In the last few weeks we have heard from a number of returning holidaymakers who have stayed at the Hotel Flamingo Oasis in Benidorm on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
The most concerning aspect of all these complaints centres in on the illnesses complained of and how it apparently affected a large number of hotel guests.
In an age when Consumers are told that to complain or claim is bad and that it will ultimately affect the cost of your travel insurance, we take the view that a holiday is no different from any product that you as a Consumer may buy and that you do have the right to complain and if necessary take further action!
Holidaymakers have told us of:
- How they had seen people getting sick in the main hotel areas;
- That apparently many people had to go to the local hospital for treatment;
- That the swimming pool was closed for testing, and
- The swimming pool was then apparently closed for 3 days;
- Guests were apparently given tickets for a nearby water-park;
- Guests requesting a move from the hotel were apparently being advised that it would cost €700 to move them to another hotel for the remainder of their holiday;
- Holidaymakers allege that when they reported their concerns and illnesses, that no action was taken;
- Holidaymakers were apparently informed that the reason for the illnesses was due to an air-borne ‘bug’ and that it did not come from the pool;
- We have been informed that their sickness included vomiting and diarrhoea;
- An attempt by one holidaymaker to catalogue events was met by the arrival of the local police!
When hearing these complaints, we are reminded of the nature of complaints that were made to us in the late 1990’s; have we really gone ‘Back to the Future’?
For many Consumers, an escape to the sun is meant to present an opportunity to get away from all the stresses of ordinary life.
I have no doubt that the majority of holidaymakers who go away, do so with the intention of enjoying peace and quiet; they do not go away to suffer with problems in a hotel or resort and possibly to suffer illness!
Consumers in that situation expect that any complaint they make to be treated with respect and that action be taken to put right what has gone wrong!
In the event that this does not happen, it is no use those same companies claiming that a ‘compensation culture’ exists as a mask against those complaints; as with any Consumer product, Consumers have a right of redress, particularly in holidays!
If you have suffered a similar experience whilst staying at this hotel, then here is what you should do next:
- Go to see your Dr and ask for a stool sample test, even if you feel you are OK now! That test will determine whether or not you have a confirmed diagnosis and will enable you to access medical treatment quickly – this is the most important thing to do!
- Make sure that you write that letter of complaint to the tour operator. Your contract states that you should do that within 28 days. If you have missed that ‘deadline’, don’t worry, make sure you write that letter today – they should be given the opportunity to put right what has gone wrong!
- If they respond asking for further information, they may ask for access to your medical notes and records. Whilst you should always try to help, remember, access at this moment in time to those records, only gives a snapshot of your current medical condition. Many holidaymakers suffer with relapses or a very small number suffer for quite some time after the holiday. Think before you give access; such access could be used to pressure you to settle your complaint for an amount that may not actually reflect what you should get. The simple advice I would give is to not to refuse access but state that once your prognosis is settled you will give it further consideration;
- If they don’t respond, consider escalating the matter with their professional trade body, such as ABTA or AITO; those organisations should help you to get an answer from their member to your complaint – you can usually find if they are members by looking out for the logos in the brochures or on their website;
- If the Travel Company offers you any money as compensation, take care before you accept! You should always seek independent advice, particularly where children are involved and you should tell them that this is your intention! If they are confident in their offer, they will accept that what you are doing is correct!
Whatever the issues at this or indeed other holiday hotels, the Travel Industry really needs to reflect on the quality they offer to Consumers and deal with that all important feedback – the complaint!
We are helping holidaymakers with their complaints from this hotel, if you would like to receive a similar assistance, our team of advisors will be happy to help you; just give us a call!