To All our Guests,
I want to acknowledge and sincerely apologise for the current issues surrounding a small number of duplicate or last minute cancelled holiday bookings that have happened recently.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have experienced unprecedented levels of demand to our websites and contact centres. Though we expected demand to resurface as UK travel restrictions were lifted, we didn’t plan for a tenfold increase, which is what we’ve experienced on some of our platforms in recent weeks. To put it simply – our systems didn’t scale to the level we needed them to and this regrettably caused some duplicate bookings to occur.
We will be sending over half a million customers on holiday in August alone, though we deeply regret not being able to service the bookings which have had to be cancelled. I realise these guests will miss out on the summer holiday of their choice and I completely understand the frustration this has caused.
We have now put new measures in place and have been working fast to add further capacity both to our telephony systems and by adding more staff to our contact centre. Whilst we will always try and find alternative accommodation for guests, if this isn’t possible, rest assured we will be and have been providing a prompt full cash refund to anyone who has been affected.
We appreciate this is extremely frustrating for anyone affected by this issue, it is a situation for which I am truly sorry and I thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we resolve this issue.
CEO Awaze UK
Customer update: We are supporting tens of thousands of customers who have had their holidays impacted by the COVID-19 public health measures. These enquiries will take some time to respond to. Please ensure that you continue to contact us through our official channels and we thank everyone for their patience as we work through your enquiries as quickly as we can.
We have contacted customers whose holidays were not allowed to go ahead as planned due to any government imposed legislative lockdown. Those customers will have had the option to transfer their holiday online with a voucher or to request a cash refund.
If you have an arrival date impacted by lockdown, you should have received an email from us with a link which allows you to request or re-request an e-voucher here. Learn more about e-vouchers here. Please note that we will never ask you for voucher details on social media or over email.
Alternatively, you may choose to obtain a cash refund of the amount paid previously for the affected holiday. You should have received an email from us with details on when and how you can request your refund. We would be grateful if you could refrain from contacting us until you have received those details. We are dealing with a high volume of requests and you being patient and waiting for your email instructions will allow us to deal with customers in a logical order and will make the process smoother and more efficient for all affected customers.
To give customers extra flexibility, we have changed the balance due date for bookings* that take place this year, to just three weeks before their holiday is due to start.
If you decide to cancel your holiday before your new balance due date, we will waive your liability for the remainder of the balance. This means that no further amount will be collected from you in such event. Should you cancel on or after your new balance due date, you will need to pay the cancellation charges as set out in the cancellation charges table (according to the number of days before the start date of your holiday) which you can find in your booking conditions, as well as any applicable non-refundable charges (such as booking fees, admin charges or insurance premiums) that you owe.
*If you have booked a property that is stated to sleep 10 people or more and your booking begins between 1st September - 31st December 2020, your balance due date will remain at 12 weeks prior to the holiday start date as set out in the booking conditions.
On 8th July, the Chancellor announced that from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, a reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of accommodation across the UK. The announcement has caused some confusion on how this change will apply to the prices paid by customers who book cottages through us. So here is some clarification:
All of the individual cottages that customers can book through cottages.com or its sister brands are provided by the respective cottage owners. In other words, we do not provide the holiday accommodation. Instead, we act as a booking and marketing agent for our cottage owners and provide a booking service to customers. These services are not within the scope of the changes announced. This means that the applicable VAT rate for any services provided by the cottages.com family of brands remain at 20%.
The majority of our cottage owners are not VAT registered. The rental price charged to customers in those instances does not contain any VAT and is therefore not affected by any changes in the VAT rate.
Irrespective of the VAT registered status of the cottage owner, prices are monitored continuously to ensure their competitiveness in the market. This means that prices are competitive and comparable irrespective of the applicable VAT rate.