Make sure you get what you paid for

It’s important that you know your rights when you travel, just in case something goes wrong. The same applies if you’ve been mis-sold your holiday – just as the following consumer was:

The holiday offered everything we wanted for my two year old grandson. The sales man even said over the phone after I had paid for it, that we were lucky because the hotel had been upgraded to a 4 star and now offered us the use of a gym, tennis courts and squash court.

When we arrived it was nothing like the hotel in the brochure, it was run down, dangerous for toddlers, it had none of the amenities offered in that information, no children’s' clubs, no TV, no WiFi, no indoor pool, table tennis, snooker, no large TV screens, no children’s' entertainment, even the swimming pools were cordoned off most of the time as was the children’s playground, because they decided to paint it with gloss whilst we were there.

This can be a nightmare when you’ve been working hard to save up for your holiday in the first place, only to find out you’ve paid for one thing and you’re getting something else that isn’t fit for purpose. Unfortunately the complaint went on:

Our bathroom floor was flooded every day, whilst complaining to the Manager, I had to advise him I was getting wet because of the leak in the roof. The bar roof leaked, there were many health and safety issues. The Manager informed me that the hotel never claimed to have the amenities I mentioned and I would have to take it up with the company I bought the holiday through on my return to England.

In this case, we would always refer to the Package Travel Regulations, in particular Regulations 12, 13 and 14. Regulation 12 states:

“where the organiser is constrained before the departure to alter significantly an essential term of the contract… he will notify the consumer as quickly as possible in order to enable him to take appropriate decisions and in particular to withdraw from the contract without penalty or to accept a rider to the contract specifying the alterations made and their impact on the price”

If the travel agent knew that the hotel wasn’t up to standard, this regulation shows that they should have contacted the customer to allow them to make a decision on their holiday.

Regulation 13 then defines the consumer’s rights to either accept a full refund, or a better holiday at no extra cost, or a cheaper holiday with a partial refund.

Regulation 14 in particular is applicable in this case:

“The terms set out in paragraphs and below are implied in every contract and apply where, after departure, a significant proportion of the services contracted for is not provided or the organiser becomes aware that he will be unable to procure a significant proportion of the services to be provided.

“The organiser will make suitable alternative arrangements, at no extra cost to the consumer, for the continuation of the package and will, where appropriate, compensate the consumer for the difference between the services to be supplied under the contract and those supplied.

“If it is impossible to make arrangements as described, or these are not accepted by the consumer for good reasons, the organiser will, where appropriate, provide the consumer with equivalent transport back to the place of departure or to another place to which the consumer has agreed and will, where appropriate, compensate the consumer.”

Yet despite the consumer getting in touch with the agent while on holiday, they were slow to act and have only offered minimal compensation after the holiday:

The agent has made us numerous offers of compensation starting from £70.00, £100.00, £150.00, £200.00 and last offer £275.00 and informed us they were closing the complaint. I told them I wanted a full refund on the flights, transfers, holiday insurance and accommodation. They said I wasn't entitled to it because I used the flights and transfer. My argument is, I would not have flown, had they told me the truth about the accommodation.

I have found the whole experience very stressful, my daughter was in tears, just wanting to come home and my grandson was bored rigid. We had to spend money unnecessarily just to keep him entertained and then I had my purse stolen, so we had no money.

The holiday we saw and booked was a pack of lies, it was a week of stress and misery. The company has been sent lots of photographic evidence, but no one from that company has even mentioned the health and safety issues or even said they would look into it. It is false representation, they are selling false information to get people into hotels and I feel trading standards should be aware of this.

We’re helping this consumer with their complaint, but it’s important that when you travel you make sure you get what you paid for – and don’t let it slide if that’s not the case! Speak to your travel agent as soon as you can, whilst you’re on holiday, and if they don’t act then keep a record of all correspondence and pick up the complaint when you get home. Know your rights and don’t let the travel agent fob you off with minimal compensation.