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    • Well as you're implying, UB, you're going to sign a better trade deal with a large economic bloc than with a small one, aren't you?   I don't think there's any chance of any deal based on a 'special relationship' while Biden's in the White House, but as I said I think Trump would have stitched us up in the end anyway.
    • Atleast 7 years, but they have already done some of the work. I think Liam Fox started this a few years ago.   My guess is that it will take 3 to 4 years before a proper trade deal is signed. There might be a mini trade deal before then limited to a few sectors.   The issue for the Brexit supporters might be when the EU and US sign a trade deal, before there is a UK/US deal. And when this finally happens UK only obtains same deal as EU. There is no reason for US to agree better terms with the UK and they would not do so  because US sees UK as part of Europe.
    • English school leaders despair over new rules on Covid tests and  masks   https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/feb/25/english-school-leaders-despair-at-soft-line-on-covid-tests-and-masks
    • They've estimated 10 years to agree a trade deal haven't they, UB? I think the Tories believed Trump when he said the UK would be at the front of the queue and have a quick trade deal and thought it would look good as an announcement after Brexit happened. It didn't dawn on them until quite late on that Donald might lose the election.   Why they ever thought US negotiators would do any favours is beyond me and now you see how other countries have asserted themselves over trade deals, the Tories global ambitions are starting to look naive.
    • It takes a long time to agree trade deals because there are so many aspects to consider.    UK companies trade with US consumers including US Government every day of the year, with the previous trade arrangements still in place.   There is no hurry to agree a new trade deal. It takes thousands of civil servants in both Governments to go into every aspect and they just don't have the people available to do this work.    
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    • I sent in the bailiffs to the BBC. They collected £350. It made me smile.
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    • Hi @BankFodder
      Sorry for only updating you now, but after your guidance with submitting the claim it was pretty straight forward and I didn't want to unnecessarily waste your time. Especially with this guide you wrote here, so many thanks for that
      So I issued the claim on day 15 and they requested more time to respond.
      They took until the last day to respond and denied the claim, unsurprisingly saying my contract was with Packlink and not with them.
       
      I opted for mediation, and it played out very similarly to other people's experiences.
       
      In the first call I outlined my case, and I referred to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 as the reason to why I do in fact have a contract with them. 
       
      In the second call the mediator came back with an offer of the full amount of the phone and postage £146.93, but not the court costs. I said I was not willing to accept this and the mediator came across as a bit irritated that I would not accept this and said I should be flexible. I insisted that the law was on my side and I was willing to take them to court. The mediator went back to Hermes with what I said.
       
      In the third call the mediator said that they would offer the full amount. However, he said that Hermes still thought that I should have taken the case against Packlink instead, and that they would try to recover the court costs themselves from Packlink.
       
      To be fair to them, if Packlink wasn't based in Spain I would've made the claim against them instead. But since they are overseas and the law lets me take action against Hermes directly, it's the best way of trying to recover the money.
       
      So this is a great win. Thank you so much for your help and all of the resources available on this site. It has helped me so much especially as someone who does not know anything about making money claims.
       
      Many thanks, stay safe and have a good Christmas!
       
       
        • Thanks
    • Hermes and mediation hints. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428981-hermes-and-mediation-hints/&do=findComment&comment=5080003
      • 1 reply
    • Natwest Bank Transfer Fraud Call HMRC Please help. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428951-natwest-bank-transfer-fraud-call-hmrc-please-help/&do=findComment&comment=5079786
      • 33 replies

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We have just returned from a long weekend in Amsterdam. We booked the hotel through an agency (Amoma) who seem to be based in Switzerland and paid by credit card, just under £500. Link to the web page describing the hotel (Hotel Omega) is here https://www.amoma.com/hotel.php?id=98575&key=2017020520170206120500002050000205000000000672&page_num=0&sessionKey=LSEtZE1DbzR4cFJWNU1INldVdSsrWUtENGdwWTZzUzFPaUc1UElMdlhwSDMrNFhhLzdaK3ZuQWIyczdJUVIwOFdISTBaYnpzRGhub3RiUXliSXlFQUczSklyQmM0SE1YZGh2&hotelname=omega&f_ref=&tar=00000&price_ranges=0000&districtId=

 

We made the booking based on the hotel being described as wheelchair accessible (also checked with the agency by phone before booking) and having accessible rooms as described on the webpage, specifically asked for an accessible room and also asked for the second room we booked for a carer to be at least fairly close. There is of course a specific item in their terms and conditions stating that they can't be held responsible for inaccuracies etc. Very fortunately as it turned out, the wheelchair user is able to walk a short distance.

 

The hotel is not accessible. There is a small step up to the only entrance, followed by 5 quite steep steps down. There are 5 more steep steps down to the breakfast room. They do not have any wheelchair accessible rooms.

The wheelchair user was allocated a room on the ground floor at the rear of the hotel, however the wheelchair wouldn't even go through the door and there was certainly no room inside to move around. The bathroom was barely a metre deep and 3 metres long, so also totally inaccessible. In any case the shower door couldn't be opened more than halfway before hitting the sink and even the able-bodied carer wasn't able to actually get in it. The shower also had a step up of just over 30cm.

The carer had been allocated a room on the first floor at the front so every time the disabled person needed assistance he had to go back and forth quite a distance between the two rooms.

 

On arrival, the hotel receptionist stated categorically that they were full and there were no alternative rooms available and also that any issues regarding the booking had to be taken up with the agency as 'it's not our problem'. Given the time, we felt we had no choice but to stay there for at least one night.

 

The following day whilst in the city centre we asked the tourist office to see if they could find us an alternative hotel. The only ones not completely full and with accessible rooms were unfortunately way beyond our price range given that we'd already paid for accommodation. As a result, we had no choice but to stay where we were.

 

Because of the lack of accessibility, the disabled person was caused considerable pain and discomfort by having to go up and down the steps at the entrance. In fact, to avoid having to do this too often, we stayed out all day and only returned to the hotel after dinner, whereas we would normally have returned to the hotel mid to late afternoon to rest before going out again for dinner. As well as skipping rests which are normally essential, we spent rather more time than intended in cafes etc, which of course also incurred extra costs. The disabled person was also unable to shower for the entire 4 days and after the first day didn't bother having breakfast due to the additional pain of going up and down those stairs. The carer spent considerable energy going back and forth between the rooms and also had to haul the wheelchair up and down all the steps every day.

 

Whilst we didn't let this spoil our weekend, we're not prepared to just let it go. At the very least, they need to correct the information on their website. I'm a bit unsure how to proceed because the agency seem to be based in Switzerland, and I've never done a charge back on a credit card before. I'm also unsure as to how much to ask for - we did use the rooms even if they weren't ideal, so a full refund would maybe be unreasonable?

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Yes. It's a very difficult situation. The agency, as you say, is based in Switzerland and they make it clear that the applicable law is Swiss to be adjudged in the Swiss courts – very much in the same way that Ryanair is currently doing in Ireland for all of their customers wherever they are.

 

I think your best bet is to start out being unreasonable and demand of the lot and then see what happens. If you start off by being reasonable then apart from anything else that will open the door to some kind of negotiation – if any.

 

I hope you get somewhere but frankly I think it's gonna be very difficult.

 

I would certainly start going round the Internet and trashing the reputation of the hotel and of the agency.

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I wonder if there is no credit card provider liability in this situation - where the goods sold, as it were, are not as described?

 

[bTW: On the Ryanair point, passengers can still happily use the European Small Claims Procedure - Ryanair's nonsense is just hot air. The question of jurisdiction came before the European Court in 2009 - in Peter Rehder v AirBaltic - and the ECJ was very clear that the passenger could choose to pursue a claim in the courts of the country of departure or arrival for the journey concerned.]

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I've been reading up on my card provider's website amongst others and the added complication is that I'm the secondary card holder and the primary card holder wasn't travelling with us, so S 75 doesn't apply. I may still be able to do a chargeback but it appears I have to try and get something back from the agency first. I have managed to find an email address as my first line of attack, but I'm not overly optimistic about getting a response.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Frankly, I wouldn't bother. I think it will be huge amount of trouble and you won't get anywhere.

 

Spend your time trashing them around the Internet. Also, the Swiss are generally extremely efficient and well-organised. I'll bet you that they have some kind of disability organisation and I'll bet you it's all very regulated. Also, I bet you they've got an excellent tour operator control system – and I bet you that they speak very good English.

 

I would look around for these regulatory organisations in Switzerland and then contact them and make formal complaints and be persistent about them. If you get them to be interested then they will do your dirty work for you and I think you'll make more headway that way than any other way.

 

Start trashing them around the Internet as well. It all sounds disgraceful

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The power of the negative review has already got a response from Amoma, whether it will lead anywhere is a different matter. Has to be worth a try though, thanks for the help so far.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Each time I want a response from Amoma I've posted another negative review, and so far it's worked. As for actually getting any money back from them however ....

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Amoma have reported my review (which is now removed pending moderation) on Trustpilot and accused me of libel. This is the review as posted :-

 

Based on assurances from Amoma, we booked a wheelchair accessible room plus a connecting/nearby room at an accessible hotel. The only entrance had steps, my standard size wheelchair wouldn't go through the bedroom door and the bathroom, at 1m by 3m, was totally unusable - even my able-bodied carer couldn't get through the shower door. After a negative review, Amoma finally seemed to be responding, but that review (on another site) has now disappeared and we've not heard from them for 3 weeks. Total waste of our money and time, not to mention the wasted flights etc.

Edit - And once again, a negative review prompts an offer to help which no doubt will fizzle out if they might actually have to refund. Bottom line is Amoma promised an accessible room and didn't deliver and unless they make a habit of it, they already have all the details and have had for over a month.

 

As expected I've had no further contact from Amoma so have asked my bank to do a chargeback.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have now received a refund of the full cost of the hotel booking from Amoma. It took some effort, but we got there in the end.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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