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Beware of Sunmaster (zero star)

Complaint against Sunmaster

I will share my experience with this company and you decide if you want to want to waste your hard-earned money with this company. I booked a 5 night’s holiday in Lanzarote on 7th December 2016 (travelling on 26th). As most of the reviewers says, the price on their website is not the live price which I didn’t realise at the time of booking. I received a call from them couple of hours later saying that the hotel prices has gone up and I need to pay around £100 additional. Even then it seemed a reasonably good deal and decided to go with it, the booking agent was very convincing as well. Now when I think back I think it’s a ploy they adopt to get customer details and a chance to sell to them. So I believe they deliberately lower the prices and lure customers into buying it. The hotel I chose was Hesperia Playa Dorada which is a 4 star rated hotel. I paid a deposit and received confirmation and all holiday documents on the next day. On 12th December I paid the remaining money and Sunmaster confirmed everything. At this point, you wouldn’t expect anything to change and you and your family will be counting the days. The real story starts now. On 20th December I missed a call from Sunmaster at 5:12pm. At 5:28pm I received an email advising that their supplier has informed that the hotel which I booked and paid for via Sunmaster is now overbooked and their supplier has offered me a like for like replacement (VIK Club Coral beach). I did lot of research and read most of the reviews in Trip master before deciding the location and the hotel I wanted especially considering my 3 year old. I tried to ring them back around 6:30 and the office that deals with this particular matter was closed at 5:30pm and others couldn’t help. That night, I and my wife read about VIK club and the very first thing we noticed was the alternative accommodation is a 3 star rated where as we had booked and paid for a 4 star. The location was not great (around 5km from Playa Blanca where we originally booked) and the reviews and ratings in Trip advisor were not great either. So I wrote to them saying it’s not a like for like match. The next day (21st Dec) they said there are no other options and it’s a mistake their supplier made. There were still hotels available on Sunmaster website in Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen which is a proper like for like for what I originally booked, but understandably more expensive since my holiday is only 5 days away at this point. When I mentioned about this, they asked me to send them the names of these hotels. I received a call from them saying that they have sent my alternative options to their supplier and we will have to wait 48 hours for them to come back. I was worried at this point, since 48 hours period ends on 23rd evening, and they might not be in office on 24th and 25th. But they told me not to worry and they will sort out everything before we travel and I will not be offered a stay less star rated than what I originally booked. Nothing happened on 22nd, when I called them they said they are still waiting for the supplier to come back. On 23rd morning around 11:47am I received an email saying the supplier has come back and their amendments team will contact me. I thought they are going to give me one of the alternatives I sent them. Just after 12pm they sent another email saying the two alternatives I provided aren’t available due to the time of the year, however the alternative accommodation they provided me initially is available. I really lost my temper at this point, they made me wait 48 hours to tell me this. One of the alternative accommodation I provided is still available on their website and also in Expedia, but around £500 more expensive (I originally paid around £1000 for the accommodation). When I said to them that the alternative is still available in your website, they said it’s more expensive and they are not willing to cover the additional cost. I told them, the party who made the mistake has to pay and they admit that it’s their supplier who made the mistake, but they said, since the supplier offered me a like for like they wouldn’t pay (clearly they didn’t offer me a like for like). Now Sunmaster starts claiming that the alternative they offered me (VIK club) is a 4 star rated. I immediately checked in trip advisor and it shows as a 3 start rated to which they said they don’t use trip advisor. They said they use their supplier rating (which I cannot see) and first choice holidays. I checked first choice and I couldn’t find VIK club there. Then I looked in Sun master website and VIK club is highlighted as a 3 star. When I told them about it, they said it’s a mistake. Basically they were caught in their own game, but they still don’t want to compensate the customer. At this point I realised that my arguments are all falling on deaf ears, so I asked for a full refund of my money. They said they can only refund the hotel, but not the flight. What is the point in flying there if I don’t have an accommodation! I demanded full refund and told them I will go to any extent to get my money back, finally after putting me on hold for a long time their team leader said they will refund the full money (including card charges), but the accounts team are not back until 28th December, so the refund will be processed only then. Since there was no other option I agreed. At this point, I was very angry and sad for trusting this company. I just checked Expedia and to my surprise, one room opened up in a 4 start hotel and the total price was slightly lower than what I originally paid to Sunmaster. I immediately booked that with my credit card. We went on a fantastic holiday on the original dates we planned. Sunmaster refunded the whole money on 28th. Although they refunded the money, they really played a game. They booked a hotel for us which was not available and they wanted us to accept a cheaper alternative after we paid them. They tried to make the customer pay for their mistake. In my opinion Sunmaster is a very unprofessional, unethical, deceitful and a diabolical company.

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