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Croatia holiday apartment - deposit withheld

  • 22-08-2022 1:06pm
    Registered Users Posts: 8

    Hi All,

    My family and I recently stayed in a holiday apartment in Croatia that we booked directly through the owner’s website. At the end of our stay, we left outside of office hours and were instructed by the property manager to lock the door and leave the keys in the letterbox, which we did. For that reason, there was no handover as such. We left the apartment in perfect condition and trusted that the apartment owner would return our cash deposit to us later by bank transfer.

    After leaving, we had no contact from the owner for more than a week so we texted him. He replied saying that he was keeping the deposit because of “extensive damage”. He said he would send an itemised email. After another week passed, we received the email. It’s not actually itemised as in a proper list of repairs that need doing and their cost but instead just vague sentences about “damage” to tiles, walls, broken crockery and so on. It’s entirely fiction.

    Has anyone had a similar experience where they stayed in an apartment in Croatia (or elsewhere in Europe) and the owner kept their deposit without justification. Is there anything that can be done? Has anyone used some kind of small claims court in Croatia? It’s 350 euros so not a small amount of money. Thanks in advance. 


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,704 ✭✭✭Xterminator

    without knowing the terms and conditions, you agreed to it is difficult.

    make sure you have it all written in emails and speak to your credit card company about a chargeback, and provide email evidence.


    • If you paid using credit or debit card, you can contact the card provider and ask them to reverse the transaction. This is known as chargeback. Some other payment methods also provide protection schemes (for example, PayPal buyer protection). The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has more on chargeback.
    • Take a claim against the trader using the small claims procedure. For cross-border disputes within the EU, you can avail of the European small claims procedure.

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,427 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal

    If you saying cash deposit actually means you paid in cash then good luck on this one, I wouldn't hold out too much hope.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭endofrainbow

    wont work - OP paid in cash.

    Too late now but always take a video or pix in your final walk-through before leaving rented accommodation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,242 ✭✭✭brokenangel

    Scam, should not have left without the cash. As person is in a different country they will just ignore you now and keep the cash

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 sickntyred

    OP Here. Thank you all for your comments. Yep, it's a lesson learnt. It was a cash deposit. Thank you very much Xterminator for that info about the European Small Claims procedure. I'll certainly follow it up. I'll post back here with the outcome in case it helps others in the future.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 40,011 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail

    Did you ask them for pictures of this "damage"?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭seagull

    Leave a review for future victims

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭kennethsmyth

    I'd be inclined to let them know you'll be back in Croatia at another house up the road and will be paying a "visit".

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 sickntyred

    Hi ohnonotgmail, I didn’t ask for pictures for a few reasons. 

    The owner’s email was incredibly rude and sarcastic. For example; we didn’t break a single piece of kitchenware. We found one cracked glass in the cupboard when we got there and we left it out on the kitchen worktop so they’d see it after we left and replace it. In his email the landlord said we broke more glasses and plates than any other guest he’s ever had before! When someone is lying that blatantly and directly to you, what can you do? There’s no room for reasonable discussion.

    Another example; the dishwasher leaked during our stay and we reported it. A repair man called and fixed it. He said it must have been like that for some time because there were watermarks/stains under the kitchen units. In other words, the dishwasher had leaked while previous guests where there but they never reported it. We are now being blamed for this “water damage”.  

    In his email the owner said he has “detailed photos” of all the damage but then goes on to say “surely it won’t be necessary” for him to send them to me.  

    I don’t want to ask for pics because it’ll be quite easy for him to send fake/doctored pics or even pics of damage from one of his other apartments or past tenants. What can I do then? I took a few pics of my own just before we left but not the kind of forensic, detailed pics that I think I’ll need to disprove the lies. I don’t want to open the door to disputing each photo he sends me. I think if I let him send me the pics it will somehow lend credibility to the lies. I haven’t replied to his email yet as I’m still looking into legal options and other possibilities. Which leads me on to Seagull’s suggestion…

    Seagull, thanks for the suggestion. This apartment is fairly new and not part of any travel website (like so the only online reviews are on google. There are a grand total of five reviews. And all of them give five stars. I’m not saying they were written by the owner’s friends but… they must have been. The owner has shown himself to be a blatant liar so if I do leave a google review I know he will come out with some outrageous response. Not sure how effective the review will be then. I did have one idea though: say the apartment’s website is (it’s not). If I bought and uploaded my correspondence with the owner on it, do you think that would that be a good idea?

    Thanks kennethsmyth. Not sure I want to put that kind of threat in an email!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭walterking

    Very simply create TripAdvisor page for them and do a review there

    Make it a 3 star review

    Give it the positives and then kill it with the deposit issue

    Keep it short. Keep to the point.

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