Claire Anderson from Dublin got in touch looking for help after a travel company cancelled her summer holiday because the package she had chosen had been overbooked. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the company was then unforgivably slow in issuing her a refund. The story begins in early February when she and her boyfriend booked and paid in excess of €2,000 for their summer sun holiday. In early April, however, they received a letter from Direct Holidays saying that, as their holiday package had been overbooked, they were the unfortunate ones who were being bumped off it.
The couple were given two options. The first, to pick another destination from the company’s brochure, seemed like a good idea.
However, when they looked at the choices on offer they found that all the places they liked the look of had already been booked for the dates in question. “The other option was a refund,” she writes. “With reluctance, we decided to get our money back. You can only imagine the trouble we are having trying to book elsewhere, and the increased cost.”. She says this will most likely mean no sun holiday for her this year as both she and her boyfriend don’t have a whole lot of flexibility and need to give their employers notice of their holidays early in the year.
“The last contact I had with Direct Holidays was on April 19th, when I mentioned I was taking the issue further. I was immediately contacted and promised that I would have the refund in the next ‘couple of working days’.” It is now May, however, and she has still not got her money back. “We are left in the situation where we have to take our leave and holiday probably in Ireland and without the €2,312 we paid up front! I can’t tell you how upset we are.”
We contacted the UK headquarters of the company to find out what was going on. A spokesman for the company was quick to hold his hands up and agreed that there had been an unacceptable delay in issuing Anderson with her refund. He apologised for the delay and assured us that it was being dispatched as we spoke (last Thursday morning).
He also said that as “a goodwill gesture” to our reader the company had agreed to offer her an additional €300 – a sum which, hopefully, will go some way towards helping her and her boyfriend find a holiday in the sun this summer. Although, if the glorious weather we experienced here over the past few weeks is repeated in June or July, she might be well advised to stay at home to catch some rays instead.