Allcamps creates a Catch 22 situation for its customers
Pricewatch: Readers get harsh response from Dutch-based camping operator
One reader booked a camping holiday at Union Lido near Venice with Allcamps.
The holiday plans of hundreds of thousands of Irish people have been thrown into disarray in recent weeks. We are continuing to get a huge volume of complaints and queries in connection with travel and the summer ahead with some companies accused of putting people into impossible situations. One such company is the Dutch-based camping operator Allcamps.
Brian Flanagan booked a camping holiday to Union Lido near Venice for July with Allcamps. “Basically they’ve put us in a real Catch 22 situation,” he writes. “We’ve already paid a hefty deposit of €750 and are due to pay the remaining balance of €1,800 on May 28th. Obviously we have no intention of going and it’s unlikely the Aer Lingus flight will take off anyway,” he says.
“However, Allcamps are proving extremely difficult to deal with. They are refusing to answer calls and through email they will only refer to the Corona FAQ on its website,” he says.
“If I pay the €1,800 on May 28th, I’m taking a chance that the campsite will open and it will be my problem if I can’t get there. There is no engagement with customers from Allcamps. They are also washing their hands of any situation where customers can’t get to their location because of cancelled flights,” he says.
“If they do cancel the holiday, they will issue a voucher valid only within one year after the date of issue, which is unlikely to carry into next summer. Also, who knows what the situation will be like next summer anyway?”
Emma Larkin had a similar story. She has a holiday booked with Allcamps to another campsite near Venice and was due to arrive on July 4th. But travel restrictions in this country look almost certain to prohibit her from travelling. She has paid €700 as a deposit and the balance was due at the end of last week. She was advised by the company to pay the balance of €1,800 and if they have to cancel her holiday, she will get a Corona voucher.
“This may be okay, if we can manage to get this payment together, but times are tough due to reduced work hours, etc, so we will struggle and would prefer to take a voucher for the €700 deposit only,” she says.
She also wonders what happens if she pays the balance, and somehow, Italy does open its campsite in July. “We cannot travel so what happens our full €2,500 then? Do we lose that? As that would be devastating.”
We had a look at the Allcamps website and the news was pretty bleak for both our readers.
“At this moment, no final decision has yet been taken on borders in Europe for the period after May, but we understand that this question is with you,” the site says.
It adds that it and all its partners and campsites are “also fully reflecting on the impact of possible entry and exit restrictions. Closed borders can be a reason for a campsite or tour operator to stay closed and not make the accommodations available to foreign guests. In that case, we will cancel your holiday and you will receive a Corona voucher.”
However, if the campsite and accommodation is open and but travel restrictions still apply – which they almost certainly will for our readers, this is what Allcamps says: “You have booked a mobile home or tent at a campsite in Europe. We are responsible for the implementation of this part of your holiday. This means that you are responsible for the trip to the campsite. Here is a difference with package holidays. If there are travel restrictions because borders have not yet been fully opened, we understand that a difficult situation may arise for you. Unfortunately, this is also beyond our control and the risk for the journey lies with the customer. In this situation, we can deliver what you have booked with us: the accommodation on the campsite. In this case, you would have lost your [down] payment.”
That seemed very harsh to us. We tried to contact Allcamps without success but yesterday we heard some good news from Emma. “They are letting us transfer our €700 deposit to a holiday with them next year. There are some conditions but we don’t have to pay the balance until next year so I am happy with that.”