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THOMAS COOK CANCELLATION FORCING FULL DEPOSIT PAYMENT

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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '09, 22:45 
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I booked a holiday to Cyprus with Thomas Cook on Fri 13th Feb 09 online and I had to pay a deposit of £82 (the total cost of the holiday is £1700 and the date we fly out is Wed 9th Sept 09). I found out on Tue 17th Feb 09 that my wife is pregnant and I contacted Thomas Cook to advise we could not go and would like to cancel. They are now telling me that I have to pay another £160 to cover the deposit.

1. I was not told it was a low deposit
2. Should I not be covered under the Distance Selling Regulations which states a service can be cancelled seven working days from the day after that on which the consumer agrees to go ahead with the contract.

We are able to show proof from the G.P that my wife is just pregnant. And I am willing to lose the £82 deposit, I just don't think it is fair to have to pay another £160 to them!

Any ideas on what I can do? :(



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 02:18 
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Firstly congratulations

Unfortunately when you booked on line you would have to have confirmed that you read the terms and conditions before proceeding with the booking, it is here that the small print would have discussed the low deposit scheme, basically it states what a full deposit is and hence if you had paid less then you paid a low deposit.

Unfortunatley this is a subject that comes up again and again on this forum as people don't read the small print fully, I believe that you will be liable for the rest of the payment however your insurance should cover you minus the excess charge. I'm not sure but I don't think purchasing a holiday on line is covered by the distance selling act.

Finally I wish you and your wife all the best for the future, becoming a parent was the best thing that happened to me, I have had so much enjoyment from my children and I am sure you will.


David



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 09:17 
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HI Dave,
A huge congrats from me. Now to your problem - this low deposit business misleads many people. I was under the impression that if a low deposit was a low deposit it would have to state that clearly on the booking pages and not hidden away somewhere in the small print of the T&C's. In fact I'm sure the T&C's only mention that IF your dep is a low one that you are liable for the full dep on cancellation. I don't think they specifically refer to any particular booking and cannot therefore be sure if you are booking a low dep hol or a full dep.

When I booked my holiday (different company to yours), my deposit was £30pp and not classed as a low deposit. I didn't need to pay any more until I paid the balance a couple of weeks ago. However another HT member who booked a week or so after me and paid the same amount of deposit said that they were chasing him for the full deposit despite him not being able to recall seeing that is was a low deposit.When I booked I distinctly remember seeing an offer at that time advertising only £30pp dep if you book now - which doesn't manifest itself as a Low deposit.

The only problem you've got is proving what came up on the screen during your booking process. Do you think it might have said - book today, low deposit only £**** pp. As long as the word 'low' is there, they've got you. Sorry if my reply's a bit long winded but if they're saying it was a low deposit I don't suppose you have proof that it wasn't. What do the payments show on your invoice? Where it says monies received, does it state low dep. However, whatever the case, you will get your money back through insurance. The only problem is you will lose a fair bit in excess.

Good Luck and please keep us updated on the outcome.



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 09:23 
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Do you have insurance? As the holiday was only booked a week ago maybe the OP hasn't got round to getting the insurance yet!



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 09:41 
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Hi

Thanks for all your lovely replies. I am just about to send their customer support an email stating the distance of goods selling act, which i believe they must conform to, below is a bit from the site

Distance Selling Regulations
If you sell goods or services to consumers by:

the internet
digital television
mail order, including catalogue shopping
phone
fax
then you need to know about the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.

The key features of the regulations are:

you must give consumers clear information including details of the goods or services offered, delivery arrangements and payment, the supplier's details and the consumer's cancellation right before they buy (known as prior information)
you must also provide this information in writing
the consumer has a cooling-off period of seven working days.



Hi Chivas, no we did not have insurance as we were going to purchase this from another company

I have also went back through booking the holiday on-line and no where does it show that the deposit is a low deposit, i have screenshot all the images and will be sending it along with the email.

Thanks again for all your help, i will keep you updated

Chris



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 09:45 
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Unfortunately distance selling regulations do not cover holidays as accommodation etc is arranged at the time of booking.



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 09:48 
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not to worry I have sent them screen shots of their own order process which clearly shows what nowhere are you informed that you are only paying a low deposit

Thanks



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 10:03 
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Also keep a copy of everything you send them , another thing check your house or banking terms as you might be covered by them , we have homeowners plus insurance and this covers us and my children for holiday insurance , whether they holiday with us or independantly



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 10:32 
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Good Luck Chris. I hope you get all your money back - yuur reason for cancelling is a legit one :)



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 10:38 
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Taking the screenshots was a great thing to do and is something I now do when booking online!
Is there anywhere on the screenshots that says 'tick here if you've read our terms and conditions'?



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 15:51 
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Congratulations! This might sound a bit extreme, but how are they going to make you pay the extra £160?I doubt they would take you to court for it. It does sound as though you are right, though. I will be interested to read the result of your email to them.



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 17:39 
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I'd also be interested in the outcome, my best friend's dad has also just had to pay an extra couple of hundred quid to be able to cancel his holiday. Reason for cancellation - he's just lost his wife. The heartless sales advisor seemed to take pleasure in telling him he couldn't transfer the money already paid to another holiday. I'm quite frankly disgusted that this is allowed.



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 18:00 
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Latest Holiday Review:
Riviera Hotel
This is a warning for people to have insurance in place when they book a holiday.
A members farther recently lost £1,789,the total cost of a holiday he could not go on because of ill health.
I am nearly always asked when I book a holiday who my insurer is.
Congratulations Jesse to you and your wife. :tup



PostPosted: Feb 22nd, '09, 18:10 
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I don't think people realise the importance of having travel insurance in place at the time you book your holiday. It is all too easy to say "I'll sort it out in a day or two". Who knows what is going to happen immediately after you book? This is where an annual policy is a good idea (providing you renew it of course.)

Re low deposits. I would imagine that somewhere in the terms and conditions or the brochure that it states how much the deposit is - if you pay less than that then it is most likely a 'low deposit'. I don't do package holidays anymore - preferring the diy approach so I am not an authority on the terms and conditions of tour operators and travel agents.

Pippa



PostPosted: Mar 1st, '09, 09:40 
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Hi All

Just thought i would update you on the outcome. On Wednesday this week i got an email back from Thomas Cook's support team stating bluntly that they cannot change the companies terms and conditions for me. So I called their support team(ready to let of some steam) and got put through to their Asian call centre, the girl I spoke to was lovely, I told her that I was not paying the extra £160 that they were looking for, that I accept that I have lost the deposit I have already paid, after along time on hold she came back to me and said "OK your holiday is now cancelled" (i thought yeh right), but sure enough this weekend I have received confirmation by post that my holiday has been cancelled and the cancellation fee is £82 (the amount i paid for my deposit).

Thanks to everyone for their advise and help and it just goes to show if you just keep on at them eventually they get fed up with you and give in!!!! :D

Chris



PostPosted: Mar 1st, '09, 10:47 
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Congratulations Chris! :tup

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PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '09, 01:15 
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I find when talking to call centre staff its all pot luck who you get and how helpful they are.

Good luck Chris



PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '09, 09:36 
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I had a holiday booked with first choice and we have already paid £1000 off the total balance

Similiar situiation my Wife is expecting our second child and we could not really go long haul because of the pregnancy so I rang first choice and they have told me we can transfer the holiday for £35 per head and take a new holiday from one of their packages upto April 2010.

We wanted to use that money to take our 5 year old to eurodisney before the baby was born but First choice said no because it has to be their package and they do not do a eurodisney package.

Now for those of you who have read my first choice weddings complaint, you will know I am not first choices biggest fan. However I find the £35 transfer fee reasonable but I dont fully understand why we cant use the money to go to eurosdisney?

Can anybody shed some light, are First choice in their rights to only offer one of their packages?

JB



PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '09, 10:03 
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I would imagine they are - unless you are covered on your insurance? If you can't manage the long haul trip what about using up the money to take your family to Spain? How about Port Aventura in Salou:- http://www.portaventura.co.uk/ FC go there.

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PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '09, 10:31 
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I'm inclined to agree with Glynis, I think if you are booked on a First Choice Holiday you will need to change your booking to something else with First Choice when you amend as that is probably who you are contracted to.

I've been to both Disneyland Paris and Port Aventura and would say the later is a good alternative to DP. Obviously there is no Micky there although I dont remeber seeing much of him in DP anyway, but they do have characters at PA. The other big advantage PA has over Paris (well for me) is the weather, it's so much better in Spain than northern France.



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