Paltry compensation offer following "holiday from hell" - Complaint about Thomson - A Spokesman Said

Paltry compensation offer following "holiday from hell"

Complaint about  Thomson  | AWAITING RESPONSE


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Joanne Carroll

21/09/2016

Paltry compensation offer following "holiday from hell"

Complaint about Thomson

See below: Thomson Complaint letter Booking ref: 1250934 Dear Sir / Madam, I am writing to inform you how very disappointed we were with our recent Thomson holiday experience, the tale of which recounts like a very bad soap opera. Your advertising strapline suggested we should have ‘discovered our smile’; sadly I only discovered how big Mauritian rats are and yellow diarrhoea. My partner, our two children (aged 6 years and 8 months old) and I flew out to Mauritius on 27 April for 2 weeks in the Thomson all-inclusive platinum RIU Creole Hotel in Le Monde (circa £6.5k). I have already logged one compliant with your Customer Services Team (Ref: CO204074) about problems we had on our outbound flight due to a troublesome family ‘stealing’ our reserved seats and a member of the cabin crew telling us we ‘should be grateful’ to have seats on the plane at all. This matter was resolved for us on the return flight, in terms of seating arrangements (after several other passengers at the rear of the plane made complaints), but take-off was again delayed when the same family who, having been moved to the front of the plane, had a stand-up row with other passengers, who initially refused to fly with them. After prolonged intervention by the stewards, it appears the situation was only resolved by the pilot coming out of the cockpit and threatening the disruptive family with removal from the plane. In both directions, this extended an already long flying time and made travelling with a small baby even more problematic. To give you a brief synopsis, during our two week stay: 1. We had to move rooms THREE times because of RATS in our room. 2. We were also subjected to 2 days for 8 hours a day of torturous pneumatic drilling outside our room. 3. Food poisoning. 4. My son cutting his foot on glass in the swimming pool. 5. A faulty air con pipe leaking through the ceiling and saturating all my clothes. 6. A “broken” lift – the only one available (our third and only rat-free room was on the second floor and we had buggy with child strapped in to get up and down two flights of stairs). 7. A weekend invasion of the locals on a Mauritian equivalent of ‘Groupon’ which appeared to be some kind of “all you can eat (and drink!)” deal. 8. Two sick children with temperatures of 40C that the hotel doctor suggested had come from the air conditioning system in the hotel. I will now go into each incident in more detail. Our stay at the RIU Creole commenced in room 3015, where after three days we saw a large rat run across the room one evening when in bed nursing my sick son. I called Reception who sent a man with a broom and some rat killing spray(?!), who couldn’t locate the rodent. When it reappeared (I’m assuming here it was the same one, although I didn’t ask it to introduce itself while I was standing on the bed shrieking), I called reception again and this time they agreed to move us to another room. This involved moving a sleeping baby in a travel cot and a very ill 6 year old down a hotel corridor in the middle of the night. Room 3019 was no better - the air conditioning system barely functioned (24 degrees was the lowest it could achieve) and we managed two days in there before I saw another rat trying to get at a milk bottle in my son’s travel cot when I was up nursing him with a fever at 4am in the morning. On investigation, the rats were getting in through a large hole in our bedroom wall (see photos below) about a metre high and 3/4 metre wide that had a piece of hardboard placed in front of it and the bedside cabinet holding it in place. We filled the obvious gaps with towels and socks to stop any more rats getting into the room until morning. Further investigation of other rooms on the ground floor revealed that all had similar ill-fitting, unsecured hatches, held in place by loose furniture, which led to large holes containing all the services and ducts, and effectively an open trench running under the entire ground floor. It was therefore hardly surprising that the rats appeared to be travelling unhindered from room to room, largely undetected by all but those unfortunate enough to be up all night nursing sick children and feeding babies. The next morning I asked Reception to contact our Thomson Rep and ask her to arrange for us to be flown home. I saw your rep and was not overly impressed, especially when she said quote “when this thing usually happens, they would upgrade you to the hotel next door but it’s an adults hotel only, so we can’t do that”. Are RATS a usual occurrence in your platinum hotels? Not wanting to spoil our first foreign holiday in NINE YEARS, we were then offered a suite in the same hotel on the second floor (apparently RATS can’t climb that high). I agreed to this after checking the room first on the Sunday morning and we moved rooms again - BUT AT LEAST THIS ONE (WE HOPED) WAS RAT FREE. All was going well until 8am on the Monday morning when workmen began replacing a concrete floor beneath our room with a tiled one - starting up their jack hammers and grinders for the next EIGHT HOURS. I was room-bound again with my other son, who had contacted the same virus/fever as my baby (more about this later) and stood this for one day before going completely crazy. After 5pm work stopped but the constant battering was still ringing in my ears - I now have a great amount of sympathy for tinnitus suffers after this experience. The following morning (Tuesday), the whole process started again. After about 4 hours I visited my friends on Reception again and made a complaint – nothing happened. I suffering another two hours of this noise torture before making my second complaint – nothing happened. I then demanded to see the manager, who agreed (after some persuasion) that work would only take place when we were out of our room. A sound clip is attached – please turn the volume on your computer to max, so you can appreciate the noise we were subjected to inside our room. (The balcony clip demonstrates the noise outside): Sound clip for noise inside room: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXBGcC9oCJo&feature=youtu.be Balcony clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzWLiNwE4oY&feature=youtu.be The next morning my partner had a hypo (he’s a type one diabetic) and I was once again room-bound, but this time because of a broken lift. I made several complaints to Reception about this (I was on the second floor with two kids and a buggy plus a sick partner in bed) and was told an engineer had been called to repair it. On my fourth visit to Reception with my youngest strapped to my back (as I was unable to get my buggy up and down the stairs alone), a member of staff told me that the lift had never been broken and that it had been turned off because of all the dust from the work that was taking place to replace the floor below. By this stage, the workmen were long gone due to a Mauritian public holiday before the coming weekend so I demanded that the lift was switched back on (which it eventually was following complaints by other guests with very small children). All was going well the next day – we got a whole 4 hours together round the pool – before going back to our room to find a huge pool of water on the floor and all my clothes saturated. Water was leaking through the ceiling (photos below) and it turned out we had a faulty air con pipe which had broken. This was swiftly replaced by the hotel maintenance team and my clothes were laundered at their expenses, but I did feel a bit conspicuous going down to dinner in a swimming costume and combat trousers (which were the only dry clothes I possessed at this stage). More photos below for your perusal. Section of wall mould in second rat-infested room (3019) The above gives some indication of the condition of the well-aired parts of the room – one can only guess at the condition of the enclosed sections behind the hatches, which house the air conditioning ducts. It is hardly surprising that both our children contracted lung infections within the first couple of days, this was particularly serious in the 8 month old baby’s case, who for 36 hours endured a temperature of 39.5 degrees (as measured by the on-site doctor) – enough to be immediately hospitalised in the UK. Clearly the fact that we were stuck in a room where the faulty air con system could only achieve 24 degrees did not help the seriousness of the situation and our combined efforts to get the baby’s temperature down and under control. The following photograph show the water-covered floor after the water had found its way through the shelves and hanging space in the wardrobe (and through all my clothes!). Each weekend of our stay in the Hotel RIU Creole we were joined by about 400 to 500 locals on the Mauritian equivalent of a Groupon. The all night drinking, standing room only in the bar, fighting (our friend’s mother got punched in the neck by a drunk in the bar - I’m sure another complaint on its way to you), reminded me of my trips to Kavos and Ibiza in my long-past youth, not the Thomson platinum family hotel we’d paid £6.5k for. Our medical bill by the end of our two week stay was running somewhere in the region of £1,400. How lucky we were to stay in a hotel with a doctor on site (or is that unlucky as his services were so frequently required by us and other guests?). Both my children – and several other children in the hotel – contacted viruses which gave them raging temperatures and a hacking cough. The doctor insinuated that this was from the hotel air conditioning system, but would not commit to this diagnosis when questioned about it (though the fact that the air-conditioning system on the ground floor was infested by rats would lend credence to this theory). In addition, I’m now on day 14 of a tummy bug which started when I was on holiday and is still with me now. My GP has run several tests and I’m waiting for a confirmed diagnosis. Several children also cut their feet on glass in the bottom of the swimming pool. Each incident was reported to Reception and the hotel took immediate action and swept the bottom of the pool, but this kept happening. I must say that some of the hotel staff were superb. Shandy on Reception, Mary the Deputy Manager and Rishi in the Restaurant were outstanding in their customer service and really helped us through the various traumas we experienced. I strongly advise you to investigate these matters fully before subjecting any more customers to the experience we endured for two weeks of what I can only describe as HELL. During our 14 day stay in the RIU we had about 4 hours where we weren’t subjected to rats, sick kids, pneumatic drilling, leaking ceilings, carting kids and buggies up open stairwells, made slippery by rain etc etc, therefore a full refund is requested as this was not the holiday we had signed up for in your brochure (by the way, you need to amend your brochure as children aren’t allow in either of the speciality restaurants at this hotel meaning if you have kids at the ‘family’ hotel, it’s the buffet restaurant for every meal – where at weekends it’s a regular bun-fight with the locals, enjoying their all-you-can-eat deals). I look forward to hearing from you after you have investigated this matter and will be passing this letter, along with our photographic and video evidence into the hands of our solicitor in due course. Yours faithfully Jo Carroll

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