Holiday Complaints

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I doubt they've gone into administration - that's a British term and this company is almost certainly not.

The website should ring alarm bells to anyone paying attention - there's no actual address shown and the contact phone number is just +44 because they never got round to setting one up.

It does say they are part of Alice Travel. Both websites were set up using a domain registration service in Arizona that has previously been used by Turkish groups who specialise in fake hotel booking companies. Neither has proper registration details with an address but I can guess where it was leading....

Google shows people all over the place trying to search for Wonderland (Frankfurt was one suggestion) but a search for Alice Travel came back with one site linking them to a Turkish company called Tursab. I'm pretty certain this is yet another of these Turkish operations and you have no chance of getting any money back from them directly or via UK court action.

Your card company was trying it on. What company name appeared on the statement where the money was taken? Your problem now is that you should never have hung around believing all the stories you were given. The card company could now say you are outside the time limit for claims if your original complaint wasn't in writing. If you can prove to them that you did raise this promptly then they should pay up because it would be covered by the Consumer Credit Act. This assumes it is a UK based card issuer for a
card. If it is a Visa backed debit card you would have had cover under Visa rules but may be out of time.

Whether you get the money back or not I would strongly advise that you get the card cancelled and reissued under a different account number.

Many thanks for your reply, I am taking your advice. We did write to the credit card company immediately on return home but they said we did not have proof that there was a breach of contract with this company. We have insisted that we have given them all of the paperwork we have, but to no avail. We tried to claim under the Consumer Credit act 1074, again they said we could not prove that the company had breached contract.

The credit card statement says the amount was paid to wonderland hotels Varna, Bulgaria.
You have mentioned Turkey -- you may be right, the cancellation document given to us by the hotel states web contract- X 2 passengers Market to Turkey. They were using Hotel Beds in Majorca to provide the accommodation.
Can you explain why they were able to operate with Hotelbeds if they were a dodgy company.
Surely Hotelbeds must have realised that all of their bookings made via Wonderland were not been paid for and rooms were needing to be cancelled. I know that this has happened to more people than us.

This has been a learning experience for us, thank you for your help, everyone else beware ! don,t make the same mistake, is still present on the web.

if the credit card company won't pay up in the face of the evidence don't change the card, change the company!! About a year ago we had a similar thing with a car hire booking agency and the card companies were obstructive at the beginning but by the end of the year even radio 4 had caught up with us and were reporting what was happening, by then the card companies were paying up.

Not sure about Hotelbeds, they are pretty much automated and link their database to third party suppliers. It's a good point that their audit controls should have spotted something. And one bit of good news - they may run out of Mallorca but they are owned by TUI Group PLC, so you could write to them and ask for an explanation of how they can let these cowboys in.
Can you explain why they were able to operate with Hotelbeds if they were a dodgy company.
Surely Hotelbeds must have realised that all of their bookings made via Wonderland were not been paid

Not really surprising. I often wonder how companies manage to run up such massive debts before anyone pulls the plug. When I was working the sales ledger was my bible in some ways. If companies did not pay I quickly put a stop on the account.

Just an update on what has happened with regard to our booking with Wonderland hotels ;

Over the past couple of weeks I have been looking at other sites and I was shocked to see just how many people have had their bookings cancelled with this company. There is a large number of people on the Cyclades forum on Tripadvisor who had the same experience as us. A similar pattern emerges - Wonderland wait until the money is received and then cancels the booking with the provider without informing the customer. Then when you arrive at your hotel, you often have to pay the full rate as you panic at having nowhere to stay. This is especially so if you arrive late at night.

I have had a lengthy dispute with the credit card company. After one year, still writing to them and trying other people ie trading standards, I have finally been told my refund will happen. I have had to be really persistant to get a successful result.

I cannot believe that this company, allegedly based in Turkey is still trading despite the number of people who have had this bad experience. It also trades under a number of other different names, all of them similar to well respected companies.

I have tried making their activity known to Watchdog, trading standards, The Daily Mirror investigators, Police Fraud department, etc, and no-one is interested. I was even more shocked to learn that has been operating this scam for 10 years !!! Many thanks to people who have replied to me on this forum, you are the only people who have offered advice.
To everyone else, beware - look carefully at the company you are about to give your cash.
If you do not receive your refund, contact the Financial Ombusdman immediately. They are really helpful and you will get your money refunded, believe me.
UK trading standards and your local police have no reason to be interested, no offence has been commited in this country. It's like getting mugged in Turkey and trying to report it when you get home. If Turkey was an EU member it might have been possible for Trading Standards to do something via the EU co-ordination office - but if Turkey was in the EU this gang would move to an even dodgier country!!

If you want a journalist who might be interested try Simon Calder at the Independent, he took up the Decode car hire thing last year after we'd almost cracked it!

Really it's up to Visa and Mastercard to be more alert when a pattern of complaints starts to appear. Decode must have cost them a fortune before they were stopped.

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