The Chief Executive
Re: Booking Reference: Rubbish Travel Holidays 234/656/2005
On 25th May 2005 I visited the Rubbish Travel shop at High Street Birmingham, where I saw your travel clerk, Tracey. I booked a holiday to............., based upon the description in your bochure (copy of the relevant page attached). The brochure promises a 5-star hotel with 3 minutes access to the beach which is described as 'sandy'. The transfer is claimed as .....minutes from the airport and the brochure says that this will be by taxi. When we spoke to Tracey we made it clear to her that we had two young children and required a quiet location, with good facilities for the children and provision for child-care in the evenings should we require it. We also told her that, because we had a long distance to travel to the airport and had the two young children, we would only accept flights that left UK after midday. She checked in the brochure and told us that there would not be a problem.
Based upon these facts and the brochure description, Tracey recommended the Hotel ..................... at.................... and said that it met every one of our requirements. She also said that for an additional £20 per person, we could reserve the extra legroom seats on your aircraft. We agreed and paid the extra money. For the four of us, the total paid to you for our two weeks holiday was £2,800 which included the supplement for a room with a sea view.
The problems started three weeks before we were due to travel when we were contacted by letter and told that our flight times had been brought forward from 13.30 hours to 07.45 hours, 'due to scheduling problems' by the airline. When we checked, we discovered that the 13.30 hours flight was still going, but the airline said that it was overbooked. We tried to get changed back to the later flight, but you refused. you also said that if we cancelled we would have to pay £50 each as a cancellation fee and would lose our deposit and most of the money we had paid.
On the ................August 2006, we went to the airport at 04.30 to catch the 07.45 flight. This meant that we had to leave home at 02.00 to guarantee getting to the airport on time. As it transpired, the flight was then delayed until 11.45, but we were not given any refreshments as you are required to do under the new European Travel regulations. Your representative said it was due to 'circumstances beyond your control' but we were not told what those circumstances were. When we boarded, the steward told us that it was because the aircraft was late arriving back from Tenerife. That was 'circumstances within your control'. Moreover, we did not get the extra leg-room seats for which we had paid. At check-in we were told that because our flight had been changed they were taken by someone else and that, anyway, they were not guaranteed by the extra payment.
When we got to (destination airport) it was almost 16.00 and we were kept waiting around for two hours. We were told by your representative that it was our fault because we were late arriving and our arrival clashed with another aircraft. We were told that for the same reason there were no taxis available and the ten of us were bundled into an 8-seater mini-bus and driven to the hotel with the children perched on our knees. This may be 30 minutes in a taxi (which I doubt), but by mini-bus in the evening rush hour traffic, it took almost two hours. So, by the time we reached the hotel it was 20.00 (23.00 local time), the children were completely exhausted and very fractious. The restaurant was closed and there was nowhere to get a meal except for a restricted room service.
The internals of the room were very good, except that there was only one bed for the children. However, the hotel staff put this right within the hour. Tired from our travels we went to bed and did not discover until we pulled the curtains the following morning, that our 'sea view' was a view onto the scrubland at the back of the hotel and the crates and dustbins stacked around the rear kitchen entrance. When we called reception, they told us that they had no record of us asking for a sea view. What we did discover on that first (Saturday) evening was that despite explaining that we had two very young children, our room was slap over the top of the hotel Disco, the music going on until 3 in the morning. We complained to your company representative at that morning's 'meet and greet' and said that there was absolutely nothing she could do until the following weekend as the hotel was fully booked. She said that we should not have booked that hotel as it was mainly designed for teenagers and that all the activities were aimed at that age group. This was confirmed when we sought the facilities for the toddlers; there were none, except on the beach which was not 3 minutes away, even by car. It took 10 minutes to walk there down the hill and almost 20 minutes to get back, dragging and carrying two toddlers up the hill. It is not 'sandy', being mostly black shale and pebbles. The swimming pool at the hotel had no facilities for small children, the water being too deep and no paddling pool being provided.
The food in the hotel was OK for adults, but it took several days before the hotel were happy to provide suitable meals for our young children. For a week we had to endure the noise over the disco, which made it very difficult to get the children off to sleep in the evenings. On no night during that time were we able to get to sleep before the music finished and the drunken loud mouthed yobs were clear of the premises. We asked your representative (Sharon) for a move to another hotel, but she said that she could not do anything.
This was a nightmare from beginning to end and you honoured almost none of the promises in your contract. The description in your brochure is deliberately misleading in its description of the hotel. It is not a hotel suitable for young children, it is not 30 minutes from the airport and it is certainly not 3 minutes from the 'rocky' beach. We paid for taxi transfers, which we did not get, and for extra-legroom seats which were taken by other passengers. We made our requirements quite clear to Tracey and we know that she noted them on the booking form, so you cannot claim that you were not aware of them. Everything about this booking is in breach of the law and particularly the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
I am enclosing copies of the relevant documents together with some photographs I took of the limited facilities that were available. You will also find interesting the copy of the video tape I took in our room which shows the time and records the noise of the music, before going on to a film of the drunken louts outside of our room at 3 in the morning. Of particular note is the recording my wife made at the meet and greet when your representative was giving her spiel and telling us that we had booked the wrong hotel.
From our perspective, this was not a holiday, but a very stressful experience that we would have done anything to avoid. It was distressing to our children and we lived fom one crisis to the next, just begging for the chance to get home. In the circumstances, we do not feel that is unreasonable to expect a full refund of the money paid to you following your misrepresentation of what you were offering. We expect, therefore, a refund of the full £3,000. If this sum is not forthcoming, we are quite prepared to take the matter to the County Court under the small claims procedure.
We are also making the details of this case know to Travelwatchdog who have expressed a willingness to publish the details in the hope that it will warn other travellers of your absolute lack of respect for your customers.
Disgruntled and determined of Tunbridge Wells.
Truth is the cry of all, but the game of few (George Berkeley - English philosopher)