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Poor Holiday Accommodation: I Took Travel Company to Court

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 23 Apr 2010 |
 
Holiday Accommodation Hotel Complaint

Whether you book a holiday yourself or through a tour operator, you need to stand up for your consumer rights if something goes wrong, as shown by this case study.

Accommodation Nightmare

The Smiths set off on their two-week holiday to Turkey blissfully unaware of the problems they would face. After a flight delay of 24 hours they finally arrived at their accommodation ready for a well-deserved break.But all was not as they were expecting. They arrived to find that the rooms were shabby, unclean, with no lighting or furniture. The beds were soiled from the last customers and bare wires were seen in the bathroom.

Outside of the hotel room, the pool water was yellow and the area was generally filthy with soiled sun loungers and rubbish and broken glass strewn over the pool area.The Smiths went to speak to the manager of the hotel who assured them that this was a mistake and he would move them to another room. After paying a visit, two other rooms were exactly the same except for a wardrobe facility and a small colour television, which the manager thought would please them.

Travel Company Representative No Help

Clearly unhappy with their holiday package, the Smiths rang the travel company’s representative and made their complaints known. She assured them that she would move them to another facility but said they would have to wait until morning before they could be moved. She organised a move to a hotel in a different village nearby, which seemed reasonable to the Smiths. That was until the representative informed them that it was a lower star-rated hotel and they would have to pay an extra £272 per person per week. The Smith’s knew their rights and said they were completely unhappy with the service and would not be paying more money to stay in a lower-star hotel because the company have provided inadequate accommodation. She said that nothing else could be done and that they had no option but to pay.

The Smiths decided to find alternative accommodation for the night so they could rest and then approach the representative again in the morning. They found a suitable room for the night further down the road and then received a phone call from the representative. She informed the Smiths that because they have left the hotel, they would not receive any further assistance from the company and their return transfers and flights would be cancelled.

Return Home

The Smith’s fortunately managed to liaise with another representative and was able to use the return transfer and flights. They also kept a log of all dealings with the hotel and representatives.Upon returning home, the Smiths wrote to the travel company to detail their complaints and ask for a refund of the money for the accommodation. After two years of trying to negotiate with the company, they only offered an insulting payment of £20 each, as a token gesture as they said that the Smith’s should have expected such accommodation from a low-cost last-minute holiday.

Court Success

The Smiths took the company to court and received some compensation for the second accommodation, expenses and distress. The representative was removed from the company. The log and chronology of events that the Smith’s had created proved excellent evidence in winning the case.

Points to Remember

It is useful to remember to log down everything including names, dates, places and contact details as well as the events that occur. Photographs should always be taken of problems where possible to prove your complaints. It is also useful to note that after a telephone call complaint, you should follow it up in writing so the company has it on file. Letters of complaint should be sent recorded delivery so that you can prove that correspondence was sent just in case.

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