A FRUSTRATED dad has criticised a holiday cottage owner for allegedly refusing to refund his booking costs, despite his stay being cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Kevin Roberts said the owner of Lower Tundridge Cottage, in Suckley near Malvern, has rejected his request of a refund, totalling £1,991.

Mr Roberts, aged 42, was supposed to have gone on a family holiday for three nights from April 17, in a group of 16.

However, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and the government advice not to travel, the trip did not happen.

He said: “As a family we are experiencing very difficult and stressful times that could not have been foreseen, with parents, now over 70 years of age, advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks alongside my wife, sister-in-law and I being on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19.

“I am frustrated more than anything. I won’t stop until I get my money back. The owner is refusing to refund me the money for a trip that I was not able to make.”

Mr Roberts added: “We live in various parts of the UK and the holiday let was a good compromise in terms of distance to travel for all parties as well as us looking for a spring break. The purpose of the break was for myself and my two brothers along with our families to celebrate my parents joint 70th birthdays.”

Mr Roberts, from Mold in Wales, said he has approached the letting company, Sykes Cottages, and the cottage owner to reach a resolution.

Alternative holiday dates have been suggested, but they were not suitable as they are in school term times, meaning the children would miss two school days.

He said: “As well as the unsuitable change of dates, we have three keyworkers within our travelling party that have had annual leave cancelled and are unable at present to book any due to the current situation.”

He first contacted Sykes Cottages in regard to a refund on March 25. He claims he received a call on April 2 from an agent within Sykes Cottages.

He asked to rebook the dates for exactly the same date in 2021, however was told the cost of this break would be £3,551 - an increase of over £1,500 on what he paid for 2020.

Mr Roberts said that when he asked for a refund as the price increase was not suitable, he was told that Sykes Cottages had already paid the cottage owner the money.

A spokesman for Sykes Holiday Cottages said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages is an agent for its property owners, which means that we provide the booking and payment service along with customer service support. We are always here to support our customers and our owners, however the actual contract is between the owner and customer.

“Subject to an owner’s consent, we will issue customers with all funds returned to us by the owner of the property to the original payment method. Most of our owners have opted to do this for the portion of the booking paid to them but some such as the owner of Lower Tundridge Cottages have not agreed.

“In the few cases where an owner cannot provide a refund, we will apply a credit to the customer’s Sykes Holiday Cottages account representing the fees the owner has paid us for facilitating the booking. This can be used on any holiday departing within 24 months. We also continue to waive amendment fees for any customer due to travel prior to June 14 and they can easily amend their booking on our website."

The Worcester News contacted the cottage owner for a comment but he did not respond before our deadline.