09 Mar 2015

A question about : misselling of holiday, advice needed please.

We booked A 5 star all inclusive to turkey, allocation on arrival with Ola holidays.

When we called them on the day of departure, we were told that the 5star hotels were fully booked and we'd get a Ј20 each refund as we chose to accept a 4 star, an so began a series of errors from Ola;

1. We were not met at the airport as agreed, if we had not called before departure, we would have been stranded!

2. They had not booked the airport transfer, thankfully the transport company took pity and took us.

3. The hotel was clearly a 3 star, not four! We did get them to admit this, but they stated they decided it was a 4 star- i have asked for their criteria for rating hotels.

4. we paid for a balcony upgrade, at the hotel all rooms had balconies, so we paid for something we did not need to- we asked for a refund.

5. when we complained on holiday, we were told the reason why we got bumped was because there was no 5 stars open! So were given two different explanations of why we did not get a 5 star.

Anyway, after complaining via teletext twice (we got little response from Ola without going via Teletext). Ola responded thus.

a. the Ј20 refund was actually compensation, and as we agreed to that they would not give us more! (Clearly its not compensation but a refund of the difference between a 5 and 4 star package, and it turned out to be Ј20 in total, not each, as we had been led to expect, so was actually less than the difference between a 5 and 4 star package!). We did not agreed to this as compensation!

b. they did not know until the last minute that there would be no 5 stars. i struggle to believe this.

c. They chose not to respond to the not being met at the airport or balcony upgrade point.

d. as stated in point 3 they tried to say they rated the hotel as 4 star, but could not explain on what criteria it was different to a 3 star.

We feel we were missold this holiday, and are getting nowhere complaining direct to Ola or via Teletext (though teletext have been more helpful). We do not have ABTA protection as were sold the holiday as flight and hotel, not a package (they did not make clear the difference at booking either).

We have tried trading standards but they are saying its nothing to do with them, which i struggle to believe.

so, can anyone advise,

1. Does trading standards have a responsibility to investigate, and are just fobbing us off?

2. What other organisations may be able to help?

3. Do we have a good case for small claims? As i will take it straight there if we have to.

Thanks for reading of you got this far, i do hope you can help, please ask if you need more info.


Best answers:

  • i'm finding it hard to believe that it was only Ј10 difference between a 4 and 5 star hotel! Have a look on Holidaytruths website where they have a complaints forum and someone there may be able to give you some advice of what you may be entitled to. good luck
  • Ola Holidays seem to appear very often on this forum, usually people complaining they didn't get what they bought. It seems they hope people give up and go away, if your documentation said 5 star hotel and you got a three star, check the hotel's own website it should show the official category, then you do have a substantial claim. You should send them a letter before action, setting out exactly what you want by way of compensation and giving them 14 days to respond. Make it clear you will sue for breach of contract and then issue proceedings on line at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome. It is very efficient, be realistic with your claim and if they are too lazy to respond you can get judgement without any court hearing at all
    If you get no response to the initial letter you can also complain to ABTA of a failure to acknowledge the complaint within 14 days. The story about 5 star hotels being full is also almost certainly not true as holidays to Turkey are not doing particularly well this year so far. Having said that most people agree that star ratings are not as reliable in Turkey as elsewhere, in other words even an official 4 star may feel more like a 3 star but its what the offical rating actually is that counts
    Finally you have filed this is the forum relating to volcanic ash, which I don't this is relevant to your case, you probably need to move it to the main forum if you want alternative advice!
  • I've been searching for Ola Holidays but it seems too rare here. Probably its because of the long complaints.
  • i am also searching for ola holidays. can ant one tel me,
  • It's getting hard to find a post which would be answer my quesiton so well. Cheers!
  • Frankly i flaked on this one, returning to work stopped any further action, but i do hope the good advice has helped out others take on this sham of a company.