. The full travel sum. No administrative costs or mediation fees or any other costs may be withheld.
Have you accepted a voucher? Then the voucher value must be equal to the amount you paid to the hotel when booking your stay.
Wrongfully withheld charges, what now?
In this news article, you can read what you can do if the hotel does not refund the full travel sum or wrongfully deducts costs from your voucher. This is not permitted!
About the ECC
How can the European Consumer Centre help me?
The European Consumer Centre will help you find a solution for your complaint if you and the foreign hotel cannot resolve it together. The hotel must be established in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom. Contact our legal specialists via the online form. Our legal aid is free.
Question/complaint about a Dutch hotel
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch hotel, please contact the Legal Services Counter, ACM Consuwijzer or the ACM ConsuWijzer for legal assistance.