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Holiday Complaints

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Holiday Complaints

If you are planning to book through onthebeach.co.uk (otb.co.uk) read this first!

I unfortunately have had a recent bad experience with OntheBeach.co.uk (otb.co.uk).

A Summary of the complaint.

Basically beware of a triple price match guarantee that they will not honour, misleading advertising, and hidden £300 cancellation charges (in addition to your deposit)

I have tried to resolve this through the normal complain procedures but have just received numerous canned responses from the customer service department (if you can call them that) and I feel I have no further response but to publish my experience to help aid any future customers/victims.


Details of the Complaint.
I was looking to book my hotel for our up and coming honeymoon and found the perfect resort (The Baron 5* Resort in Sharm el sheik). After looking around on the net I found what I thought was a good deal with onthebeach.co.uk. I would normally look around allot more before booking but we noticed that they offer a triple price match guarantee and thought that if we found it cheaper anywhere else we would be able to claim this back, So I booked.

After a little more research I found a great deal with another company £500 cheaper and so collected the details and emailed onthebeach.co.uk to claim under the triple price match guarantee. Basically they should deduct £1500 from my holiday balance.
The next day I received a canned response from OTB stating that they do not honour their price match guarantee for hotel only bookings.

I want to emphasise that I was totally unaware of this as the icon is plastered all over their site including the hotel only section and even appears directly above the total on the hotel only booking page. There is also no detail saying terms apply on this icon.
I called their customer service department and was told that I should have known to click the icon where it brings up a huge list of exclusions and requirements to this deal (in my opinion worded so it is practically impossible to claim under any circumstance).

To be honest I was expecting a little resistance because of the amount of this claim and was not interested in making money on the deal so emailed asking if they would compromise by just doing a simple price match to the other site basically waiving the £1500 I felt I was entitled to from the offer.

Cue the canned response. No

I felt that I did not want to get into a long strung out conflict so informed them that I would like in that case to cancel my booking and asked for my £60 deposit back as a goodwill gesture.

Cue another canned response. And you guessed it; I was given a no chance.

I was then informed that if I wanted to cancel my booking I would not only lose my deposit but would need to pay an extra £300 in cancellation fees!

I questioned this fee given the history of the complaint and you guessed it got another canned response basically saying tough luck.
So here we are, I have sent this link to on the beach and would like to take this opportunity to invite onthebeach.co.uk to respond to this blog and put their case forward. I will post any noncanned response from OTB into this blog.
fwh
I have read your post and the OTB terms and conditions applicable to the offer.
Any offer has to have some terms and conditions attached for obvious reasons. If only to explain what the offer actually encompasses and how to claim. Clicking on the banner explains what they are offering and it is explained how you would go about making a claim.

It is not a "False Advertisement" and the terms applicable are very clear and are not, in my opinion at least, unfair.

Reading your post, I think you have got caught out in what you saw as a way of making some money.

With regard to the request for return of your deposit, having only paid £60 up front it is obviously a "low deposit" you have paid. The question is often raised on HT about the balance due when people cancel - It is in the terms and conditions
of all
tour operators/agents. Where a low deposit is paid on booking then the balance of the full deposit is due if the holiday is cancelled.
fwh

I was just going to post something very similar myself but you beat me to it!
Yes the "real "deposit will be a lot higher than £60. I think nearly all high street travel shops do this also where if you have a small deposit of say £50, but if the holiday is cancelled you have to up that deposit to usually around the £300 mark! This is always in the terms and conditions!
Thanks for the reply.

In answer to your question I was not out to get money and resent your implication. As I said before I just wanted them to match the other price I have found. not discount the full triple price match.

I expected terms and conditions on the offer but I read thoroughly through the two links on the booking terms and conditions on the final page but there is nothing about the price match. If you look on the site you can see the logo is displayed directly above the total on the HOTEL ONLY SECTION! This is what i am talking about misleading advertising. I did not know that you needed to click on the icon which pop's up a page about the terms and exclusions.

It has only been a matter of days since booking to the cancellation request so there is no way they can justify such a high cancellation charge and all i asked was for them to allow me to cut my losses and let me cancel with just the loss of £60.
But you agreed to pay the balance of the low deposit when you click on Confirm to complete the booking. You also confirmed that you had read the T&C's by doing this.

You have only paid the low deposit and not the full deposit so the balance is now due by you now that you want to cancel.

Every offer has T&C's. It's just a pity that you didn't seek out the ones regarding the Triple Price Match before confirming the booking.

luci :wave
Whilst I accept the OP should have read all the T&Cs properly before booking, the "low deposit" issue has cropped up before with other operators and needs cracking down on. They are rarely
low
, usually they are
partial
, basically a deposit on the deposit! I don't know who the first to think this up was but clearly it was intended to trap people and the other companies are being dragged along for fear of losing customers since so many don't bother to read the conditions.
fwh
since so many don't bother to read the conditions.


Which is why so many people have problems.

fwh
And steve, I really do agree with you there, maybe if the holiday companies wrote that it is a partial deposit, more clients would actually take the time to find out what that really does mean. Without reading about it on this site, I would have presumed that paying a low deposit was a benefit for booking early!!!
Once again it's one of those caveat emptor things - buyer beware :duh

When you tick the box to say you've read the terms and conditions, you really should make sure that you have actually read
and understood
the T&Cs.

I can't really see where the low deposit option was done to "trap people" - for some, it's a way of booking a holiday using the low deposit scheme, giving them the time to save up the rest of the deposit before saving up for the balance.

JAK xx
In answer to your question I was not out to get money and resent your implication. As I said before I just wanted them to match the other price I have found. not discount the full triple price match.


Was it not you that wrote the statement below in your first post.

I would normally look around allot more before booking but [u]we noticed that they offer a triple price match guarantee and thought that if we found it cheaper anywhere else we would be able to claim this back. So I booked.

After a little more research I found a great deal with another company £500 cheaper and so [u]collected the details and emailed onthebeach.co.uk to claim under the triple price match guarantee. Basically they should deduct £1500/u] from my holiday balance
I think it was an implication that the OP already knew about the £500 cheaper price and tried to make money that way! Or thought it was worth a go for £1500! (not my opinion btw)

...and it is also very misleading to read 'low deposit' when it is actually only a PARTIAL deposit! Surely low deposit means just that.
It's like buying a blue jumper online and when looking at the terms and conditions it says 'Jumper may be red'
Is it not wrong to word it as a 'low deposit'? It's more like a deposit on the deposit!

Back to the original post it seems if you can't get them to at least match it then maybe the best thing to do is cancell paying the £300 and getting it a bit cheaper by going where it was £500 cheaper!
fwh
Personally, I do not do low deposit. But surely, when you book a holiday in that manner, you get paperwork that tells you when the balance of the deposit is due and when the full amount is due?

As I said earlier the complaints we get so often are down to people not reading the documentation in full.

fwh
fwh wrote:
Personally, I do not do low deposit. But surely, when you book a holiday in that manner, you get paperwork that tells you when the balance of the deposit is due and when the full amount is due?

As I said earlier the complaints we get so often are down to people not reading the documentation in full.

fwh


When I booked my holiday in March 09 for April 2010 there was a 'low deposit' which was paid immediately and the balance of the deposit was then payable (I think 6 weeks later) but it was all on my documentation.
I do not think you have a leg to stand on with your complaint.
I have just been on the OTB website and it states CLEARLY the terms and conditions for making the 'triple price match' claim. It states clearly that the price match only covers 'whole holidays' and NOT flights or hotels only.
I do not see that they are in any way unfair. Most travel company's do price match (albeit not triple price match) and the conditions for matching are very strict and are in most cases only for 24hrs.
It also states clearly that the deposit is a 'low deposit' and I hope you realise that you have given them the right (by ticking that you agree to the terms and conditions) for them to take the rest of your deposit from the credit/debit card you presented when booking the holiday/hotel, whether you like it or not!

Denny

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