WIDOWER Eric Clifton has been left nearly £700 out of pocket after his wife died and a hotel refused to refund the deposit for their golden wedding anniversary celebrations.
The devoted 78-year-old, and his wife Joyce, 72, had invited friends and family to Lysses House Hotel, in Fareham, for the big day.
The couple, of Swanmore, had forked out £160 for a deposit and then another £535 but, sadly, Joyce died after going through chemotherapy for bone and breast cancer.
‘We phoned Lysses and they said “that’s a deposit, that’s non-returnable, we did tell you that”,’ said Mr Clifton. ‘But the second payment surely wasn’t, but they said “it was all deposit, you’ve lost that”.
‘I’m pretty cross. My wife and I had been to Lysses for several occasions for meals, family meals and for functions with the Swanmore Society.
‘I am not ever going to have any more dealings with Lysses House, I’m telling all my friends.’
Joyce died eight weeks before the event on July 29 and Mr Clifton cancelled soon afterwards.
Hotel owner Colin Mercer said the cash cannot be refunded and Mr Clifton had been advised to take out insurance.
Mr Clifton, an Army veteran, refuses to deal with the hotel, which is housed in a building he used to work in for defence firm Vosper Thornycroft.
He added: ‘I worked in what is now the Richmond restaurant, which is where we booked. I’m quite bitter about that.’
Mr Clifton had made the first payment of £160 in November 2012 and the second one of £535 in May last year.
Owner Mr Mercer said there was a 10 per cent deposit due when the booking was made, then 40 per cent 12 weeks before the event, and the remainder six weeks before the day.
He said: ‘We were very upset that Mrs Clifton died.
‘It’s standard practice in the whole of the hotel business.
‘We’ve committed the money — we’ve allocated resources, everything else.
‘We have a wedding booking and sometimes the couple break up. Frankly, it’s not our fault.
‘We also put in our contract we advise them to take event insurance.
‘These things happen, fortunately very rare, but we have a policy we stand by.
‘They were booking the entire downstairs facility.
‘If we manage to re-let, which we weren’t able to, then we refund.’
Mr Mercer added he was upset as Mr Clifton and his family had left negative reviews on the Trip Advisor website about the hotel.