Fury as 75 percent of caravan owners left without refunds for lost summer months

Caravan owners were left devastated as holiday parks were forced to remain closed in some of the peak summer months due to the coronavirus lockdown. Many pitch owners who have paid yearly fees now say that they have not been offered any form of refund despite not being able to access their holiday homes.

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A new survey by caravan insurance specialist, Ripe Insurance, found that 75 percent of static caravan owners who took part have been offered nothing back from the campsites where their holiday homes reside.

Amongst those who are still paying fees, 52 percent said this makes them feel angry, meanwhile, 59 percent said they believe it’s unfair to pay for something they have no access to.

Marilyn co-owns a static caravan in Youlgreave, the Peak District, with her husband.

The couple pay £1,500 a year in site fees but claim they have not received a refund from their site owner.

“We’re only licensed for eight months of the year and four of those have gone,” she said.

“My husband has only been to our caravan twice since lockdown – all of our plants have died and we’ve not been allowed to stay overnight.

“It’s been a very upsetting ordeal for us and other caravanners we’ve spoken to feel the same.”

Brian Williamson, a static caravan owner from Greater Manchester, added: “I also believe that the site owners should confirm what rate rebates they have received from the Government. These should be passed on to the owners.”

However, she was sympathetic of the caravan park owner who she noted would have also suffered losses as a result of the pandemic.

“Our site owner won’t offer us a refund, but I don’t think it’s his fault,” she continued.

“He’s got to keep himself afloat just like everyone else and the government has done nothing to support him.

“I think the Government should help caravanners out – they seem to have helped everyone else out, so why not us?

“People are having to pay large fees for something they’re not using, and the government has done nothing to support them.”

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Though some big-name holiday parks have begun to offer refunds to customers, it remains a struggle for smaller, family-run parks.

“The likes of Haven and Pontins have been supported, but the smaller caravan sites have been neglected,” Ms Robinson argued.

Despite the lack of access to caravans, site owners say they have provided security and maintenance to all holiday homes in their parks.

Ros Pritchard OBE, director general of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association said: “Services continue to be provided for the consumer’s caravan despite the lockdown. The consumer is using them because they are keeping their caravan on the pitch and benefitting from the essential maintenance services which the park is required to provide.

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“We regret that our customers cannot use their caravan for holidays at the moment, but the park’s obligations are to provide the pitch and services which allow the customer to keep their caravan at the park and parks are continuing to do this…for these reasons, customers are not entitled to receive a refund for services which they continue to receive.

“Some 70 percent of all holiday caravan pitches are on parks owned by micro and SME family businesses.

“The ‘all-or-nothing’ inflexibility of the furlough system doesn’t work for these businesses as it means that either essential skills are lost for three weeks at a stretch, or the business incurs ongoing costs, so hastening their demise.

“Park and caravan owners share the same interest to ensure the survival of the park business. BH&HPA members will do everything possible to work with their customers to achieve this.”

Customers who feel they have not received adequate support are advised to contact their site owner directly.

“The Association has advised members to communicate openly with their customers to retain their goodwill in these unprecedented and difficult times,” added Mr Pritchard.

“Caravan owners should also engage with their park owner as each needs to understand the challenges faced by the other.”

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