Beware Stayz- price gouging holiday rentals

Booked accomodation in Victoria at a beachside location for an odd $850 for easter weekend 2021. Booking was accepted and half the cost was charged. Then booking was cancelled and accomodation relisted forcing a longer stay (min 4 nights not 3) and nightly rate significantly increased meaning total cost to book over easter was now an odd $2,500. Will apparently take up to four weeks for my refund to be processed.

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Hi @Billie1, welcome to the community.

It won’t be Stayz but the owner/managernof the accommodation booked. Stayz is only a booking platform.

That did the booking T&Cs say about the host/accommodation provider cancelling a booking?

If they were silent and your booking was confirmed, I would be asking what grounds they had to cancel your booking when it appears the property is available, albeit for a longer minimum stay.

It appears the host/accommodation may have incorrectly set the minimum stay over Easter and only discovered it when you made a booking. This isn’t your fault, but theirs, and a decent host would have honoured your booking.

I would also be lodging a complaint with Stayz about the host and their action. Make sure the complaint is factual and without emotion.

If this is the behaviour of tbe host/owner, I would be looking eslewhere as I wouldn’t want my money going to a host which appears not to care about their guests.

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Thank you very much for your advice. I agree. Have gone elsewhere. I’ll check T&Cs but suspect they’ll have catered for all scenarios.

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Perhaps post the address of the accomodation so as to forewarn othes about the owner’s despicable actions.

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Ok sure, if that helps. It was at Wye river Victoria (they don’t provide the full address on the Stayz website) but is called “Two degrees of separation- relaxed family beach house” in the website.

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This is a great forum by the way. I’m a lawyer (but don’t work in consumer rights space) but am often frustrated by what appears to be at least unethical or questionable practices.

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This sounds like a potential breach of contract. The ACCC industry advice to service providers in this instance is:

"You may be in breach of contract if you cancel a booking you have already accepted, unless you are legally permitted to do so (for example, under a valid term of the contract or if performance of the contract is frustrated).

The customer may be entitled to claim damages from you as compensation for any loss they suffer as a result of your actions."

It’s unlikely such a ‘valid term’ exists in the contract. If a term allowing cancellation under such conditions does exist, it would probably be invalidated by the Unfair Contract Terms legislation.

It’s worth advising the accommodation provider, via Stayz, that you will report them to your state consumer affairs body. Not that you’d want to stay with them any more, but they need to be made aware their tactics are likely illegal.

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Great! Thank you, will do that now.

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If you paid by credit card, the monies held by Stayz until refunded will be accruing interest. I would be requesting at least the refund of the interest paid as well. Being a month until refund, you could be paying around $10-12 in interest ($850 x assume 0.15% credit card interest/12 months in the year) for a cancellation which not the result of your own actions. These are direct costs you would be incurring at not fault of your own…but due to the owner cancelling your confirmed booking. They need to be responsible for at least these costs.

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Was wondering about that as it apparently takes an extended period for the refund to process, so will ask for that- thank you

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Something also worth knowing is that Stayz is a part of the Homeaway.com.au company and their Book With Confidence Guarantee applies (see the first Book with Confidence section):

This is the Homeaway.com.au Book With Confidence Guarantee:

https://www.homeaway.com.au/legal/book-with-confidence-guarantee

Your cancellation may come under a ‘protected incident’ and you are entitled to claim for losses incurred. You might also be worth asking, if your replacement accommodation was also booked through Stayz and was more expensive, if the difference is also covered by the guarantee. This should also come under the loss part of the guarantee. Hopefully Stayz charges and losses they pay you back to the property owner which cancelled your confirmed booking.

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Great- thank you, I’ll look into this too!

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Stayz is on my banned list. They described a property as having a communal pool. A pool was an essential criteria in the property selection. When we arrived at the small unit complex and couldn’t find a pool, the explanation by the host was that the descriptor “communal pool” meant the council pool kilometres enters away. Neither Stayz/Homeaway disputes resolution process or the state consumer affairs dept considered the description misleading.

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Brisbane Tim- That is unbelievable. I won’t be using them again either.

Also - Stayz replied advising:

  • property owners who cancel in these circumstances get marks against their profile (they did not elaborate in how this works)
  • property owners may be removed from the site if what they deliver falls below the “marketplace standards” set by Stayz (they did not elaborate on what this standard is).

They refunded deposit within 2 days.

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