It's the silly season for 'holiday complaints' and we are being treated to the 'wacky' side of Consumer behaviour! Within hours of the publication of these 'complaints', news outlets were falling over themselves to give the reading public a good laugh. However, when you read the said complaints, they reveal more perhaps about the service and common sense of companies and the personal problems that some Consumers have. There is a moral question here; should we be laughing at Consumers who suffer a lack of travel savvy - does it not suggest that they may be suffering with personal problems? I have a theory that whilst these kind of stories may 'lighten the day', they also serve to underline the message that complaining is 'silly'; that you are being 'ridiculous'.
So to rebalance the flurry of holiday complaints, let me share with you 20 of our 'appalling' complaints for the 2013 season so far, and not one of these complaints has arisen due to the fault of the Consumer:
- Failure to book a holiday, despite the money being taken by the travel agent;
- Changes to holiday hotels at the last minute and expecting Consumers to pay more money for changes - failing to offer them their Consumer rights;
- Failure by tour operator to deal with 'sick history' hotel;
- Holidaymakers being assured that 'sick' hotel is safe to go to and then discovering that it is not safe on arrival;
- Numerous flight passengers now being denied their right to compensation for flight delays by the use of the 'extraordinary circumstances' defence;
- Bad smells from hotel bathrooms and being advised by holidaymakers to put plugs back in sinks and baths to prevent smells escaping;
- Loose stool smells coming from bathroom areas in hotel;
- Holidaymakers not receiving the all-inclusive service they paid for;
- Smells from hotel toilets escaping into hotel dining room;
- Water being served in bottles by hotel staff with broken seals;
- Holidaymakers afraid to leave hotel complex in Tunisia as they reported gangs wandering the area;
- Cats urinating next to hotel swimming pool;
- Furniture and food floating in hotel's swimming pool;
- Reports of poorly run excursions with one holidaymaker suffering injury;
- Holidaymakers being told that their illness is not the fault of the hotel and that it has been brought in by holidaymakers;
- Consumers reporting that they have been told that they are suffering from 'Norovirus' despite no tests being carried out;
- Holidaymakers hospitalised upon their return to the UK as a result of the severity of their holiday illness;
- Poorly cooked or cold food presented on hotel or cruise buffets;
- Consumer's cruise cancelled after 2 days because crew 'failed' the lifeboat drill;
- Holidaymakers thrown off river boat cruise because they complained that there was no vegetarian food available and that they were ill!
So this is the reality of holiday complaints and there is nothing silly or ridiculous in any of these at all. There is only shame; the shame of the companies who peddle this 'quality' and through 'managing client expectations', snuff the desire of Consumers to make a fuss! It will be interesting to see if the media will publish this list of shame as quickly as those mentioned at the beginning of this article!