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Holiday accommodation and your rights

What rights do you have under Australian Consumer Law if there's a problem with your holiday accommodation?

Holiday accommodation and your rights
Last updated: 20 December 2019

No one wants their hard-earned holidays ruined by hotel booking dramas or a room that doesn't pass muster. So what rights do you have if things don't go to plan with your holiday accommodation?

Tips for hassle free accommodation

  • Paying by credit card can provide you added protection in the form of chargebacks, but be wary of additional fees.
  • Book your travel insurance at the same time as you book your accommodation, as some policies cover cancellations.
  • Find out if there are any penalties for cancellation (see trouble-shooting guide, below).
  • Find out if there'll be any extra costs, such as if they charge for Wi-Fi or for parking.
  • Specify at the time of booking any additional requirements you may need, such as a quiet room or a cot for your child.
credit card fees when cancelling holiday

Paying by credit card can provide you added protection.

Your rights

Many of your rights will be outlined in the terms and conditions of the accommodation supplier. Australian Consumer Law also provides some protections through consumer guarantees, as well as protection against unfair contract terms and unfair practices by businesses. Your rights under Australian Consumer Law will be most applicable for travel within Australia or purchases made within Australia, for example through a travel agent.

Read more about your travel rights overseas below.

Your consumer guarantees mean that accommodation services must be provided:

  • with due care and skill,
  • so that they are fit for any specified purpose, and
  • within a reasonable period of time (if no time was set when booking).

In addition, the hotel or accommodation itself must:

  • be safe and of acceptable quality,
  • match the description provided when you booked it, and
  • be advertised in a manner that is not false or misleading.

Most importantly, none of these rights can be diminished, even if the hotel or accommodation supplier tries to do so by agreement or through terms in a contract.

But what does all this legalese mean when you're on holiday? You'd rather be relaxing right?

Travelling overseas?

If you're travelling overseas it helps to know what your rights are within that country. Here's a list of resources from our sister organisations and various consumer protection bodies in the UK, New Zealand and the US.

United Kingdom

New Zealand

United States

Accommodation trouble-shooting guide

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.