Eurovision fan accused of ‘playing a game’ by hotel that gouged price for event
A hotel that demanded an extra £2,000 for a stay when it became apparent that Liverpool would host Eurovision has claimed a customer was "playing a game" by block-booking weekends when the contest is on.
Mick Heslop, from Durham, said he was "bullied" into cancelling the original £550 room, which is now listed for £2,495.
The 37-year-old reserved a room on The Joker Boat, based in Liverpool Marina, for three weekends in May, in anticipation of coming to the city for the Eurovision song contest.
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He also booked a room for three separate weekends in Glasgow through Booking.com with their free cancellation policy.
But he said the owners of The Joker Boat messaged him on October 5 telling him it was "not acceptable" to book three Saturdays with "potential Eurovision".
He disputed this, saying it was well within his rights – as per Booking.com – to do so.
The message from the hotel, which has been seen by The Liverpool ECHO, said: "Please cancel all bookings or pay for all of them.
"You cannot block dates in my accommodation with intention to cancel that stops other genuine bookings."
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The owner then warned: "If you cancel the other dates you've booked this date will also be cancelled."
Booking.com's terms and conditions for accommodation providers state they can specifically choose if they are included in the free cancellation policy, and can add a deposit or pre-payment option if they wish.
After telling the owner he would not be cancelling his reservation, The Joker Boat responded saying the boat "is not available to you for that night" and said Mick had "played a game".
Mick said: "I realised they weren't going to let this go so I found different accommodation for us and cancelled the booking.
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"When I looked on their website they were trying to charge £2,495 for the same room I booked for £550.
"There's a difference between some more money and robbing people. My hotel bullied me to cancel the Eurovision evening booking."
Russell Keenan, one of the owners of The Joker Boat, said: "Cancellation rights are for people who genuinely book accommodation intending to use the accommodation, but for unforeseen personal circumstances have to cancel.
"Mr Heslop booked multiple dates with no intention of using them."
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