Holiday rental damage dispute

Hi all, looking for advice on below.

My boyfriend and I checked into a lodge with a hot tub on Sunday evening.
We spent 30 minutes in the hot tub but had to leave due to the swarm of midges making it unbearable.

The morning after, we were out on an excursion with no mobile signal. During that time we received a message from the property owners saying they had inspected the hot tub and 'and we are absolutely shocked at the state of it. You have popped it. It is absolutely filthy dirty with staining to the flooring of blue dye. It is covered all over the sides with filth and scum. The lid is filthy dirty. A new filter replaced yesterday is shockingly dirty. We now have to completely empty the remaining water. We ask that you return immediately to take your belongings and vacate the property. Your stay is terminated. You are in breach of our guidelines and are therefore with immediate effect requested to leave.'

We were so shocked to receive such a message as it was only two of us - both in our mid 30s - sitting in a hot tub for 30 minutes causing no damage at all. The property owners also sent two threatening voicemails that they would remove all of our belongings from the property if we did not return immediately.

We returned and inspected the hot tub. There was no water left as they had emptied it whilst we had been away (again very odd to do this without showing us the above accusations as evidence surely?) so I could not see what they were disputing. There was some slight blue stains but that isn't proof that it was caused by us and not someone else as it was on the bottom of the hot tub.
By being asked to leave, we lost out on our second nights stay, £160, and our £150 security deposit. We felt we had no option but to accept as we did not feel comfortable arguing with them as they live on the site.
Today I have two pending amounts on my debit card £850 and £290 which the property owner has taken without any authorisation from me or any prior notice. I booked the accommodation directly so I assume this is how they have my details. I have spoken to RBS who haven't been very helpful and I have to wait for the payment to be withdrawn to start a chargeback. Perhaps I am naive, but I am so shocked a business can remove such large sums of money without any authorisation or intervention from the bank.
I have contacted the property owner asking for below:
  • Evidence of any damage to the hot tub that was caused by us during our stay.
  • Evidence to show that the damage was inspected and that it could not be repaired.
  • Itemised breakdown for the charges that are showing as pending on my account £850 and £290.
  • Evidence of what the £150 deposit has been used for.
Which I have still not received as they are using excuses as to why they cannot send any evidence yet - cleaning and Coronavirus and ordering a new hot tub. I have evidence of the condition we left the hot tub in when we vacated it (around 20:30) so will dispute any evidence they provide to the contrary.
I am guessing my only option is to seek legal advice and to pursue a chargeback from the bank?


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