Holiday Gems: Sun, Sea and misery?
Dozens of disgruntled travellers have got in touch with A Spokesman Said to complain about Holiday Gems, with allegations ranging from misleading prices to incorrect accommodation.
Holiday Gems is a website that allows users to scan for 'cheap' holiday deals, flights, etc...
Their website reads: "Whether you are planning a solo trip, a couples-only retreat or a family getaway, you can compare holidays to a wide range of fantastic destinations and choose the deal that suits your dates and budget. With cheap holidays starting from just £59pp we’re sure we’ll find the perfect deal for you."
However, 68 people got in touch with A Spokesman Said to say Holiday gems had badly let them down, with the main issue appearing to be unexpected price hikes.
Laura got in touch to say the price of her holiday with her disabled mother rose by an astonishing £2,300.
She said: "I booked a holiday for my disabled mother and children I paid them the money which was agreed on they called me back later to say prices had gone up and I needed to pay an extra 900 pounds I reluctantly agreed as nothing I could do.
"But then they phoned again and said the hotel has gone up and they wanted an extra 1400 pounds. I want all of my money refunded as this was crazy. They were asking for double for what I originally agreed on.
"I am still waiting on a phone call back for a full refund. And no one has got back to me it’s been a week."
Susan also reached out to say: "Yesterday I selected a holiday and flight on the Holiday Gems website for myself and a friend. I gave my friend a detailed account of all the costs, to which she approved and so today set about booking the holiday online.
"Fortunately I had a query regarding luggage allowance which prompted me to actually ring the company for confirmation. After relaying all the holiday details to the young lady, she then asked me what price I had. I thought this strange, however, was stunned when she said 'ah yes but that's not the live price'. 'Live Price'?
"It's the price I have been quoted for the holiday and flight on the website. She then went into great detail about how prices fluctuate on a daily basis bla bla bla.... I told her to forget it, I would book direct with the hotel chain for which I already had a price. She said she would see if she could match the price, however couldn't which I found strange for a supposedly reputable travel agency.
"This nonsense prompted me to actually review the company and, boy, am I glad I did! I feel very sorry for everyone who has been duped by Holiday Gem's deceitful trading practice, and grateful that they have taken the trouble to warn others."
There seems to be a consistent theme to these complaints - prices appear to go up and bemused customers don't know why.
Steph said: "Wish I’d seen this site before booking with this company, pretty much the same scenario as everyone else on here - called me day after booked to say the prices had gone up by £170, girl had a look for something else but nothing came up so I reluctantly said I would stick with the original holiday aware that I would incur £75 charge for pulling out."
Julie said: "Booked holiday online and received email saying that I would have contact to confirm within 72 hours. Received call 48 hours later saying that the cost of the holiday had risen by approx.
"£80, so I agreed to go ahead. Next day I was informed that the cost had risen by another £100 and would I like to go ahead or cancel. I said I wanted to cancel and was told that that the money would be refunded to me.
"I have tried to ring the company several times but can not get through to after sales, even though I haven't actually booked anything! No replies to emails. I would like a refund so I can book an alternative holiday ASAP."
And the special dietary requirements of one person's child were allegedly not adhered to.
Kevin said: "There were so many problems with our Holiday that it would take me all day to list them all, but the service from Holiday Gems was atrocious from the moment it was booked.
"Prior to booking our all inclusive holiday I sought assurances that there would be food choices for my son who is Vegan and was told this would not be a problem as the hotel did "World Food", however once at our hotel we realised that this was an issue and despite paying almost £3000 for our Holiday I often had to take my son out to eat as the hotel didn't cater for him (despite my emailing them twice before our arrival informing them of his being Vegan)."
A Spokesman Said has contacted Holiday Gems for a response to these allegations and is awaiting response.
Always read the reviews of a travel company online before you go ahead and book anything - as the above customers have discovered, sometimes costs can surge and before you know it your cheap getaway isn't that cheap after all.
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