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Phone booking gone wrong - 100% cancellation charge!!


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Hi everyone,


I really hope someone can help. I'm at my wits end and don't seem to be getting any sensible advice.


In short, I found a holiday on the internet for us and our 3 kids. Dates of travel were key for us - school holidays for the kids and after my exams at the end of March. (I'm doing a really stressful course - don't ask me why - as if I haven't got enough to do...)


Just to be sure we phoned up as well and were told to book over the phone to secure the right dates (paying extra) which we did. I paid in full on the day using a debit card. The call was not recorded.


When no confirmation email arrived 2 days later, I called and they said it must have gone to an incorrect email address (first alarm bell) and asked me to email their admin dept. which I did.


My confirmation email then arrived

- with a few mistakes on names, ages (which they have since corrected)

- saying the booking had been made on the 10th Jan (not the 8th when they took the money from me)

- but most importantly for the wrong dates!


I complained at once, wrote some good letters quoting ABTA regulations etc and got into very frustrating email ping pong. All to no use. No compensation and 100% cancellation charge!


At this point I decided that I couldn't risk the whole holiday and decided to send my husband ahead with the 2 boys (ages 3 and 5 months) - you can imagine how he felt about looking after the kids on his own on a 5.5hr flight!


I then bought BA tickets for me and my daughter joining him 3 days later (I didn't want her to miss out on her holiday after all). I offered to split the cost of this with them which they refused.


So what did I learn and how can you help?


Lesson 1: Order on the internet and it's all down in writing (any mistakes are at least yours).


Lesson 2: If you do order over the phone, go with a bigger firm and make sure the call is recorded.


Lesson 3: Use your credit card to book. I wanted to save the credit card surcharge and it's ended up costing me even more!




Do you think I have any recourse - perhaps with the small claims court? ABTA said that it was my word against theirs since the call was not recorded so difficult to prove either way.


What about the fact that they took my money and only made the booking 2 days later? Doesn't that imply incompetence at all?


And surely the fact that I was so particular about dates would show my clear care and intent from the start ie it wasn't my mistake (I literally had an exam on the day that they booked us to depart on)


Any advice much appreciated...


Ralu xx


PS The company are On the Beach Holidays. Oh, and they sold me an extra taxi transfer for £90! since they said there was no shuttle included but when the hotel voucher came through it said that transfer was after all included!!!AAAH.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Ralu,


A difficult one. First allow me to introduce myself, I'm Heidi, pleased to meet you... I'm a Travel Agent of around 10yrs working self employed from home! Soooooo, I should know what I'm talking about:-D lol


Firstly, I find it astonishing that they took your money and did not make the booking at the same time. Are you sure this is what they did and the date on the e-mail is not the date the confirmation invoice was raised? I would check this out.


Did the booking agent go through everything with you before and after booking? ie: "so its for .... date at ....time from .... airport!!!" This is a basic requirement from any booking agent to avoid these sorts of mistakes. It is not your responsibility to to instigate this conversation, but its always a good idea if they dont!


Name spellings and ages are a common thing to get mistaken I'm afraid, again the agent should be spelling things back to you, even if it is plainly obvious what the spelling is, cuz you never know! BUT DATES?? How on earth did they manage to book the wrong date? Its difficult to lay blame when there is no proof of a conversation. As far as they can argue, they say you booked those dates, later realised YOUR mistake and then tried to change them at their expense (I'm not for one minute saying this is what happended, just merely pointing out what they can argue when there is no proof to the contrary).


My advice is to write a stern letter to their complaints dept, with names of agents, time and dates etc., exactly what happened as far as you are concerned, and what you expect them to do about it. Sure you've already done this...you will get replies fobbing you off all the way down the line, but persevere and dont give in. You are entitled to get abta involved after recieving 2 pieces on unsatisfactory correspondence. They are entitled to 28 days to reply to each letter of yours, so please dont e led to believe that this will be sorted out quickly, because it wont. Most get fed up and give up which is where they get away with it! The trick is not to give up withou a fight!


Good luck



I am not a legal expert, any advice I give is based purley on experience or opinion.

Please tip the scales if you feel I have helped you!! :D

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