DIY travellers risk being tripped up by lack of protection when booking via comparison sites

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Booking a villa through an online platform can leave the holidaymaker with little or no recourse to compensation when the property fails to live up to its description

It was early evening when Victoria Morley arrived at her €6,000 holiday villa on the Maltese island of Gozo. The five-bedroom farmhouse had been described on TripAdvisor as a “unique experience of luxury accommodation” and Morley had spent her savings on a fortnight’s stay to reunite her family after the recent death of her husband. The luxury turned out to be restricted to the seductive photos on the TripAdvisor listing. “It was dirty, some of the furniture was broken, toilets were blocked, cable TV had been advertised but wasn’t subscribed to, the whirlpool bath didn’t work and the pool had lots of tiles missing,” she says. “The whole place was rundown and, more worryingly, it failed to meet European safety standards, with no fire extinguishers or smoke detectors.”

Morley was unable to find a phone number for TripAdvisor on its website and, since it was getting late, the family went to bed. She emailed the company at 6am the following morning to report her concerns and was called by a representative who assured her that she would be covered by the company’s payment protection scheme.

TripAdvisor is a fantastic resource for researching holidays, but consumers need to treat it as just that

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view The Guardian: Money
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