Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Raw Deal: A dirty trick as a filthy cottage leaves friends high and dry in Orkney

© ShutterstockStunning coastline of South Ronaldsay,  where Maria Warcholak booked a holiday let
Stunning coastline of South Ronaldsay, where Maria Warcholak booked a holiday let

Marcia Warcholak was shocked when a holiday cottage on Orkney that she and a friend had booked for a quiet week away turned out to be a far cry from the idyllic home from home they were expecting.

Warcholak, from Lower Largo, Fife, paid £600 for the break via Holiday Lettings and its partner Tripadvisor.

But when she and her friend Pamela Macleod turned up for their stay last month at a cottage in South Ronaldsay, she said the property was “like a tip”.

“On arrival we found the cottage to be in a filthy state,” said Warcholak.

“All but one room looked as though it had been recently vacated, with soiled underpants, socks and face masks in the living room.

“The place was like a tip. It was such a shame because it is in a beautiful location, right on the water’s edge.”

The two pals felt they couldn’t remain at the property. They contacted the accommodation’s owner, who offered to pay the cost if they could find somewhere else to stay nearby.

“However, there was no last-minute accommodation to be found in Orkney at that time of year and the hotel was catering for a wedding and was fully booked,” Warcholak explained. “We refused to stay in the cottage because the place looked like it needed an industrial deep clean.”

Maria Warcholak

Eventually a shopkeeper managed to find the women accommodation in a caravan at an additional cost of £350.

“There had been a last-minute cancellation, or we would have been stuck for somewhere else to stay,” said Warcholak.

She added that further attempts to contact the owner for a refund were unsuccessful. “She simply said that the responsibility for this lay with Tripadvisor,” said Warcholak.

“But Tripadvisor said that because we did not contact them within 24 hours there was little they could do and that they had already paid on the rental money to the owner, who lives in England. But we had limited phone signal and wifi so it was difficult to contact anyone at the time.

“They also pointed to the small print of their policy stating that the contract is between client and the property owner and they are merely the agent.”

Feeling like they were going around in circles, the holidaymakers wrote to Raw Deal for help.

After we contacted the booking agency, the women soon had their £600 back and an apology.

Holiday Lettings said: “We tried to make contact with the property advertiser in order to try to help the parties resolve this dispute on a number of occasions without success, due to phone reception issues. We have however since managed to speak with the advertiser who expressed concern for the guest and apologised for their experience.

“The advertiser explained that the house hadn’t been fully cleaned due to the housekeeper having a family emergency and having to leave the property in the middle of it. Following our communication with the advertiser, they have approved a full refund, which we have now processed. As a goodwill gesture, Holiday Lettings has also refunded our booking fee.

“Holiday Lettings wants its customers to have great travel experiences and we’re sorry this wasn’t the case for Ms. Warcholak on this occasion.”