We booked a Rhine to Danube river cruise in August with [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR]. The cruise actually departs on 13 September 2010 – yes 2010! We have discovered from a chap who went on the corresponding cruise this year that because of low water levels on the Danube, the last 4 days of the cruise was actually a bus tour. Passengers were housed in prebooked hotels and fed in prebooked restaurants each night. Clearly, making alternative arrangements for approximately 140 people could not be done overnight, so the company must have had advance warning. I am told the passengers were not told of this in advance. I have just called the company to cancel our booking which I am told I can do by writing to them. However, they insist that they will withold my deposit (2 x £150). (The booking conditions do state that if a customer cancels more than 56 days in advance of departure, the deposit is fordeited.) When I asked the lady I spoke with [NAME] to point out for me where the possibility of low water levels and the impact of this was raised in the documentation. she told me (a) that I should have been aware of this possibility myself; (b) that they have not been informed that the same will be true next year. (I accept that it might not be, but then again, it might be. In fact, if low water levels occur prior to the Danube section, the bus tour element could conceivably be greater than the sailing.) Nowhere in their documentation can I find any reference to the possibility of the tour being impacted by water levels. Had we been aware of this we almost certainly would not have booked. (We don’t do bus tours!) At the very least, it would have been nice to have been in possesion of all material facts before deciding on whether or not to spend our own money. I consider the company’s behaviour to be completely unfair and unreasonable in that they have omitted a material fact from their brochure. I think they are cheating. Have I got any grounds for recovering my deposit from them, for example under the terms of Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations or the newer Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations which I understand defines omissions as a failure on the part of the trader?
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