How can I sue/take legal action against hotel for water leak which damaged my goods? Money Claim?

Hi all

I am looking for some advice on the following...I'll try to make it brief but to the point...

My company put me up in a hotel in late July.  Whilst I was out of the hotel one day I left my laptop, electric shaver etc on the table.  Unfortunately, when I arrived back to the hotel at 6pm the room was partly flooded.  The aircon had leaked all over and soaked the floor, bed etc and the table with my laptop etc on it.  So, I went down to reception and told them to come and have a look.  I could actually hear the duty manager telling her colleague "Just tell him to send pictures to us". Lucky for me (or so I thought) I refused this and insisted the manager visit the room to asses the damage now.  The manager refused (saying she was too busy) and after more protestation from me, they eventually relented and sent the desk receptionist to my room.  The receptionist arrived and actually said "It's always happening with these units.  They are ****.  So, I took photos of the damage to my goods and I insisted the receptionist took some too.  They then gave me a new room.  So, fast forward a month and after pestering the hotel they sent me a message asking me to provide proof of the laptop model by taking a photo of the label underneath.  On looking I noticed there was no label but told them from the photos they could see the actual make and model from the photos of the front of the machine.  They then replied and told me this was not enough and that I needed to prove the specs of the machine.  However, I can't prove the specs of the machine because it won't switch on...Because it was water damaged.  I sent them some screenshots from google showing them that this laptop would have been in the range of £500  and £1200 5 years ago and I even offered to accept £300 or asked them to replace the laptop themselves.  The hotel now claims they can't help me because I can't provide a receipt for the laptop from 5 years ago and can't prove the actual specifications...even though the pictures of the laptop show the make and model on the front cover.  I then asked them to check the receptionist's photos but only now have they told me that she has recently left.  
What are my options please?  What would you guys do in this situation?


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  • DE_612183
    DE_612183 Posts: 1,650
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    is the hotel part of a chain or just a one off? - If chain write to the chain regional / national managers office and CEO.

    Failing that I'd get a quote from a repair shop to repair the laptop ( probably more than replace but get that anyway ).
    Send the quote with pictures saying they have 14 days to re-imburse you or you will seek redress via the courts.

    Then after 14 days do a Money Claim On-Line.
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,723
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    Windows button, search for settings. tap into settings. Go to System & about gives the specs of laptop.
    Life in the slow lane
  • Windows button, search for settings. tap into settings. Go to System & about gives the specs of laptop.

    I can't prove the specs of the machine because it won't switch on

               

  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,723
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    Windows button, search for settings. tap into settings. Go to System & about gives the specs of laptop.

    I can't prove the specs of the machine because it won't switch on

               

    Opps...  :*
    Life in the slow lane
  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,537
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    Do your company not know what spec laptop they gave you?
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,700
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    edited 27 September 2023 at 11:53AM
    Hi all

    I am looking for some advice on the following...I'll try to make it brief but to the point...

    My company put me up in a hotel in late July. 


    So you weren't staying there on holiday, you were there to carry out your job at the behest of your employer?

    This is a not a consumer rights issue, it is to do with your contract of employment.
    Ask your HR department how to make a claim. Whether they in turn claim from the hotel with which they (not you) have a contract is up to them.

    Did you need your personal laptop to do the job or had you just taken it to watch movies etc. in the evenings? Your employer might have policies about responsibility for personal items taken to work.
  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 620
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    I may have missed it, but did the OP say the laptop belonged to his employer?

    I know he says that "My company put me up in a hotel..." but there's no indication the laptop had anything to do with his employment.  Perhaps he's an avid gamer and can't bear to be separated from his personal laptop.

    In any case, wouldn't the purpose of the visit be irrelevant?  The cause of action (whether by the OP or his employer) would be based on negligence and not contract.
  • I sent them some screenshots from google showing them that this laptop would have been in the range of £500  and £1200 5 years ago and I even offered to accept £300 or asked them to replace the laptop themselves.  The hotel now claims they can't help me because I can't provide a receipt for the laptop from 5 years ago and can't prove the actual specifications...even though the pictures of the laptop show the make and model on the front cover.  I then asked them to check the receptionist's photos but only now have they told me that she has recently left.  
    What are my options please?  What would you guys do in this situation?
    What information is actually in the photo? How granular is it? 

    From a photo of my laptop you can tell it's a 14" MacBook Pro but that could be a M1 Pro worth £1,599 today (new) or a M2 Max for £6,549. You really need to see if you have any evidence that can narrow it down a lot more. From a photo of the label on the back you get a model number which helps narrow things down and the serial number may be able to get you everything about it (at least as it was made)

    As you are claiming from a third party you are entitled to indemnity, ie give you the amount of cash you'd need to go out and buy the identical computer secondhand (or how much you could have sold it for instantly before the incident). Once you've established what you can evidence it's generally easiest to look at eBay sold values for comparable laptops. I'd be surprised if a laptop that was £500 5 years ago would still be worth £300 today.

    Your alternative is to claim off your home insurance, if you have Personal Possessions cover. The advantage is that its likely to be on a new for old basis rather than indemnity. They will then look to the Hotel if they think there is reasonable prospects of recovery. 
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,973
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    So, fast forward a month and after pestering the hotel they sent me a message asking me to provide proof of the laptop model by taking a photo of the label underneath.  On looking I noticed there was no label but told them from the photos they could see the actual make and model from the photos of the front of the machine.  They then replied and told me this was not enough and that I needed to prove the specs of the machine.  However, I can't prove the specs of the machine because it won't switch on...Because it was water damaged.  I sent them some screenshots from google showing them that this laptop would have been in the range of £500  and £1200 5 years ago and I even offered to accept £300 or asked them to replace the laptop themselves.  The hotel now claims they can't help me because I can't provide a receipt for the laptop from 5 years ago and can't prove the actual specifications...even though the pictures of the laptop show the make and model on the front cover.
    If you've effectively highlighted to them that your laptop could have been anywhere in a wide price range, it's not surprising that they'd be after clarification about where on that scale yours is!

    If not immediately visible, is the label perhaps within a removable battery compartment?  There'd usually be a physical serial number somewhere, which could potentially be correlated with manufacturer records.

    I then asked them to check the receptionist's photos but only now have they told me that she has recently left. 
    How would they help?  If the hotel is asking for proof of purchase value, that would suggest that the dialogue has moved on from demonstrating that there was water damage caused by their faulty air con unit....
  • I agree with eskbanker,  I can see why they're not going to just pay something on your say-so.  Who purchased the laptop, you or your employer?  Someone must have a record of the model.  If it was a business purchase it will presumably be on some sort of asset register and your IT department will know what model was allocated to you.  If you bought it yourself, have you got anything like an instruction manual?  Card statement from that far back?  Otherwise, I suggest you accept that it's the lowest spec for that model and see what it would have cost five years ago.  They owe you the depreciated value, so if it was £500 five years ago, today's value is going to be very low, maybe £50?
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