England

Coronavirus: Caravan owners angry over lack of holiday park refund

Shorefield holiday park
Image caption Shorefield was forced to close its holiday parks due to the coronavirus lockdown

Caravan owners who have been offered credit instead of a refund after their holiday parks closed due to coronavirus say they have been treated unfairly.

Twenty-four people who have static homes at Shorefield Holiday sites told BBC Inside Out they were unhappy with an offer of 50% credit on future fees.

The Competition and Markets Authority said they could be entitled to a refund.

Shorefield said its "goodwill offer" was "one of the best in the industry".

The company, which run seven sites across Dorset and Hampshire, charges an average of £5,300 per year for a pitch.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions it was forced to close its sites in March.

It has given affected caravan owners 50% credit of 14 weeks worth of pitch fees towards future invoices, which is about £750 per owner.

It said 3% of 1,089 owners had asked for more than credit.

Image caption Janis Penn said caravan owners have been treated unfairly by Shorefield

Janis Penn, who owns two caravans, said she "couldn't see what [Shorefield] had done to deserve 50%".

"Everybody was already going through financial and emotional stress and they've just added to it," she said.

Danny Light has been shielding at one of Shorefield's sites, which is allowed under government lockdown rules.

Like others in his position he has paid pitch fees in full but has not been offered the 50% credit. He wants compensation for not being able to use the facilities.

"We don't have any facilities at the park, such as the swimming pool, gymnasium - there's nothing open, not even the laundrette," he said.

Image caption Danny Light said he had no choice but to stay at the park so he could shield from coronavirus

In a statement, Shorefield said it was "amazed" those who had stayed on site believed they were entitled to compensation.

It added only the leisure clubs were included in individual licence agreements and other facilities were "subject to separate arrangements".

"We have made a straightforward and generous goodwill offer which is one of the best in our industry," it added.

The Competition and Markets Authority said consumers could "normally be offered credits" as a result of the pandemic.

However, it added a refund "should still be an option that is just as clearly and easily available".

"To work out if a refund is due, each individual needs to look carefully at the service they are paying for and consider whether that service is still being provided during lockdown," it said.

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