Real Life

Camp site payment in advance?

Can camp sites ask for payment before you arrive?

We have been camping for 25 years at camp sites throughout the North Island. The last four years we’ve been at the same council-run camp site, where we were asked for a $100 deposit. They now want full payment two to three months before we arrive.

I know some people don’t turn up, but we have told them we’re not paying in full until we arrive as we have paid the deposit in good faith and have never not turned up. Where do we stand legally?

I think camp site management have the legal right to demand full payment on reservation. Most hotels and motels take immediate full payment if you give them your credit card number when you book.

However, you would think a council-run camp site might be more relaxed. Call the camp-site manager, explain you have been a reliable customer and ask if a deposit of, say, 25% would be acceptable.

If they sticks to their guns, call the council and kick up a fuss. If that does no good, then you’re left with that difficult consumer’s choice: Do you refuse to go there on principle? Or do you give in, remembering that old saying about noses and faces?

I share your dislike of this policy, but I have a feeling we had better get used to it. Many campers simply do not turn up to their reserved sites if something better comes along – this is the result.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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