Bookings of all holiday accommodation whether made by telephone, e-mail, in person, in writing or over the internet are accepted by Suffolk Secrets (SS) acting as agent on behalf of the Owner on the following terms.
By making any Booking with us, you confirm that you accept these terms and conditions and agree to comply with and be bound by them.
These booking terms and conditions include a number of defined terms as follows:
Booking: a legally binding reservation for use of the Property, with a specified start and end date.
Contract of Hire: the legally binding contract between the Hirer and the Owner for the provision of the Property for the purposes of the Booking and related services.
Force Majeure Event: means (i) any event or circumstance not within a party’s reasonable control including, without limitation, acts of God, flood, drought, earthquake or other natural disaster; epidemic or pandemic (if so categorized by a national or international health organisation), terrorist attack, civil war, civil commotion or riots, war, threat of or preparation for war, armed conflict, imposition of sanctions, embargo, or breaking off of diplomatic relations, nuclear, chemical or biological contamination or sonic boom, any law or any legally enforceable action taken by a government or public authority, which affects (directly or indirectly) the ability of the relevant party to perform a contractual obligation, collapse of buildings, fire, explosion or accident, or any labour or trade dispute, strikes, industrial action or lockouts and (ii) any binding legislation or law passed by the UK government or a UK public authority as a consequence of any of the events listed in (i).
Guest Price: the total price payable (which includes VAT, if applicable) by the Hirer for a Booking, comprising the property rental plus a booking fee and any additional charges that may apply to that Booking (e.g. in relation to pets).
Hirer: the person (“You”) making the Booking under these terms and conditions and by doing so entering into the Contract of Hire with the Owner.
SS: one of a small group of locally focused brands owned by The Original Cottage Company Limited, which is a family owned private limited company incorporated in England (registered number 06951692) with its registered address at Bank House, Market Place, Reepham, Norwich, NR10 4JJ. VAT No. 595 2110 44.
Owner: the owner of the Property which is the subject of the Contract of Hire.
Property: the holiday accommodation made available (subject to these terms and conditions) to the Hirer for use for the purposes of the Booking.
1. CONTRACT OF HIRE
The Original Cottage Company Limited trading as SS act only as agents for Owners, and are not principals and so the Contract of Hire is between the Hirer and the Owner of the property for which the Booking is made and shall be deemed to be made subject to these terms and conditions. For the avoidance of doubt, SS is not a party to the Contract of Hire. To the extent that SS carries out any functions in relation to a Property, it does so as an agent on behalf of the Owner.
The Booking is subject to these terms and conditions, which are governed by English law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. The Contract of Hire is effective only from the date and time that SS dispatch to the Hirer a written “Confirmation of Booking.” The Confirmation of Booking will show your booking details, the amount you have paid and the amount you still owe for the booking. As soon as you receive your Confirmation of Booking, you must check the details carefully. If anything is not correct, you should tell SS immediately. The Owner/SS, acting reasonably, reserves the right to amend arrival (‘check in’) and departure (‘check out’) times so as to ensure the Property is ready for occupation, for example in response to a Force Majeure Event. So long as the Owner/SS is acting reasonably, the Hirer will not be entitled to a refund in relation to a change in arrival or departure times.
For the avoidance of doubt, if SS pays the deposit and/or full balance into its bank account, it will not mean SS have accepted a booking unless SS have issued the Hirer with a written Confirmation of Booking. Please do not make any other travel arrangements until SS have issued you with a written Confirmation of Booking. If you book with us online, we will acknowledge that we have received your booking and then send a separate written Confirmation of Booking by e-mail to the e-mail address you have provided. If you book by post or phone, we will send your written Confirmation of Booking to you by post unless you tell us at the time of booking that you would prefer it to be provided by e-mail. It is your responsibility to check your e-mails regularly and to let us know about any change to your e-mail address.
The contract is for the hire of the Property for holiday purposes only. SS does not accept Bookings from Hirers under 18 years of age and SS reserves the right to cancel a Booking made by anyone who is (or who SS reasonably believes to be) under 18 at the time the Booking was made.
If the Hirer wishes to take legal action against the Owner of the property in order to pursue their rights under the Contract of Hire, SS, shall, at the Hirer’s written request, provide the name and means of contacting the applicable Owner. The Hirer undertakes not to contact the Owner for any other reason unless requested to do so by SS.
2. INITIAL PAYMENT
Bookings will be reserved upon receipt by SS of the required deposit payment in cleared funds of one third of the total Guest Price. If the Booking is made less than eight weeks before the holiday commencement date, the full Guest Price will be required to be paid at the time the Booking is made. Deposits can be paid by debit card or credit card, BACS transfer or cheque. In the case of web bookings, these can be paid online through our secure payment system.
3. BALANCE PAYMENT
The balance of the Guest Price will be due for payment eight weeks before the holiday commencement date. On receipt of the full balance payment in cleared funds, advice on key collection arrangements and directions to the Property will be sent to the Hirer. The Owner reserves the right to cancel a Booking where full payment has not been received within 14 days after the due date as advised by SS. The deposit paid on the Booking is always non-returnable (subject to clause 16).
4. METHOD OF PAYMENT
Cheques should be made payable to Suffolk Secrets with the booking reference written on the back. There is no charge for Debit or Credit Card payments.
5. VALUE ADDED TAX
Where VAT applies to the Property rental, it is included in the quoted price at the prevailing rate. SS’s Confirmation of Booking is not a VAT invoice. All SS charges and VAT inclusive rentals are subject to change if the rate changes.
6. CONFIRMATION OF BOOKING
Once SS has issued a written Confirmation of Booking, the Hirer is responsible for the total Guest Price as well as any extras as shown on the Confirmation of Booking. Amendments to bookings, where applicable and accepted by SS (on behalf of the Owner), will be subject to an administration fee of £50 for each amendment. SS reserves the right to adjust prices quoted in the brochure, on its website or on details to properties, due to errors or omissions or changes in the VAT rate.
7. BOOKING CANCELLATION
If you wish to cancel your Booking you must inform SS as soon as possible in writing (including by e-mail). The day SS receives your notice to cancel is the date on which SS will cancel your Booking with the Owner.
If, after you have booked and paid for your holiday you find that you cannot take it for the reasons that are set out below:
- Death, illness, injury of you or any member of the travelling party or of any *relative or **close business associate (see definitions below), excluding pets. Doctors note/death certificate may be requested as proof of claim.
- Disorganisation or disruption of any UK mainland public transport service due to strike, lock out, riot or civil commotion on which you rely to reach your holiday home. Tickets may be requested as proof of claim.
- Any member of the travelling party being required to undertake jury service or appear as a witness at a court of law providing you have had your written request for an alternative date refused.
- Police requiring the presence of any member of the travelling party following fire or theft at your home or place of business.
- Accidental damage to any member of your travelling party’s home, occurring within 14 days of the planned departure date or during the holiday and rendering the home uninhabitable.
- Any member of the travelling party receiving notification of redundancy within one month of the holiday start date, which qualifies for statutory payment under current legislation.
* Spouse, partner, child, parent, parent in law, brother, sister or fiancé(e) ** Co-Director or Business Partner
- Any recurring, chronic, or continuing illness or condition and pre-existing medical conditions or injuries.
- Pregnancy or giving birth when the expected date of birth is within two months of the start of your holiday.
- Epidemic or pandemic as declared by the World Health Organisation, Department of Health or DEFRA.
- Drug addiction or alcoholism.
- Failing to follow proper medical advice.
- Certain hazardous sports or pastimes (definition available on request).
- Travelling against medical advice.
- Bad weather.
- Disinclination to travel.
- Divorce, separation or personal relationship breakdown.
SS will normally, but at its sole discretion (the decision of SS will be final in all cases), refund up to the cottage holiday rental you are liable to pay, less the booking fee (if applicable), and a handling charge of £90.
In all other cases, if SS are able to re-let all or part of the period booked, SS will, at its sole discretion, consider a refund, less any shortfall in cost of the re-let booking, less the booking fee (if applicable) and less a handling charge of £90.
Please note that if you cancel your Booking you will remain legally liable for full payment, subject to your rights pursuant to clause 16.
We recommend that all guests consider taking out a travel insurance policy, which may provide comprehensive cover in the event of a cancellation.
8. BOOKING FEE
SS charges a booking fee for the services we provide that enable you to make a Booking. Subject to clause 16, the booking fee is non-refundable once the Booking has been confirmed.
If the property accepts pets, this will be clearly marked in the brochure or on the website property page. Bookings that include pets are taken on the condition that all flea and worming treatments are up to date and SS and/or the Owner reserve the right to ask for written evidence of such treatment. You are not permitted to leave pets unattended at the property at any time and some Owners will require that pets remain on the ground floor and off furniture at all times – this will be stated in the brochure or on the website property page if applicable. You, as pet owner, will be responsible for removing any evidence left by your pet and reimbursing the Owner for any damage caused. Please show consideration for guests visiting after you have gone home and bear in mind that some popular beaches do not permit dogs during the summer months. For most properties, a charge per pet per Booking will be made.
Guests With Allergies Relating to Pets:
Please note that an assistance dog may have stayed in a chosen property recently (even one that doesn’t allow pets as standard) and the Owner may have a dog or cat that sometimes stays at the property. The Owner cannot accept responsibility or liability for any suffering, damages or losses which may occur as a result of such animals having been present. The Owner and SS cannot guarantee and make no warranty that the property will be free from pet hair.
The use of accommodation and amenities, where offered, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, rowing boats, beach huts etc, is entirely at the Hirer’s risk and the Owner excludes all responsibility or liability for injury, or loss or damage to Hirer’ or visitors’ belongings.
Further, neither the Owner nor SS will be liable to you, any member of your party or person visiting the Property during the period of your hire of it for any events outside the Owner’s or SS’s 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 or any Force Majeure Events. You also accept that SS in acting as agent for the owner will not be liable for any negligence on the part of the Owner resulting in loss, injury or accident.
Further, neither the Owner nor SS will be liable to you for the withdrawal/removal of any facilities/amenities from/in the Property resulting from a Force Majeure Event.
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 pleasure not for 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 finalising your Booking if this is an essential requirement. If you are keeping an electric vehicle at the property, you must use designated charging points (where available) only and manufacturer approved cables for charging any vehicle when at the property. The Owner reserves the right to (i) charge additional fees if charging is, in SS’s or the Owner’s opinion, excessive and/or (ii) refuse to allow electric vehicles to be charged if they do not think it is suitable/safe to do so.
Any damage to the electric system at the property through incorrect use, overload of the system or the use of a standard extension cable will be the responsibility of the Hirer. Should damage occur the costs of repair are the responsibility of the Hirer and are not covered by the accidental damage waiver.
11. PARTY NUMBERS/COMPOSITION
It is your sole responsibility to ensure that no more than the maximum numbers of persons, as stated in the brochure/website, occupy a Property during your Booking. The Owner/SS reserve the right to refuse admittance or to require you to ensure that some people leave the Property if they believe that you are in breach of this obligation. No refunds will be given if admittance has been refused for this reason. Further, where properties specify a minimum age limit for guests, in no circumstances may any persons under the specified age limit, as stated in the brochure/website, stay at that Property. The Owner/SS reserve the right to refuse admittance or to require proof of someone’s age if either believe that this restriction has been breached. No refunds will be given if admittance has been refused for this reason.
By completing a Booking, the Hirer certifies that they are authorised to agree to these Booking Conditions on behalf of all members of the party, including any changes. The Hirer must be over 18 years at the time a Booking is made and be a member of the party occupying the Property. The Hirer agrees to take responsibility for the acts and omissions of all members of the party in relation to the Booking and the Property. The Owner/SS reserve the right to refuse or revoke any bookings from parties that may in their opinion (and at their sole discretion) be unsuitable for the Property concerned.
12. YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
For the duration of your stay at the Property, you will be responsible for the Property and will be expected to take all reasonable care of it. The Property and all equipment and utensils must be left clean and tidy at the end of the hire period. If a Property is not left clean and tidy, any additional cleaning costs will be charged to the Hirer. Should there be any specific health or mobility difficulties which may affect a party member; this must be pointed out at the initial reservation stage so that the suitability of the Property can be assessed. The Property (including any car parking spaces) must be vacated by 09.00 am on the day of departure.
All damages and breakages are the legal responsibility of the Hirer and should be reported immediately and before the end of the holiday. The reasonable costs of miscellaneous repairs to and/or replacement of and/or additional cleaning of furnishings, kitchen equipment, crockery, glass, keys, bedding and towels damaged or soiled otherwise than by usual wear and tear during the period of the Booking by you or other members of your party shall be payable on demand to SS who may also, at their discretion, refuse further bookings. The Owner/SS has the right to enter the Property (without prior notice if this is not practical or possible) if special circumstances or emergencies arise (for example if repairs need to be carried out). The Owner/SS reserves the right to repossess the Property at any time where you or any member of your party has caused damage, and in such circumstances the Owner/SS shall not be liable to make a refund of any remaining portion of the Guest Price.
14. ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE DEPOSIT/WAIVER
It is a requirement when booking certain specified properties with SS, to pay either an Accidental Damage Deposit or an Accidental Damage Deposit Waiver.
The Accidental Damage Deposit is due with the balance of the Guest Price and it will be cashed on receipt and held by SS to be applied against the reasonable costs of miscellaneous repairs to and/or replacement of and/or additional cleaning of furnishings, kitchen equipment, crockery, glass, keys, bedding and towels damaged or soiled otherwise than by usual wear and tear during the period of the Booking by you or other members of your party. The balance of the Accidental Damage Deposit will be returned to you within 7 working days of the departure date. Where such costs exceed the Accidental Damage Deposit you agree to pay such excess to the Owner promptly and in any event within 14 days of being notified.
Where you have agreed to pay the Accidental Damage Deposit Waiver the Accidental Damage Deposit is not payable. The Accidental Damage Deposit Waiver is a non-refundable payment by you to SS in lieu of the Accidental Damage Deposit. The Accidental Damage Deposit Waiver will normally, but at SS’s sole discretion, cover the costs of making good any loss or damage to the Property and/or its contents caused through act or omission during the period of the Booking by you or other members of your party up to the value of the Accidental Damage Deposit for the booked Property. Where any such damage caused exceeds this amount, you agree to pay to SS, acting on behalf of the Owner, upon written demand, any reasonable costs incurred by or on behalf of SS or the Owner to make good any such loss or damage above the predetermined amount. The Accidental Damage Deposit Waiver is not available for any stay at a Property which exceeds 14 nights in any single booking. Criminal or wilful damage will not be covered by the Accidental Damage Deposit Waiver.
The Owner/SS take every care to ensure the accuracy of the Property descriptions. All information in SS's brochure or other marketing material and on SS’s website is given in good faith and is believed to be correct at the time of going to press, but the Owner/SS cannot be held responsible for changes beyond their control, which may become known after publication of this literature. In addition, whilst properties may be described as non-smoking or no pets, this cannot be and is not guaranteed. Please be aware that if a Property is advertised as having an enclosed garden, this does not necessarily mean a secure garden. It may be enclosed by hedging or open style fencing. The Owner/SS’s description of a property shows what amenities that property has but generally does not state what is not in the self-catering property.
16. AVAILABILITY AND FORCE MAJEURE
The Contract of Hire is made on the understanding that the Property will be available for the dates stated. In the unlikely event that a Property is not available during the period of the Booking as a result of a Force Majeure Event or if the Hirer cannot legally travel to the Property as a result of a Force Majeure Event, then either (i) the Owner/SS may be forced to cancel the Booking and you will be advised as early as possible or (ii) you must write to SS as soon as possible to inform SS as to the Force Majeure Event and its effects on your ability to legally travel to the Property.
In the event of such a cancellation, or in the unlikely event that the Owner cannot/does not make the Property available for the Booking, the Hirer will have the choice of the following options:
- to transfer the Booking to a later date and/or another property free of any administration charges, subject to availability - the Hirer will have to pay any difference in price if the cost of the new booking is higher or be reimbursed the difference if the cost of the new booking is lower;
- to request a voucher with a redemption value equal to the amount previously paid for the Booking - the voucher terms and conditions will be available to the Hirer before they make their choice under this clause; or
- to obtain a refund of the amount already paid for the Booking (after deducting any administrative charges that apply to a Booking, such as the booking fee).
The Hirer will have to contact SS in order to access these options.
The Hirer will not as a result have any further claims against SS or the Owner.
17. PROPERTIES WITH CHARACTER
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. The Owner/SS will do their best to ensure that the background heating is kept on sufficiently to compensate, even when the Property is empty. Condensation can be alleviated by opening windows and allowing the air to circulate. 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!
18. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
We aim to provide a high level of customer service and want all of our guests to be completely happy with their holiday. In the unlikely event that you have any issues with your accommodation, please get in touch with us as soon as possible during your stay so that we can do our best to put it right.
If the Hirer wishes to make a complaint about anything connected with the hire of the Property, they should contact SS as soon as reasonably possible prior to departure. In the event the Hirer does not have phone reception at the location where they are staying, the Hirer must make reasonable efforts to make a call from a nearby public telephone, send us an e-mail or visit our office. SS will then either pass the complaint on to the Owner of the Property to deal with or it may consider the complaint and take action to resolve this itself (on behalf of the Owner) as soon as reasonably practicable.
Please note that SS has the authority to act on the Owner’s behalf to resolve any dispute, but SS is not liable if one or both parties are dissatisfied with the outcome.
Compensation will not be considered for any complaints that are made after the hire has ended, or where the Hirer has denied SS or the Owner the opportunity to investigate, address or remedy the issue during the Hirer’s stay.
Neither SS or the Owner can accept responsibility or liability for work taking place outside the boundary of the Property, or for noise or nuisance resulting from third party activity over which SS or the Owner have no control.
19. BEST PRICE GUARANTEE
We guarantee you always get the lowest price when you book your holiday property directly through us. To qualify for our Best Price Guarantee, you must find the same property, for the same party size, over the same date period and notify us within 24 hours of your booking, in writing by post or e-mail. The lower price must be viewable by anyone prior to booking and bookable by anyone, i.e. not a negotiated rate, a member rate, an offer applicable to only part of your stay or an offer which requires a credit card number or code to see. This Best Price Guarantee does not apply to any optional extras, service charges or other fees and excludes changes in currency conversion rates. The same property must be available for booking at a qualifying lower price in the same currency when we validate your claim.
We will assess your claim within 48 hours of receipt of all required information. If your claim is successful, we will notify you in writing by post or e-mail and refund the difference or adjust your outstanding balance. Only one claim may be submitted per Booking.
SS reserves the right to reject claims under this clause 19, if we believe that the Best Price Guarantee is being intentionally abused or manipulated to circumvent its intent. A claim may be invalidated if you make any changes to the Booking after the claim has been submitted and approved.
20. DATA PROTECTION
At all times your data will be held securely and protected in line with SS’s obligations under UK data protection legislation. Your party names and contact details will only be shared with the Owner in order to allow the Owner to manage your holiday and give you the best possible experience.
If you request that we pass on supplementary information that you wish to provide to the Owner, for any reason, then we will do so. SS will securely hold that information on your behalf as part of your booking record unless you ask us to delete it. Any such information is provided at your sole request and discretion, and SS bears no responsibility for its accuracy or contents.
21. OUR LIABILITY
As SS act only as agents for the Owner, SS cannot accept any legal responsibility for any act or neglect on their part or of anyone representing or employed by them. Further, SS cannot accept any liability for any problems or faults with or in any Property. The Owner is solely responsible for providing the accommodation and for the safety of all guests. SS accepts no responsibility for personal injury to, or death of, any guests, or loss of or consequential loss or damage to their property, or for other matters over which SS has no control, except to the extent such personal injury or death is caused by the negligence or wilful default of SS.
Other than in relation to any liability which it is not possible to exclude at law, the Owner’s and SS’s liability for any claims arising out of or in relation to the Contract of Hire is limited to the amounts paid by the Hirer pursuant to the Contract of Hire.
Each of the paragraphs in these terms and conditions operates separately. If any court or relevant authority decides that any of them are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect.
In the event of any dispute between parties it shall be referred to the jurisdiction of the English courts only and any actions shall be heard in the court for the area in which the property is situated.
These Booking Conditions supersede any previous issues.