Big Domain is a website owned and operated by The Travel Chapter Limited trading as holidaycottages.co.uk.
We last updated our booking terms and conditions on 16th March 2023.
These booking terms and conditions apply to all confirmed bookings created on or after 16th March 2023 and supersede all previous versions. For the previous versions of our booking terms and conditions see here.
Introduction and references
holidaycottages.co.uk (“the Website”) is a website owned and operated by The Travel Chapter Limited who shall be referred to as “we”, “us” or “our” in these terms and conditions.
To make it easier to read these terms and conditions there are a number of further definitions which we use:
- “Deposit” means a deposit of 1/3rd of the total holiday accommodation cost (which includes any “extras” selected at the time of booking);
- “Holidaymaker” means you and each person going on holiday with you on your booking;
- “Owner” means the owner of the Property you book (as we do not own the properties on our Website);
- “Property” means the holiday property you book through us; and
- “You” means the lead person making a booking through us.
When you make a booking through us you are confirming that you and every Holidaymaker understands, agrees and accepts these terms and conditions. Please read them carefully, particularly section 13 headed “Limitation of Liabilities and Legal”.
1. Contract and Booking
We act as agents for the Owner. Therefore, when you make a booking through us the contract to occupy the Property is between you and the Owner.
In some cases we may also act as agent for other agencies who themselves act as agents for the Owner. In those cases the contract to occupy the Property is also between you and the Owner.
Bookings cannot be accepted from persons under 18 years of age.
The Properties are meant to be used for the purposes of a holiday, and certain group bookings, including for stag and hen dos, may not be allowed unless special arrangements (including the possible requirement for a safety deposit) are made with the Owner.
No bookings are valid until confirmed by us in writing (including by email).
Once a booking is confirmed it cannot be changed by you, unless agreed by the Owner, or by us on the Owner’s behalf. If we or the Owner agree to make requested changes to your booking (for example, changing the lead booker and/or the dates of your holiday) you will be required to pay £75 per change.
2. Booking Fees, Deposits, Balance Payments and Holiday Insurance
When making a booking you will be required to pay a booking fee to us which will be clearly identified as part of the overall price you pay. The booking fee is payable for the service we provide that allows you to book a Property.
If you make a booking more than 9 weeks before the holiday date you will be required to pay a Deposit when making the booking and the balance will be due no later than 9 weeks before the holiday is due to start.
If you make a booking within 9 weeks of the start of the holiday you will be required to pay for the holiday in full at the time of booking.
If available and you actively choose to take out holiday insurance through us it will be arranged by a third party insurance provider (and not by the Owner, nor by us or any other agencies or member(s) of our group); the cost of the holiday insurance (if available and selected) will also be payable at the time of booking.
We reserve the right (on behalf of the Owner) to cancel your holiday and re-let any holiday where any payment due is more than 7 days’ late. In these circumstances you will not be entitled to any refund.
The booking fee and Deposit are non-refundable unless we are unable to accept the booking on behalf of the Owner or the Property is unavailable at the time of the holiday (please see section 3).
At certain times of the year you may be eligible to secure your next holiday with a deposit which is less than the standard Deposit (of 1/3rd of the total accommodation cost). If eligible, we will give you details of any applicable terms before, or when, you make your booking.
3. Owner unable to make the Property available
If the Owner cannot make the Property available to you for your booking we will try to find you suitable alternative accommodation or we will arrange a refund from the Owner of all amounts you have paid towards the accommodation cost. The Owner (and not us) will be responsible to pay any compensation or expenses as a consequence of such an event. The booking fee will be non-refundable in these circumstances as we will have performed our services to you at the point of booking.
4. Guest Cancellations
If you cancel prior to the holiday arrival date you may be due a partial refund from the Owner.
The refund will depend on the amount of notice you give us (as agent for the Owner) before the holiday start date.
If section 3 applies you will be entitled to a full refund of the accommodation costs from the Owner. In all other circumstances, the refund will be calculated as follows:
- 21 or less days’ notice – No refund due
- 22-35 days’ notice – 10% of the total accommodation cost
- 36-49 days’ notice – 20% of the total accommodation cost
- 50-63 days’ notice – 40% of the total accommodation cost
- More than 63 days’ notice – your liability to pay the balance will be waived, however, the Deposit will not be refunded. If the holiday was paid in full and more than 63 days’ notice is provided then 2/3rds of the total accommodation cost will be refunded.
For the avoidance of doubt the booking fee and any holiday insurance premium (unless the holiday insurance is cancelled within 14 days of the booking) are non-refundable in all circumstances when you cancel a holiday. The Deposit is non-refundable in all circumstances when you cancel a holiday, unless section 3 applies.
If a refund is due we will aim to return the applicable amount within 10 working days of cancellation.
Where a booking has been taken with a deposit which is less than our standard Deposit (1/3 of the total accommodation cost) and paragraph 3 (Owner unable to make the Property available) does not apply, you will be liable to pay the difference between the reduced deposit and our standard Deposit within 10 days of cancelling the booking.
If you transfer your booking (a “Transferred Booking”) and then later wish to cancel, the number of days’ notice you will be deemed to have given for the purposes of section 4 (Guest Cancellations) will be the lower of (a) the number of days’ notice to transfer the original booking, and (b) the number of days’ notice to cancel the Transferred Booking.
5. Holidaymakers’ responsibilities
You will ensure that you and all Holidaymakers will:
- act responsibly and carefully whilst at the Property, abiding by any property specific house rules and leave the Property, and all things in or at it, in the same state of repair and cleanliness as at the start of the holiday;
- report to the Owner any damage or breakages made during the holiday occupancy and pay for damage (wear and tear accepted);
- not smoke at the Property nor allow anyone else to smoke at the Property;
- not allow more than the maximum number of people or pets to stay at the Property as stated on the Website;
- at all times comply with any applicable laws and local or Government guidance, and ensure that no Holidaymaker or their guests (if allowed at the Property) or pets (if allowed at the Property) do anything which is illegal, or may cause unreasonable damage, noise, behaviour or disturbance;
- not enter the Property before the stated arrival date and time and will leave the Property before the stated departure date and time;
- treat people with respect and not act in a way which is abusive, violent, destructive, menacing, or harassing towards an Owner, any member of their team, any member of the community in which the Property is situated, or any of our employees, directors, consultants or other party acting on our behalf;
- secure the Property (including all windows and doors) whenever leaving the Property.
We and the Owner will be entitled to make a reasonable charge where Holidaymakers have failed to comply with these responsibilities. In serious cases, Holidaymakers may have to leave the Property early without any compensation or refund.
6. Owner’s responsibilities
The Owner will ensure that:
- the Property is cleaned and ready for the Holidaymakers by the stated arrival date and time;
- suitable arrangements are made for you to access the Property;
- they treat all Holidaymakers with respect and not act in a way which is abusive, violent, destructive, menacing, or harassing towards any Holidaymaker at their Property;
- they can be easily contacted (at reasonable times) or will provide you with an alternative first point of contact should you have any concerns or queries during your stay;
- they, and the Property, comply with all applicable laws and regulations (including health and safety regulations);
- adequate liability insurance is in place in respect of the Holidaymakers’ stay; and
- all Holidaymakers will have exclusive access to the Property for the duration of the holiday (although all Holidaymakers will allow the Owner or any representative, including us, access to the Property if reasonably required).
However, the Owner and we will not be responsible, nor liable to you (or any Holidaymakers) for any events outside the Owner’s or our reasonable control, such as the breakdown of domestic appliances, plumbing, wiring, temporary invasion of pests, building works at adjacent properties, damage resulting from exceptional weather conditions or other unforeseeable circumstances.
Dogs are only allowed at Properties (at an additional charge which will be identified at the time of booking) where this is specifically stated in the Property description; additional dog restrictions may be contained in the “Need to Know”/Property information section – please read this section carefully.
Registered assistance dogs are allowed in all Properties.
You must notify us of the intended presence of any assistance dogs, with evidence of registration, prior to making a booking.
If any Holidaymaker has an allergy to dogs, please be aware that neither our Owners nor we can guarantee that a dog has not stayed in a particular Property. Neither we nor our Owners can accept responsibility for any suffering which may occur as a result of such animals having been present in a Property.
The following dog terms apply:
- Dogs must be under strict control at all times while in or at the Property;
- Any fouling must be cleared up without delay;
- The dog owner must bring the dog's bed or basket for sleeping in;
- Dogs must not be left alone in or at the Property or elsewhere at any time;
- Dogs must not lie on beds or furnishings, and hair must be cleared up before departing;
- Dog owners must ensure that their pets are free from parasites and fleas before they occupy the Property. Failure to do so may incur subsequent charges;
- Young dogs (e.g. puppies less than 6 months’ old) must be declared to us at the time of booking and authorised by the Owner;
- You will be liable for any damage caused by any Holidaymakers’ dogs. Any damage is to be reported to the Owner (or their representative) immediately. Any additional cleaning required, that may incur an additional charge, will be at the Owner's discretion.
Pets other than dogs may be allowed at the Owner’s discretion. This must be approved prior to making a booking and can be arranged by telephoning the Reservations department.
If you break these terms, the Owner (including their representative) or we may notify you that you have broken these terms and may cancel the booking and ask that the Holidaymakers leave the Property before the end of the holiday period without compensation, or that they pay an additional reasonable charge.
For certain Properties you may be able book a ferry crossing at preferential rates directly with selected ferry operators.
We do not offer nor arrange any ‘package’ holidays or ‘linked travel arrangements’, both as defined in the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. We will not, and will not be able to, provide a discount code or link with preferential rates until at least 24 hours after the corresponding holiday booking has been confirmed.
Any ferry bookings will be in accordance with the terms of carriage of the relevant ferry operator.
The ferry company alone are responsible for the safety of all Holidaymakers during the crossing subject to and in accordance with the relevant ferry company's terms of carriage.
We accept no responsibility for personal injury to, or death of, any Holidaymakers, or loss of or consequential loss or damage to their property, or for other matters over which we have no control, except to the extent such personal injury or death is caused by our negligence or wilful default.
9. VAT and IPT
All prices quoted include VAT and Insurance Premium Tax where applicable.
10. Literature and descriptions/amenities
We have compiled the information in our brochure and on our Website as accurately as possible. However, facilities may be altered or withdrawn for reasons outside our control, in which case we cannot accept responsibility.
We make every effort to ensure that the Property details supplied to us by the Owners are accurately reproduced and that the pricing and availability of the Property is correct. Mistakes may occur from time to time, and we reserve the right to rectify errors (including any pricing errors) within 5 business days of you making your booking.
Where Wi-Fi is an advertised facility, please note that its provision is subject to availability and network conditions. It may not be available 24 hours a day and is provided for leisure, not business, purposes.
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common and we want to ensure they can be catered for wherever possible. Not all Properties will have a suitable and safe place to charge vehicles, so it is recommended you check prior to booking. If you are keeping an electric vehicle at the Property, you must use designated charging points (where available) and manufacturer approved cables for charging any vehicles at the Property. The Owner reserves the right to refuse to allow electric vehicles to be charged if they do not believe, in their reasonable opinion, that it is suitable or safe to do so.
If you choose to holiday in an older property, remember that much of its character and charm is due to its age. Some of our Properties are well over 100 years old and were built long before the days of damp proof courses and cavity walls so some may show signs of damp, particularly in long spells of wet weather. If you have any concerns, please talk to us at the time of making your booking. Also, please remember that should traditional property features (steep stairs or low beams, for example) be a problem for any member of your party, you must consider and mention this prior to booking.
Please remember that properties in the country do attract spiders and therefore cobwebs. It does not mean that the Property is dirty or has not been cleaned as cobwebs can be spun almost as quickly as they have been cleaned away. Some of our properties, particularly in remote areas, may have a private water supply from a spring or well water, which is regularly tested. In rural areas please be tolerant of the sounds and scents that you may encounter, they are all a part of the countryside experience.
Confirmation should be requested prior to booking if there is any particular detail or facility that is important to you. When you make a booking the Holidaymakers accept that minor differences between text/photographs/illustrations in the brochure and on the Website and the actual Property may arise. We cannot accept responsibility should the Property not conform to a Holidaymaker's standards.
11. Complaints procedure
If you have any complaint concerning a Property, the matter should be taken up with the Owner (or the local point of contact provided to you in the travel directions) first. The Owner should do their best to resolve your complaint, where possible. It is important to raise any complaint while you are still at the Property.
If you are not satisfied with the response given by the Owner, please then contact us (via the Customer Service Department) with full details so we can investigate further. We will then liaise with the Owner to try to resolve any unresolved complaints.
12. Communication with you and data
As part of a booking we may introduce Holidaymakers to the goods and/or services of third parties. We shall not be treated as an agent for any such third parties, and any contract for the supply of such goods and/or services shall be between the provider and the relevant Holidaymaker.
All electronic data transferred pursuant to these terms and conditions remains our property and may not be replicated in part or whole without our prior written permission. Electronic data will not be preserved indefinitely by us.
13. Limitation of Liabilities and Legal – Please pay particular attention to this section
The contract to occupy the Property is made on the basis that the Property is to be occupied by the Holidaymakers for a holiday (as mentioned in the Housing Act 1988 Schedule 1 paragraph 9 or similar legislation in other jurisdictions).
When making a booking, you acknowledge on behalf of all Holidaymakers that the tenancy granted by these terms and conditions is not an assured tenancy and that no statutory periodic tenancy will arise when it ends.
Once you have made a booking there is no “cooling off” period as the contract you have made is for accommodation services for a specific period of performance. You can see further details in the section “When you don’t get 14 days to cancel” on the citizen’s advice bureau website here.
We accept no responsibility for personal injury to, or death of, Holidaymakers or anyone they invite to the Property, or loss of or consequential loss or damage to their property, or for other matters over which we have no control.
If either you or an Owner fails to comply with these terms and conditions you or the Owner will be liable (only) for losses which are a foreseeable consequence of the failure to comply with the applicable terms. Losses are foreseeable where they were contemplated by you and the Owner at the time you made the booking.
Nothing in these terms and conditions will limit our liability or an Owner’s liability to you where it would be unlawful to do so. This includes liability for death or personal injury caused by our or the Owner’s negligence or the negligence of our or their employees, agents or subcontractors, or for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation.
Any dispute, claim or other matter which may arise in relation to your booking will be governed by English law and you agree that any dispute will be dealt with exclusively by the courts of England and Wales.
14. Trust Account
When you pay us for a booking, the money is deposited into a separate Trust Account, which is supervised and administered by an independent trustee (“the Trustee”). Before an Owner, and we, receive any funds in relation to a booking, we must first submit a payment request, which is checked and verified by the Trustee, and only then is payment released from the Trust Account.
In the unlikely event of our becoming insolvent or ceasing to trade, this means that your booking is protected before we have passed your payments to the Owners. If this was to occur, any money not yet paid to Owners would still be held in the separate Trust Account, and the Trustee would continue to administer bookings and make payments to Owners to allow your holiday to go ahead as originally planned. If for any reason this was not possible, the Trustee would have the discretion to administer a claim to refund any money that had been paid for the booking. The Trustee is responsible only for administering the bookings and making refunds as described above. The Trustee does not have any liability to pay any compensation to you in the event of our insolvency or in any other circumstances.
In order to facilitate the administration of your booking by the Trustee in the event of our insolvency, you agree that we may share your personal data (as defined in our Privacy Statement) with the Trustee and the Trustee may share such data with any third party necessary for the purpose of processing your booking including, where applicable, the card acquirer/issuer where a claim for chargeback or refund has been made.
Please note that the Trust Account is not an insurance policy. The Trust Account protects money that has been paid to us for a booking but not yet paid to the Owners in the event of our insolvency. You will need to take out separate insurance to provide cover for cancellation of the booking, damage to the Property etc.