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Possible 'Swine flu' and guests


Thebiga

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We find ourselves in a position that someone coming to stay in a weeks time has just informed us that one of the two people in the party has gone down with Swine Flu and that they think they are next. They want to know where they stand with the booking? The way they seem to be talking is that they did not take out any travel insurance and seem to be wanting money back.

How do any of you think we stand. For us and the rest of our guests with small children etc it would not be good etc.

Are they entitled to money back or are our terms and conditions that we set out stating that they have understood and read them going to cover us.

What would someone else with a gite complex do as I know plenty of you have gites.

Thankyou 

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If they are flying into France then a number of the airports are doing spot checks for passengers that have a fever and are refusing them admission.  Tbh if they were stupid enough not to take out travel insurance that is their problem - why should you pick up the cost of their bad planning / cost cutting?  I certainly wouldn't put any of your other guests at risk - they could see you as responsible for their illness having had full knowledge of the illness but still allowing them to stay with you...

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Hi Scooby, Thats exactly how we feel about the situation and we don't want to put other guests or ourselves at any risk. They have no travel insurance but expect to get money back or the one who is ok at the moment is thinking of coming anyway! It puts us in a awkward position as we don't want to be the one to cancel the booking and then have to refund the money to them.

We did tell them that according to the French authorities that any one with swine flu or suspected of having can be quarantined on entry to France. So we have asked that we have a doctors letter stating that they do not have swine flu and that they are ok to travel and be on a complex of other families also have something in writing from the french consulate saying that they are ok to enter france when they have possible swine flu.

This all sounds way over the top maybe to some but we have to keep other families here with young children and us safe from the possibilities of catching something that could do damage especially that we know about it.

How do you stand french wise if someone wants a refund 7 days before there holiday? What is the law regarding this, Anyone?

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[quote user="Thebiga"]How do you stand french wise if someone wants a refund 7 days before there holiday? What is the law regarding this, Anyone?[/quote]

It will depend on the wording of your contract.

Does is say arrhes or acompte? If neither is specifically mentioned, the deposit is considered as arrhes.

See HERE (translation)

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Do you NEED the booking and the money?

If the illness is confirmed, I would tell them not to come, and give a refund. (although I would try to negotiate keeping the deposit, I would be prepared to refund the lot just to get shot of them) as I dont see the profit as being worth the risk of infecting yourselves or other guests, and as mentoned above, if others get infected and it came to light that you allowed these folk to come knowing they were contagious, you could find yourself in a spot of bother.

On the other hand - it could just be an elaborate scheme to get out of their booking as they have changed their minds about the holiday. I have had a couple of cancellations this season with the financial climate being given as the excuse. They have lost their deposits.

Ask for a doctors report to be faxed. If they are clear or no report is forthcoming, tell them they either go through with the trip or loose the deposit. If the illness is confirmed or the period of their stay is within the incubation period after being in contact with someone infected, tell them not to come and depending on your contract, their attitude and your negotiations, see what will happen with the deposit.

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Firstly as a business and in this business, Yes we need the money.

They are supposed to come in 7 days. they paid up fully 7 weeks ago and we had the deposit months ago. Are terms and conditions state that if someone cancels then we will re-advertise the time they booked and if we can they can have a refund of 75% as the 25% is signed for as non refundable. It also states that we recommend that travel insurance is purchased to cover the holiday and themselves. They did not get any insurance. This was not even booked at full price as we had to discount heavily this year to get all the bookings we could.

We have tried to be as sympathetic as possible on this and have offered to re-advertise but they want to keep the week and see if they can get the documentation we have asked for. What we have asked for is a letter from a doctor saying that they do not have swine flu and that they are perfectly clear to come onto a comlex with a lot of families with small children etc. Also we have asked that we have documentation from the French consulate that states that they are ok to enter france with possible swine flu.

We are trying to cover ourselves and our other guests from this. Can you imagine it breaking out with twenty odd people on a complex and the whole place being qurantined! It doesn't really appeal to myself and I for one would not go anywhere near them as the only people that seem to have died from this flu are ones with underlying health problems and I do come into that category having an auto-immune desease. 

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Frankly, with one confirmed case, and the rest coming in 7 days, and with the disease having a 7 day incubation period, I would seriously consider just turning them away. Ok they dont want to loose their holiday, but they themselves should be aware that travel should be the last thing on their minds if a member of their group has been confirmed as ill.

My father had swine flu last month. My sister was booked to come and visit just after he was diagnosed. I made it clear that if she travelled anyway, having been in contact with him for the few days before departing, she would be staying in a hotel somewhere else. It caused grief at the time, but a few days later when she came down with it, she realised that travelling whilst carrying the infection would have been idiotic, and would have needlessly exposed myself, and God-knows how many others here and on the plane.

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Just a thought, who says they have swine flu or will get it? Maybe it's an excuse & they want to just cancel their holiday & get the money back. You aren't a charity, you're a business. Kindness of your heart give a proportion back maybe, but it's up to them to have taken out insurance & claim it back that way surely.

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I feel in one way that yes we are a business and who does say they have anything wrong with them apart from them. But if one has got it and the other will probably get it is the incubation period as if the healthy one showing no symptoms may well come and it comes out when they are here. It is a worry but I do feel that yes they should have taken out insurance, But I do feel that I do not want anyone here with the chance of carrying swine flu.

Do we say poor you and give all the money back and leave us out of pocket? I really don't know. I think we will see if they come up with the documentation we have asked for but i have a feeling they will not get what we have asked for but will wait and see.

Why should we be the ones out of pocket because they decided to save money and not get insurance to cover for such things. Of course if it comes down to it at the end of the week and we do not have the documentation then we will say that by not giving us these they have in theory cancelled the holiday, Or we turn round and say we just cannot afford to take the chance of either one being here and will then have to give a full refund. Stuck between a rock and a hard place springs to mind. 

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Would it be possible to offer them another week when the incubation period has passed so they still get their holiday and you still get the money? or maybe offer them voucher for another holiday later and you keep the deposit money so they don't feel hard done by but you're not out of pocket
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[quote user="dave21478"]Frankly, with one confirmed case, and the rest coming in 7 days, and with the disease having a 7 day incubation period, I would seriously consider just turning them away.
[/quote]

Dave.

The incubation period, if indeed there is one, is at present unknown.

I went down with it during a recent trip to the UK, I had gone there to prepare my place and welcome some French friends, they for their  part were going to cancel at the very last minute (as I was going thru the port security screening!) as the french media were making hay about how bad it was in England.

They were booked into a colony de vacance in the Ardeche after leaving me which was fully paid for and they didnt have cancellation insurance, anyway they came but shortened their stay, we were all very carefull although the disinfecting etc was quite foreign to me and tried to limited the exposure especially with the children but without them avoiding oter kids (which was the purpose of the visit).

Anyway 12 hours after they left I went down with it, I had visited some pretty third world places that day in my search for second hand tyres and a battery, being sneezed on and coughed at by "innits" but I was worried that I mat have been incubating it and contagious whilst they stayed with me (I didnt dare phone them!).

A good friend who works for the European Medical Agency informed me that the incubation period was unknown, as luck would have it none of my friends caught it, I cant be sure but I reckon I caught it on the Monday and started suffering later that night, I am usually pretty robust and dont go down with things unless they are pretty serious, I dont rate the swine flu as being particularly bad in the suffering department, perhaps marginally worse than the normal  flu and it hangs around a bit longer.

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The exact period is unknown, but it is generaly regarded as being up to 7 days, with 2 - 5 days being the most common period found.

My father actually manufactures Tamiflu for GSK, and the company doctors told him to avoid taking the drug at all costs, unless the symptoms were very severe indeed and there was no other option. You can draw your own conclusions from that![blink]

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So looks like I probably caught it in France before leaving then!

I didnt take tamiflu or anything else, there were big signs plastered all over my Doctors surgery (UK) to repel anyone with even a sniffle, I phoned the NHS hotline/call centre and got so frustrated with the dim witted girl on the other end of the phone after she was incapable understanding my street name (a very common word most 7 year olds could spell) even when I spelt it to her 3 times that I hung up in the end. It was a bit out of character for me but I wasnt rather under the weather. I am glad to heare that I am better off not having taken tamiflu.

I did wonder where they found all these medically qualified (not) staff to run the call centre at such short notice, I reckon that they must have threatened to cut off their benefits unless they started work there, perhaps I am being unkind and she was a recent graduate [6]

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I reckon it is all a storm in a teacup.  My niece in London supposedly had swine flu.  She was off colour for a couple of days!  If I was off colour for a couple of days I wouldn't give it much thought beyond taking an asprin or two and having a day off.  Presumably there are millions of unpanicky people like me in the world, so potentially any of my recent guests who have had a snivel or two could have had swine flu without knowing.  Repelling those who know they have it ( diagnosed medically - as opposed to those who say they have it) might be sensible, but realistically any of our guests could be incubating it/have had it recently/actually have it and would we be any the wiser.

The original poster's clients sound as though they may just be wishing to cancel for reasons best known to themselves and do not have insurance.  Without confirmed medical diagnosis I think they either come on holiday or lose their deposit.

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Cerise, as you know, I am a great respecter of your commonsense and your posts are always practical and to the point.

However, I cannot let you get away with saying that swine flu equates to a day or two being off-colour!

I wasn't diagnosed as having swine flu, the medecin just said I had an infection.  But I WAS in Megève at about the time that 34 cases were reported there.  And I can assure you it was a lot more than being off -colour for a couple of days.

But, I AM asthmatic so that might have exaggerated the effects.  Believe me, that was back around the end of June and my appetite is still far from normal.  Not complaining though as I have lost more than half a stone through being unable to eat properly.[:D]

I don't know how these people could "prove" they have swine flu; as far as I know, there isn't a definitive test to show one way or the other.

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Tamiflu is made by Roche, Relenza is made by GSK. No one should take any medication unless it is needed, if you don't have swine 'flu or if you have had swine 'flu for a couple of days - there is no point taking the drug because it works by stopping the virus replicating - which really only happens to any great extent at the start of the disease.

If the drugs are taken then - they do slow down & diminish the effect of the flu, if they are taken too late they do not have much if any impact and all drugs have side effects.

from clinical trials one of the "worst" drugs for side effects would be "placebo" because in double blind trials all adverse or unexpected events get reported in great detail and if half the patients are on a sugar pill then their adverse events get recorded against the placebo.

The drugs companies that make vaccines are in full production for the swine flu vaccine which will be available within the next 2 months - and that will be the best route for anyone in a high risk category. For the rest of us - if we catch it it for most people it is a short self liiting condition.

On the Gite issue -if you are family friednly gite and may have pregant women or older people staying there, I would certainly not court trouble by knowingly taking people with swine 'flu as they would be the ones most at risk if they passed it one. Let them claim on their insurance,  & if they haven't taken any - that's their issue, you don't need to refund them anything per your T&T.

 

All the best

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sweet17 - no it doesn't equate to that for everyone, but it does for quite a lot of people.  However, whether you are very ill, or hardly ill at all, you are still equally infectious.  My point is that any 'hardly ill' person could have the swine flu and we wouldn't know.  Niece, as I say, was barely ill at all and only supposedly 'knew' she had it as others at her workplace had been diagnosed. 
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Ah but here is the rub!

You phone the swine flu freephone number in the UK, you are asked a series of questions by (in my case) Miss dim-wit, after hearing her read a text telling you that you could be in trouble if you are telling porkies (like the Sky news journalist), you go on to answer the questions non commitally "well yes I suppose I could have a temperature" "yes I do feel a little sick" etc, etc.

Et ben voila! At the end of this "consultation" you will get a free prescription for Tamiflu (which I believe is delivered to you to prevent you from infecting others) and a weeks sick note for your employer, all without getting off of your couch.

If they do anything like the same thing here in France come the rentrée then I can easily see the predicted 70% absenteeism from the workplace.

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When my son's two friends had it they were diagnosed by swab tests.  They were both very ill with very high temperatures and projectile vomiting. I think the problem is that, as the numbers affected have increased, there has become little point in tracking numbers developing the condition so the testing has stopped.  I know a number of people who have said they have had swine flu (untested) for whom the symptoms seem nowhere as near as severe as those whose illness was properly diagnosed (i.e. formal testing at the path lab).

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Our problems really are as follows:

1. We know that one of the party of two has swine flu and the other thinks that they will probably get it aswell.

2. The one that thinks that they are next still wants to come, At the moment.

3. We have families here and a lot of children including our own.

4. I don't really want to go anywhere near someone that I know could have swine flu as I have a auto immune desease.

5. I think really they were after money back and thought that we would just hand it over.

6. They did not take out travel insurance otherwise I don't think they would be worrying about getting a refund.

7. We cannot really afford to just cave in and say here's your money back as its not our problem they did not take out recommended insurance.

8. Do we as someone else said maybe offer them a holiday at another time and they can just move the ferry booking.

9. The real crunch is at the moment one is still willing to come, Of course unless they go down with it this week.

10. Knowing all this we really do not want them here for our guests and us but we don't want to be the ones to cancel the booking as then we are the ones out of pocket.

11. We have asked to be e-mailed a copy of a doctors letter stating that they are fit to travel to a complex with a large number of families and they do not have swine flu and also a letter from the french consulate stating that they are happy to allow a person with possible swine flu to enter the country. Yes I know this sounds a bit harsh really but we are just covering ourselves as much as possible.

12. I don't think they will get the required paperwork we have asked for and they know we will not allow them here without it.

13. Would they really want to go down with swine flu all alone in france! Perhaps we will see.

Thanks for all your input guys if you can add anything else which may help the situation then type away. Cheers. 

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[quote user="Thebiga"]

Our problems really are as follows:

9. The real crunch is at the moment one is still willing to come, Of course unless they go down with it this week.

[/quote]

You really believe that this person would/will come out here alone?

[quote user="Thebiga"]

13. Would they really want to go down with swine flu all alone in france! Perhaps we will see.

[/quote]

I'm doubtful! [;-)]

Sue

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[quote user="Thebiga"]

Our problems really are as follows:

1. We know that one of the party of two has swine flu and the other thinks that they will probably get it aswell.

2. The one that thinks that they are next still wants to come, At the moment.

3. We have families here and a lot of children including our own.

Well I think this is a very good reason for suggesting they don't come.

4. I don't really want to go anywhere near someone that I know could have swine flu as I have a auto immune desease.

Another good reason.

5. I think really they were after money back and thought that we would just hand it over.

Quite likely

6. They did not take out travel insurance otherwise I don't think they would be worrying about getting a refund.

A lesson for everyone here. BTW on your booking form, do you recommend that clients should take out travel insurance?

7. We cannot really afford to just cave in and say here's your money back as its not our problem they did not take out recommended insurance.

8. Do we as someone else said maybe offer them a holiday at another time and they can just move the ferry booking.

This might be the best solution. Just say in this instance you are unable to refund their payment but you would be willing to offer them the holiday at a different time. Also mention your points 3 and 4 plus the fact that there could be a risk  for people staying in the other gites especially anyone who is pregnant. You have to consider the welfare of your other clients etc.

9. The real crunch is at the moment one is still willing to come, Of course unless they go down with it this week.

10. Knowing all this we really do not want them here for our guests and us but we don't want to be the ones to cancel the booking as then we are the ones out of pocket.

11. We have asked to be e-mailed a copy of a doctors letter stating that they are fit to travel to a complex with a large number of families and they do not have swine flu and also a letter from the french consulate stating that they are happy to allow a person with possible swine flu to enter the country. Yes I know this sounds a bit harsh really but we are just covering ourselves as much as possible.

12. I don't think they will get the required paperwork we have asked for and they know we will not allow them here without it.

13. Would they really want to go down with swine flu all alone in france! Perhaps we will see.

Thanks for all your input guys if you can add anything else which may help the situation then type away. Cheers. 

[/quote]

Bonne chance et bon courage.

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[quote user="Thebiga"]

Our problems really are as follows:

1. We know that one of the party of two has swine flu and the other thinks that they will probably get it aswell.

Do they know it, or do they think thats what they have ?

2. The one that thinks that they are next still wants to come, At the moment.

I doubt this would actually happen

3. We have families here and a lot of children including our own.

4. I don't really want to go anywhere near someone that I know could have swine flu as I have a auto immune desease.

Neither of these things is actually the clients problem although your feeling are entirely understandable, perhaps you could take the moral high ground ?

5. I think really they were after money back and thought that we would just hand it over.

6. They did not take out travel insurance otherwise I don't think they would be worrying about getting a refund. That's not your problem

7. We cannot really afford to just cave in and say here's your money back as its not our problem they did not take out recommended insurance. Quite

8. Do we as someone else said maybe offer them a holiday at another time and they can just move the ferry booking. Good plan

9. The real crunch is at the moment one is still willing to come, Of course unless they go down with it this week. Shall we put money on it ?

Why not explain that should the one fall ill sadly you would be unable to assist due to the auto immune condition and children

10. Knowing all this we really do not want them here for our guests and us but we don't want to be the ones to cancel the booking as then we are the ones out of pocket.

11. We have asked to be e-mailed a copy of a doctors letter stating that they are fit to travel to a complex with a large number of families and they do not have swine flu and also a letter from the french consulate stating that they are happy to allow a person with possible swine flu to enter the country. Yes I know this sounds a bit harsh really but we are just covering ourselves as much as possible.

Frankly if I were the client I'd tell you to take a hike, it is unreasonable to ask for more than an insurance company surely ? ( who in my experience will be satisfied with a doctors letter )

12. I don't think they will get the required paperwork we have asked for and they know we will not allow them here without it.

13. Would they really want to go down with swine flu all alone in france! Perhaps we will see.

Thanks for all your input guys if you can add anything else which may help the situation then type away. Cheers. 

[/quote]

 I think at this stageI'd be writing them a letter saying  something along the lines of :

' I'm sure you will agree that it would be morally wrong  to purposely  jeapordise the health of fellow guests who will include young children and pregnant women, we are happy to offer you an alternative date but in the circumstances cannot offer a refund.' You may be able to  claim on your travel insurance (unless they have already told you they don't have it)

 

 

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