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Hotel inaccurately described

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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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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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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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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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