A MUM was left stunned after her friend offered her the use of her holiday cottage for free – only to change her mind and charge her £500.
She explained that they made the U-turn because she asked to bring a friend to the cottage, which was initially okay.
Despite her friends saying that was fine, she said a month later she asked them to cover £500 for the week for "electricity and other costs".
The woman explained on Mumsnet: "I have friends (a retired couple) who have several times over the last few years urged me to come and stay with them.
"Earlier this year they invited me to come in September and I said yes and booked a week's leave.
"I have another friend who was due to go away to Greece the same week but cancelled because of potential Covid complications.
"So I contacted my friends and asked how they would feel if my friend came with me.
"I emailed saying that I would be very happy to pay to rent the cottage as I would be bringing a stranger, and that we'd bring our own bedding and linen and leave the place scrupulously clean for the next occupants — basically, wanting to cause them as little work or hassle as possible.
"They emailed back saying they wouldn't take any money, any friend of mine was a friend of theirs."
However, the mum said, after she spent more than £150 on gifts as a thank you, her friends then backtracked.
She continued: "This morning I've had an email from them saying that now they've had time to think about it, they feel that 'we would like to ask you and your friend to contribute £500 for your stay to cover electricity and other costs.
"I know that over the summer it's been let out for up to £1000 a week, so I suppose this is a good deal but I feel really sick and actually quite shaky about it.
"I feel I can't really ask my friend to stump up the cash having told her it was free, so I'll have to foot the bill."
Most people were on her side, saying it was unfair of them to change their minds a month later.
One person wrote: " I don't think it's your fault at all and I actually think £500 for a week is a bit of a p***-take – that's not just going to cover bills, it is going to result in some profit for them so it's definitely a U-turn from their previous approach.
"They shouldn't have offered it for free in the first place if they didn't mean it."
Another person agreed: "Some ‘friends’ eh? Basically greed overcame them at the last minute, they must be so thick-skinned to do this and not feel any embarrassment."
Others said they should head abroad to spend less than that: "Get yourself on lastminute. A week in Tenerife was only around £280 with flights and accommodation this morning."
However, not everyone agreed, with some saying they weren't in the wrong to ask for the money.
One person said: "I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to charge you and your friend to stay and I think it’s kind of them to do it for a reduced rate for friends too."
Another said: "You were being a bit unreasonable to tag another friend they don't know into it when they're offering you a property they do usually rent out."
Someone else added: "It seems after they have thought about it and now realised it's not a friend wanting to come and visit them, but a friend wanting to use their property as a break away.
"They're probably a bit miffed and feel that you aren't going specifically see them."
The original poster later explained that she cancelled the holiday, with her friend being "relieved" as they also had family staying at the same time, due to double booking by accident.
Yesterday, a mum said she was charged a £200 "damage fee" when she checked out of holiday let, after being told she hadn't vacuumed enough.
Earlier this year, a mum of two on holiday in the UK divided opinion after she was given a bad Airbnb rating for using the owner's Netflix account.
And another woman was left stunned by an "inappropriate" Airbnb request – which asked her to water the flowers twice a day.
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