Every now and again I hear of a holidaymakers experience which demonstrates the shocking attitude of some travel companies. What is equally distasteful is reading about how many months individual holidaymakers will invest to try and resolve their holiday complaints, only to be, for want of a better expression, to find themselves 'shafted' by their 'travel companies'!
This story does not just involve this particular so-called DIY Package Holiday company, which proudly displays its travel trade membership on its website, but also a hotel/apartment in Turkey, where according to Trip Advisor, some 26% of those reviewing the hotel rate it as average to terrible. I can clearly see the problems at this hotel, which are quite serious and any self-respecting travel company would not peddle this 'quality' product on an unsuspecting Consumer! Afterall, if I can find the problems with this hotel, why can't the travel company?
So, I have set the scene; our story involves a pensioner couple who went to this particular hotel, having booked what they thought was a Package Holiday.
After several days, one of the holidaymakers became ill and had to be admitted to hospital. As he did not want his wife to stay at the hotel on her own, arrangements were made for her to stay at the hospital. She went back to the hotel to advise the manager what had happened and collect some things. Imagine her surprise when she was told by the manager that he already knew that her husband was admitted to the hospital and that he had heart problems - the hospital had not given our couple that information!
When she returned to the hospital, her husband discovered that £360 was missing from his wallet.
His wife then returned to the hotel to discuss this with the manager and they all saw that there had been no forced entry into their hotel room. 3 days later the holidaymaker was happily discharged from the hospital and when he returned to the hotel, he discovered that the manager was apparently the only one to hold a master key for the bedrooms.
Quite correctly, he reported the matter to the local police, who again confirmed that there had been no forced entry into their room, but they did not carry out any further investigation.
The following day, the holidaymakers were relaxing by the hotel pool, when:
- The manager approached his wife and told her to get out of the pool;
- The manager told her to collect her personal possessions;
- The manager ordered the couple to leave the hotel immediately as he did not want them to stay there;
- The manager accused this couple of causing criminal damage, abusing and harassing the hotel guests;
- The couple vigourously denied the allegations against them;
- The couple immediately contacted their 'travel company' who told them to wait in a local bar whilst they sorted matters out;
- The couple then received a call from the 'travel company' who told them that the manager had good reason to throw them out;
- The 'travel company' told them that there was nothing further that they could or would do for them;
- The couple were told that they had 30 minutes in which to pack and leave the hotel;
- Whilst they were packing to leave the hotel, the staff kept banging on their room door shouting for them to hurry up and get out;
- This couple were very upset and felt like they were being treated like criminals;
- In their rush to get out, they later realised that they left items behind but were too scared to return to the hotel to collect them;
- The couple had to find another hotel on their own and pay for this 'extra' expense.
Welcome to Turkey!
Welcome to the brave world of the so-called DIY holiday, where everyone is equal and quality and compliance with the law is secondary!
There are other twists in this tale surrounding the medical treatment and the so-called diagnosis, but I shall leave that for another time.
This pensioner couple are quite savvy when it comes to knowing what to do when they have a holiday complaint and so on their return, they wrote a letter of complaint to their 'travel company'.
This 'travel company' responded by telling this couple that their company:
- Did not book a package;
- That they were only acting as 'agents';
- They were unable to assist, and
- They have failed to respond to all subsequent letters and telephone calls.
I can assure everyone, this couple are getting the guidance they deserve to help them fight this particular travel company!
The sooner the EU Commission gets on with publishing the new draft proposals on the Package Travel Directive, the better it will be for all EU Consumers and will hopefully put an end to this shoddy form of selling. I know that many of you are confused about the claim that you have bought a DIY Holiday - read this short article I have written on this topic and confront your travel company if they try to use this excuse against you!