20 Appalling Holiday Complaints and Problems - The 2010 Season!

Last year we highlighted 20 of the most appalling holiday complaints for the 2009 holiday season!  This year we again repeat the process at the start of the current 2010 holiday season, to highlight the wide range of problems that holidaymakers face!  This year we have seen the following holiday complaints come through on our e mails alone; building work, exposure to building dust causing respiratory problems, numerous so-called norovirus complaints, missing hotel facilities, slipping on wet unsignposted hotel floors, incorrect visa information supplied by travel agents, repeat hotel illnesses, poor and inedible hotel food, E-Coli, inadequate travel insurance cover, failure to provide significant change rights, DIY holiday complaints, poor beach conditions, leaking sewage, holiday price changes, unsafe ship conditions, cockroaches and dust in holiday accommodation, poor information on luggage allowances, denial by tour companies of mass outbreaks of illness, unannounced flight departure changes, illnesses following room pesticide use, insistence on tour companies in sending holidaymakers to destinations following adverse weather events, hotel not open on arrival, misrepresentation of hotel accommodation in holiday brochures, failure of all-inclusive facilities, booking problems, problems with terms and conditions, airline collapse financial complaints, grey bed linen, cracked bathroom tiles, leaking ceilings, no hot water in hotel rooms, no holiday bookings made, overbooking, false teeth and corn plasters found under bed, mass holiday hotel illness, vomitting and blood passing following hotel illness, Salmonella, Hot air balloon excursion accident, Volcano/Ash Travel Crisis complaints and Shigella!  Here is a selection of 20 appalling holiday complaints and problems (we have ommitted the names of tour companies etc and left the complaints made in the holidaymakers own words):

  1. Stayed on short break at [NAME OF HOTEL], Harrogate. Had a slight chill but was given a room which we found out there were workmen working in the loft above us. Drilling went on from 3.00 pm to 4.00pm when we complained. The drilling stopped after staff had words with workmen, then the sawing started, with what appeared to be wood dropping on the loft floor. The noise stopped at 5.40 pm. During the night I awoke with a high temperature and coughing, I could not get my breath, my partner and I decided to leave. It was our first night! (EM – 2.2.10);
  2. CONTRACTED NOVOVIRUS ON BOARD [NAME OF CRUISE SHIP] CRUISE 23 JAN TO 30 JAN GRAN CANARIAS TREATED WITH INJECTIONS FOR SICKNESS AND STOMACH CRAMPS CONFINED TO CABIN (EM – 2.2.10)
  3. The following morning at around 0915, we made our way to breakfast in the Main Restaurant and were seated at the far end of the large hall. My daughter stood up and walked across to the plate warmer to get a plate and return to the table, a distance of approximately 25 feet. On her return journey she slipped on the wet floor directly in front of the drinks station, the drinks station is the one area for the whole restaurant to obtain drinks. It was clear that children and adults alike had filled glasses up to the brim, resulting in them spilling liquid from the glass on the way back to their tables, no trays are provided to carry drinks. At the time of the accident their were no warning signs up to make people aware of this hazard. Every meal time from that accident their were yellow warnings markers on the floor, apart from our last two days when again no signs on floor (pictures taken). My daughter fell backwards onto the concrete floor and the plate she had in her hand flew into the sky, resulting in a cut to her hand and severe jolt to her spine. No first aider was available and the local staff sat her up onto a chair, this was against my advice as I said she should not be moved with out the use of a spinal board. Due to the one and only lift being out of order due to the electrics blowing my daughter had to be pushed in a wheel chair around to the back of the complex before being transferred to a golf buggy in absolute discomfort to get to the upper level of the hotel reception, then back into a wheel chair to be taken to the hotel doctor. The hotel doctor gave her an injection for the pain and then we had to travel to the local hospital in the hotel mini van, a 40 minute drive. (EM – 3.3.10);
  4. we travelled to sharm el shiek on the 4th of November 2009 and stayed at the 5star [NAME OF HOTEL] resort at sharks bay my wife contracted e-coli and we left egypt after 6days as the hotel food was a nightmare and our medical bill was £850. we have writen several letters to the travel company but they refuse to accept any liability.can you help us with our predicament as we were booked in for 14 days and had to pay for early flights home at a cost of £400 which was not covered by our insurance. we have copys of medical reports fom egypt and from uk also copys of letters sent to the travel company and their replies (EM – 6.2.10);
  5. i stayed at the [NAME OF HOTEL] jamaica the food made me ill and the beach was terrible seaweed dirty e.g rubbish i made a complaint no one took it seriously. I checked out and booked another hotel [NAME] for the last week of a two week holiday this was my honeymoon. Can I claim the money back for the last week of my holiday. I booked this with my credit card, can i claim this money back, can i claim my money back through my credit card company. Ihave spoken to [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] who said that they gave me too much discount in the first place and that they made a loss on it so will not be give me a refund or help. (EM – 12.2.10);
  6. We had the most dreadful experience on the [NAME OF CRUISE] I would like to tell you about it, please contact me. I have attached some of the photos I have which show the blocked toilet and the bathroom floor in our cabin. Our toilet leaked dirty brown smelly water onto the floor continuously during our stay. (EM – 15.2.10);
  7. Yesterday I booked a holiday through [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR].  I booked the hotel and accommodation together (I was just given an overall price for this) and I paid for the holiday in full as we were due to travel on 25 April.  The holiday and price was advertised on teletext holidays and on  their own website. Today they have telephoned me and stated that they had an 'error' and the holiday should have been much more expensive. They have not offered me an alternative but simply stated that they will refund my card. Obviously I'm not happy about this and am wondering where they / I stand legally? (EM – 15.2.10);
  8. Blocked toilet in cabin . for 2 weeks. Toilets overflowing in public areas. Cabin very shabby. Shower cubicle split . tiles coming off floor. All in all not fit to be in for any length of time. Cost 3,500 pounds for two of us (EM – 16.2.10);
  9. Booked a package holiday to Madeira with F[NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] on the Internet and have paid the initial deposit. With the disaster that happened in Madeira last weekend, I have tried to contact [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] to discuss my options of either cancelling or being offered another similar holiday, but they are not replying to my emails. I tried to telephone, waited 15 minutes and was told that at present, there is no change to my holiday, but that someone would contact me shortly about it. How can there not be changes to my holiday!! It will obviously take a long time for Madeira to recover and my husband and I are due to fly out on 3rd May! Today, [NAME OF TOUR OPEWRATOR] have emailed me a reminder to pay my final balance before 8th March. Should I not pay this until they contact me? Their Terms and Conditions do not state what happens i n cases like this. In ordinary circumstances, if I cancel, I will lose my deposit, but this isn't normal circumstances. If they cancel, then they would be liable to refund me, but I feel that they are avoiding replying to my emails. What rights do I have in a case like this please and what should I do? I don't want to run the risk of paying the balance, only to lose all my money (£1106). Please help! (EM – 22.2.10);
  10. Found the holiday we were seeking through [ONLINE TOUR OPERATOR] noticed it offered live availability and booked the week away. On arriving at the hotel 3 weeks later, we found it to be closed and learnt they had informed all operators of the closure 7 weeks prior to us booking. We were left stranded in a foreign country, and after attempting to call the “In case of emergency number” only to get an answering machine. 36Hrs later we managed to speak to someone who offered us a refund of the cost of the hotel only, but still leaving us stranded. Our holiday was ruined as we ended up in a B&B in the centre of the capital city waiting for a return flight home! We had been advised to keep all receipts in order we could claim back any additional costs incurred, but on returning to the UK and forwarding a letter along with copies of these, they now claim to be AGENTS and not responsible. We have tried for 18 months to ascertain as to whom they are agents for, and they have continually refused to provide this information. (EM – 4.3.10);
  11. [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] has changed the itinerary on its Pharaohs and the Promised Land itinerary departing on April 7. Instead of seeing what it describes in its brochure as the greatest Crusader castle in Syria, we call at a small seaside town in Turkey. Instead of spending two nights in Ashdod, allowing us to see both the Dead Sea and Jerusalem, the ship sails to Haifa, where there is a very small choice of excursions.They have also removed Cairo excursions from the Alexandria stopover. (EM – 12.3.10);
  12. went to alanya turkey in july 09,booked this through [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] who booked our flights through [NAME OF ONLINE TRAVEL PROVIDER] and our accomodation through [NAME OF ONLINE ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER],the information on [NAME OF ONLINE ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER] website was totally opposite! our holiday was a disater. we phoned [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] on the 1st day of our holiday. when we returned home we complained to [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR]who then complained to [NAME OF ONLINE ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER]. [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] are saying our contract is with [NAME OF ONLINE ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER]. this complaint has been going on for 8months. we really need your help,[NAME OF ONLINE ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER] has offered £302 for 10 people,we paid £2250 for the accomadation. (EM – 12.3.10);
  13. We lost money when XL went under, the travel agent lets go canaries said they were atol protected, initally they were brilliant and sent us forms and asked us to fill them in and sent back with the original receipts and tickets. We did this unfortunately though not until november 2009.  this was sent recorded delivery, Since this date i have contacted the agent via email several times and phoned leaving messages to get someone to please contact me in regards to my claim, I have never received a response. i am nearly £500 out of pocket and at a loss at what I can now do to get my money back. (EM – 13.3.10);
  14. My husband and I were on that cruise and beset by the same problems -- no toilets, grey bed linen, leaking ceilings, cracked tiles in the bathroom, etc. and had written to [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] to no avail. (EM – 14.3.10);
  15. I am looking for advice and support following a terrible experience whilst travelling with [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] to the Maldives. My parents booked a treat 14k holiday for my 40th birthday to Maldives. An island they had sepcifically chosen having been before. less than 48 hrs before departing we were told the island of our choice was fully booked. We were told to spend the first 3 nights elsewhere and then transfer. This did not happen, we then had to spend more nights on another island and on it wnet for the duration of our holiday and we never actually arrived on the island that we booked. We had 10 days of not knowing where we were satying when we were leaving and we never un packed! A total lack of communication from [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] mean't I sepnt most of my holiday in an internet cafe trying to find out information. [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] have offered a £500 voucher off the next holiday! But what about the 14K we spent on this one! (EM – 22.3.10);
  16. We were there from 23rd Feb until 2nd March...We went back to our Travel Agent immediately on our return and we are still waiting for a response from [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] We have been told that they have 28 days to respond. Is this correct?  We arrived on Tuesday 23rd Feb and at the 'welcome' meeting on the 24th there was no mention of an illness at the hotel!!!  By Thursday 25th my wife became ill (with sickness and diarrhoea) it lasted for two days but on the Sunday 28th the illness started again. So we called for a Doctor, who came promptly and administered three injections and three courses of tablets. meanwhile on Friday night 26th I went down with the same sickness and diarrhoea.  No prior warning was given. No alternative accommodation offered. There were many other guests reporting sick during this week. We understand that this illness had been at this hotel since January. (EM – 27.3.10);
  17. From 8th to 15th March 2010 I was on holiday in Egypt on a Nile Cruise organised by the [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR]. On the 10th March I became ill suffering acute diarrhoea and severe stomach cramps....I was so ill that I was unable to go on most of the organised trips and was also unable to eat. When I returned to the UK I went straight to see my GP as I was still having severe cramps and Diarrhoea and he organised a stool sample which has confirmed that I have Salmonella. I am still experiencing diarrhoea and stomach cramps. (EM – 31.3.10);
  18. Whilst on holiday in Turkey last year, my wife and self took the option of a hot air balloon trip with the company recommended by our tour operator. Following a mid air collision we were amongst 11 casualties suffering massive injuries. (EM – 9.4.10);
  19. The complaint I have is the same as the people in tenerife, only we were in benidorm at the [NAME] hotel over xmas this year ,the cost for four people was £3,028. We all ended in our sick beds with NOROVIRUS.The rep knew all about it and rang each day to see how we were.I informed [NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR] and asked wy they let us go when they knew all about the problem, This hotel had this problem through 2009 the rep said .all we got was sorry and that was the end of story.No more than that.What if one or more had died , we are all over 60, my wife is still ill,Its not right travel firms get away with this kind of thing, Thanks (EM – 15.4.10);
  20. One week holiday Nile cruise boat [NAME OF CRUISE BOAT] ([NAME OF TOUR OPERATOR]) 10 British passengers in our group hit by serious stomach infection,one having to have medical treatment before return journey home(injection) My husband who was travelling with me has not as yet quite recovered from what as been diagnosed as dysentry(SHIGELLA)and have been informed by the community nurse who has visited today that it is also concontagious. (EM – 19.4.10).

We have included these complaints within the latest report to the EU Commission in which we call for a tightening of Travel Consumer Protection.  Unfortunately, we expect to receive many more complaints over the following months in a similar vein!

We note that many holidaymakers are being offered sums of money to settle their claims; in some cases of illness, it is our view that these are woefully inadequate and do not represent a proper enquiry into the long term effects of holiday illness.  We would always state that where an offer is made, reserve your position and do not accept any monetary or voucher compensation without seeking advices first!

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