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Goldtrail - advice sought re claiming compensation


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Hi everyone

 

I would be very grateful if you could read the below and offer you comments and advice. Much appreciated. Thankyou.

 

Background

 

I recently took a holiday with Goldtrail that was booked through First Choice.

 

A copy of the letter of complaint (see below) that I sent to both Goldtrail and First Choice sets out what went wrong etc and all the details I hope you will need in order to advise.

 

Today I received a letter from Goldtrail (sent via First Choice) that basically says "Sorry you had a bad holiday". I think there is only one paragraph worthy of note so I have typed it later on.

 

.....................................................................................................

My letter of complaint:

 

Dear Sir

 

 

Formal Complaint

Booking ref:

 

 

On X July 2007,I returned from a holiday which was booked through First Choice Travel and which was provided by Goldtrail. Please take this letter as a formal complaint, which I have sent to your Customer Services department, as requested in the booking details provided to me (albeit they arrived at my address while I was on holiday).

 

 

Below, I have set out the background to my claim and the redress which I expect.

 

 

Background

 

 

Accommodation

 

 

We arrived at the XXX, Gumbet, Turkey at approximately 4am (local time) on X July 2007. Upon arrival, the hotel receptionist informed us that our room was not available and we had, therefore, been allocated to a “small room” (the term used by him).

 

 

Upon inspection, the room was found to be of an unacceptable standard. In particular:

 

  • Beds were not provided. Instead, two mattresses had been placed on either side of a door which led to a bathroom;

  • The mattresses were filthy and were covered by dirty 'white' bed sheets. One bed sheet even had a hole in it;
  • The bathroom area was dark and dank and smelt of sewage.

I took a number of photographs of the room, print outs of which are enclosed at appendix 1.

 

 

I have also enclosed, at appendix 2, a copy of a photograph of a bedroom in the Delfin Hotel as taken from the Goldtrail website. By comparing the photographs enclosed at appendix 1 and appendix 2, I trust that we can agree that the room provided was significantly below the standard that was advertised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaint and resolution

 

 

During the day, we explained to the management of the hotel that our room was unacceptable and asked when a normal room would be available. We were informed that we would have to spend at least one more night in the 'small room'. As, at the time of check-in, we were led to believe that we would only need to spend one night in the “small room”, I formed the view that it was possible that a normal room would not become available to us until much later in the week, if at all.

 

 

I called the Goldtrail office in Gumbet who sent one of their representatives (“Aimee”) to inspect our hotel room. Within seconds of entering the room, Aimee agreed that the room was of an unacceptable standard and agreed to try to relocate us. Following a call to the office, she informed us that she would not be able to relocate us for another 2 nights. I explained that I believed this to be an unacceptable solution given that it would result in our spending approximately half our holiday in our present room.

 

 

I informed Aimee that I understood rooms were available in another Goldtrail hotel (the Hotel Y). We were informed that Goldtrail were not prepared to offer relocation to this hotel as a solution.

 

 

It was also understood that it is Goldtrail's policy to charge fees in respect of hotel relocations. I am unable to agree that any fees should be payable when the necessity to relocate has been caused by Goldtrail.

 

 

I informed Aimee that we considered her solutions for resolving the matter to be unacceptable and that we would, therefore, find alternative accommodation ourselves. This we achieved by booking a room at the Hotel Y. The cost of the room, for the remaining six nights of the holiday, was £200. A receipt was obtained in respect of the money paid. A copy of this is enclosed at appendix 3.

 

 

It will be noted that the opportunity to complete a complaint form was not offered by Aimee. As we did not see her for the remainder of the holiday, I requested a form from the representative who escorted us from the hotel to the airport. She informed me that she did not have any, but suggested that I complete a customer feedback form. This I did and returned the form to her. It should be noted that, despite providing my name and email address on the form, I have not yet been contacted by Goldtrail regarding my complaint.

 

 

My claim

 

 

In summary, I allege that:

 

  • the accommodation provided fell significantly below an acceptable standard. As Aimee (a representative of Goldtrail) concurred with my opinion, I trust that this can be accepted as fact.

  • the standard of the accommodation provided resulted in a breach of the contract which existed between us in respect of the holiday.

  • Goldtrail was given the opportunity to resolve this matter but the solution offered was unacceptable given that it would have resulted in our spending approximately half our holiday in accommodation which we had agreed to be of an unacceptable standard. It should be noted that I suggested a reasonable solution (relocation to a local Goldtrail hotel) which was refused.

In respect of the above, I request that I be reimbursed the costs which I reasonably incurred in resolving the matter. I believe that I would also be entitled to compensation in respect of the night we spent in the substandard room and the inconvenience incurred, however, in order to resolve this matter speedily, I am prepared to accept £200 as reimbursement for the cost of alternative accommodation. This suggestion is without prejudice to any action which I may be required to take in the future, however, I am hopeful that we can resolve this matter amicably.

 

 

Until our dispute is resolved, I have seen fit to raise a dispute in respect of the cost of the holiday with my credit card provider.

 

 

 

 

I look forward to receiving your acknowledgement to my letter (within 14 days) and your response (within 28 days).

 

 

 

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

[Photos attached in next message]

 

 

...................................................................................................

 

 

Paragraph worthy of note from Goldtrails response:

 

 

 

...According to the manager of the X Hotel, all bathrooms had been thoroughly cleaned and maintained prior to occupation. The rooms were also inspected by our overseas management team and no quality issues were evident during these inspections....

 

Basically the tone of the letter is sorry you had a bad holiday and thank you for your feedback.

 

 

 

.....................................................................................................

Next steps:

 

- I propose to write demanding the £200 that I believe I can claim or I will file a claim in the small claims court. I will give them 28 days to respond of course.

 

 

Do you think this is a winnable case?

Is it blocked by statute of any sort?

 

 

They don't seem to be denying any allegations other than the dirtiness of the room. While my photos might not show the dirt clearly they do show the mattresses on the floor and the fact that the room is clearly not as advertised. Is this sufficient to show breach of contract?

 

 

 

 

- From what my credit card company initially said, I now understand that the level of protection that exists by purchasing by credit card is less than I had previously thought. I had hoped the card company could refund my money therefore forcing Goldtrail to either accept it or issue a claim against me. Although I have put the item in dispute, I'm not sure at what stage i can have the money? Only if I sue?

 

Any help on this point appreciated also

 

 

Many thanks for your time

 

Letterwriter

 

 

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The key photos referred to in my initial letter:

 

1 Room as advertised on Goldtrail website

 

Holidays to Turkey - Marmaris, Bodrum, Icmeler, Antalya and beyond with Goldtrail

 

2 Photos taken by me:

 

Argh! Just realised I can't insert photos from my computer. I think you need to see them as I believe they are the evidence I need for my claim.

 

I have uploaded them onto a photosharing site, link below:

 

Public Album

 

(Delfin 2 is the main photo showing the mattresses on the floor)

(btw - Rob Smith is not my real name!!)

 

Thanks

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As far as I am concerned, having seen what you were issued and what you should have had, I would say you should persue this with view to receiving £200.00 refund (to cover the other hotel costs) and then request compensation for having endured time in that grubby room. I don't think I would have let my dogs sleap in that room (it looks infested!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for your replies so far. i have now composed my response to Goldtrail.

 

 

Any comments appreciated

 

 

Dear Sir

 

 

Letter before action

Your ref:

 

 

I refer to my letter of 1 August 2007 and your reply dated 29 August 2007 that was forwarded to me by [travel agent] under cover of a letter dated 13 September 2007.

 

 

I am disappointed that your letter does not make any reference to the breach of contract that I allege and does not make any comment in relation to the reimbursement of costs of £200 that I requested.

 

 

Your lack of response in relation to these matters now prompts me to notify you of the actions that I propose to take in order to resolve my complaints.

 

I will give you a further 28 days to reflect on the matters raised in my letter of 1 August 2007 and to reply to me accepting, unconditionally, my request in principle and letting me know a date by which I will receive payment.

If you do not respond, or if again you do not respond positively within this time period, I shall issue a county court claim.

I wish to reaffirm my desire to settle this matter amicably and I hope that you will now choose to enter into a serious dialogue with me in order to achieve this aim. This letter clearly informs you of the further action that I will take if you do not.

Yours faithfully

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  • 7 months later...

I never did receive a constructive response from either Goldtrail or First Choice (the agent). However, I had successfully obtained a refund for the holiday from my credit card company after sending them copies of my letters and photographs - so I didnt mind.

 

Just (over 6 months later!) had a std letter from First Choice saying they've just noticed the credit card refund and could I send a cheque in to cover the cost of the hol.

 

I've written them a 2 liner referring them back to my previous corresp (I've already put a lot of effort into writing those letters, dont see why i should expend more when all i get in return is std letters!)

 

BUT...Before they get back to me, I would appreciate some clarification on where I stand. The credit card refund was from the agent, whereas it was the travel company who didnt deliver the holiday.

 

Does this matter? Does the agent owe me a duty of care to deal with Goldtrail's failure to deliver? Can the agent (as agent) be liable if they book something then doesnt conform to contract?

 

Just worried that I may end up losing if First Choice sue me for the money. Want to be sure of my ground before (if i have to) tell them to Small Claim Court me for it. In the meantime, I'm in the happy position of being in possession of the money. Thank you CCA '74!

 

Thanks for any help

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First choice should be ashamed of themselves. Those pictures are enough to make me doubt wether any hotel they sell would be what I would have booked. If it came to it I would defend in court myself but outcome no clue I'm afraid.

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