PHOTO: Walker says the loss of $1400 is a “massive blow” for the family. Photo credit: Bookabach

A Christchurch man is pursuing legal action against his Bookabach host following the cancellation of his family’s holiday, amid a deluge of complaints from Kiwis refused refunds or even the opportunity to rebook despite the COVID-19 lockdown.

Issues were raised after the Government’s alert level change on August 17, when people started trying to get their money back for trips they could no longer go on, only to discover their hosts had decided to keep the cash.


Auckland women ‘ripped off’ by Bookabach host

Among those who feel they’ve been ripped off is Mike Walker, who says his attempts to negotiate a fairer deal with an Auckland host over his family’s cancelled stay have been a “bloody nightmare”.

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Walker, his wife and their four kids had planned to travel up from Christchurch to visit friends who had just had a baby. They booked three nights for him at a Muriwai bach for $1400 – but after the lockdown announcement, it all turned to custard.

“We said, ‘Look, obviously we can’t come and stay because you’re in level 4 and we’re in level 4 and we can’t travel’. And he said, ‘Well, I’m not rebooking, thank you though’,” Walker explained.

“My wife came back and said, ‘What do you mean, are you going to refund us?’ and he just said, ‘I will not be rebooking and I will not be refunding any money’. After a couple more emails where he told us to consult our travel insurance and all of those kinds of things, he’s just stopped responding altogether.

“We never expected a refund. All we really wanted was to rebook at another date, which he’s flat-out refused to do.”

Walker says the loss of $1400 is a “massive blow” for the family, who have just welcomed a new baby of their own into the family, run a small business and are trying to save to build a house.

The group of young women say they felt "ripped off" by the host.

The group of young women say they felt “ripped off” by the host.