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Friday, 15 June 2012

Compensation

After two offers of compensation from Thomas Cook, I have accepted the third offer in the form of a cheque.

I have had apollogies from Thomas Cook for advertised goods and services paid for in the all inclusive deal being with held and charged for again by the hotellier.  I have also had apollgies for the fact that the hotellier was not ready for holiday makers at the beginning of the holdiay season.

Things are a lot better now for other holiday makers who use this hotel and I have also had tweets from the chef with photographs of the food which has improved vastly.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Official Complaint

I took my detailed letter and photographic evidence to Thomas Cook in the High Street the day after I got back explaining what had happened.  I was told that it would be sent to Customer Services on the Monday and would not arrive until Wednesday.  I was informed that it takes 4 weeks to asknowledge a complaint in writing and a total of 6 weeks to even begin to investigate a complaint.  When I asked why this was, the reply I got was "I don't know".

I emailed customer complaints along with the address of this blog.  I got a response on the Monday informing me my complaint had been esculated and is apparently being urgently investigated now.  I explained further that nearly all of the English holiday makers on that particular week at the hotel were unsatisfied with the holiday and many of them have said that they will complain on there return.  (Other people were taking photos also).

I also contacted www.holidaytravelwatch.net/ who were very helpful with legislation and advice.  Holiday Travel Watch told me that I have done everything correctly and that I certainly am entitled to compensation as I have definately been miss-sold.  Holiday Travel Watch also told me that the blog was a good idea.  I was also informed that Thomas Cook have a total of 28 days to respond properly to my complaint.

I would like to point out again that Thomson dropped this hotel some time ago after a huge amount of complaints and requests for refunds.  They investigated and decided to take The Blanc Palace in Menorca off their books.  Soon after that Thomas Cook signed the Blanc Palace in Menorca up to their books.

I have been informed by the Directors' Office at Thomas Cook that there is indeed a CEO and a several Directors at Thomas Cook.  I was told by the female member of staff at the Thomas Cook shop in the High Street that there were none???

I was also told by the Directors. Office at Thomas Cook that Thomas Cook have 14 days in which to acknowledge a complaint and 28 days in which to respond from the receipt of the complaint.  (Not 4 weeks to acknowledge and 6 weeks to begin an investigation as stated by the female member of staff at the Thomas Cook Shop in the High Street).  The Directors' Office at Thomas Cook appologises for the missunderstanding and incorrect information and advice given by the female member of staff in the Thomas Cook shop in the High Street.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

My Worse Holiday EVER - May 2012

A simple warning to fellow holiday makers.

I booked an all inclusive for my family to the Blanc Palace 2, a 4 star hotel in Sa Caleta, Menorca.  We saved hard.  It was our first and last holiday in years.  I booked with Thomas Cook in the shop.  We have had so many troubles and stresses recently and we were really looking forward to a break in the sun.

The services and goods advertised in the brochure for all inclusive were; 3 meals, early dinner for children, snacks inbetween, icecream all day, cocktails, sangria, beers, spirits, wines, soft drinks, spa, sauna, poo tablel, table tennis, kids club, toddler time, playground, 2 swimming pools each for adults and children.  Also parasols and sunloungers by the pools.  (There was also a photo of soft play in the brochure, which we assumed was part of the all inclusive too as it was used to advertise the holiday at this hotel).

We arrived at the Blanc Palace at 3pm on the Friday.  Lunch was finished, the only snacks available were biscuits.  When I asked politely for these for my hungry children I was ignored.  There was no icecream, no cocktails, beers were small.  (Only one beer at a time per person).  Dinner was at 7:30pm and when we saw what it was we were dissapointed.

The next day the breakfast was not much better.  Snacks were calamari and cheese.  (Not a child friendly snack, not much selection).  Lunch and dinner were disgusting.

Here is a list of the foods available at meal times;

Breakfast - bread, boiled bacon, beans, chips, frankfurters, hard boiled eggs, fried eggs, cold processed meats, processed cheese, tomatoes, garlic mushrooms, cakes, crossants, biscuites, sugary yoghurt, sugary cereals, fruit.

Lunch - dogfish, burgers, frankfurters, chicken, pork chops, carrots and peas, broccolli, vegetable lasagne, iceberg lettuice, standard tomatoes, tinned sweetcorn, olives, pickles, hard rolls, packet soup.

Dinner - paella, pasta, dogfish, pork, fish fingers, chicken nuggets, beef, chips, vegetable lasagne, iceberg lettuce, standard tomatoes, tinned sweetcorn, olives, hard rolls, packet soup, broccolli, carrots and peas.  Soup was made from the packet, (there were undissolved lumps of soggy powder still floating in it).

All was on a daily rotation and extremely salty.  Most was stewed.  Desset was jelly, angel delight and icecream.

I complained to the rep and the hotel management on a daily basis and all was very stressfull.  Staff were rude and ignorant.  I had to keep going to see the hotel manager to get anything done.  (I was carefull to be polite and diplomatic with my complaints as I did not wish to appear rude).

The pool and table tennis had coin slots, the spa and sauna had to be paid for.  If we wanted cocktails we had to pay for them.  (This had all been advertised as part of the all inclusive we had purchased).

The English kids club was really good and the kids club reps were excellent.  As we have a 2 year old and a 3 year old we wanted the soft play area, but it was non-existant.  My 2 year old was not old enough for kids club, there was no toddler time as advertised. 

Only one adult and child swimming pool was open.  It took 2 days to open the playground.  Half the wooden decked sunbathing area around the open pool was closed off as it was dangerous.  The reason for this was a baby and a child had got huge splinters in their feet and a doctor had to be called out for them.  It took 3 days to get parasols to shade the children, as they were locked away in storage.

Half of the hotel was not fully built yet.  We were supposed to be in the Blanc Palace 2 but got put into the Blanc Palace 1 as it was not yet built.  That is why not all of the pools were open.

The water was off on the Monday between 9am and 2pm.  When we went to shower in the evening the water was cold and brown.  The air conditioning was not working anywhere in the hotel, it was very warm and uncomfortable.

Other guests and myself managed to get the dinner time moved forward to 6:30pm by complaining again and again.  (There was far too much of a gap between lunch and dinner for all the children at the hotel and all the parents were complaining).  If the childrens' option was open for early dinner as advertised this would not have been neccessary.  Oddly the hotel 2 managers that I spoke to denied being the managers.  Icecream at snack time before lunch was available by the 5th day.  Snacks had also got better, but were still only biscuites in the afternoon.  The pool bar didn't open until 3 days into our holiday.  Cocktails were finally available on the last 2 nights.  It took a visit from the Thomas Cook manager to sort things out a bit.  The terms and conditions from the brochure had to be brought to the meeting.  The hotel manager was refusing to budge for the rep and that is why it was neccessary for the Manager at Thomas Cook to attend.

My 3 year old daughter managed to lock herself into the toilet at the pool side.  I was panicking.  I kept asking for the key.  Staff didn't seem bothered and took a full 10 minutes to get the key.  We were all very distressed by this time.  I was consistantly and deliberately ignored by staff.  When I asked for Sangria the bar lady made it with just wine and soda.  I explained how it was made, (obvioulsy with spirits), she pretended not to understand.  I said that she was Spanish and as it was a Spanish drink she surely knew how to make it.  She understood that and promptly accused me of being racist which I was very upset about.  (I am not racist and was not trying to upset her).  I had to call the manager and then Sangria started to be made properly.. 

I was really ill with a stomach upset for 2 days due to the food and my blood pressure was high due to all the stress and uneccessarily overload of added salt to the food.  (I suspect all the salt was thtown at the food to disguise the fact that the ingredients were of poor quality and not fresh).  Too much salt is also very dangerous for young children.

The beach had excessive seaweed.  (It should have been cleaned for the holiday makers in time for the holiday season).  We therefore could not use the beach.  I was told by another holiday maker that the beach further up was the same.  There was wasn't much in the way of shops, bars, restauraunts, ect. 

By the end of the holiday I was stressed, ill, depressed and exhausted.  It was not a holiday at all.  We spent a fair amount of money on this and we are bitterly dissapointed.  I can safely say that it is the worse holiday I have ever had in my whole life.  I am in no doubt that we were definately miss-sold.

I have taken photos and submitted a complaint in writing to Thomas Cook.  It will take 4 weeks for an acknowlegement and 6 weeks to even begin to investigate.  When I enquired as to why it takes so long the answer I got was "I don't know".


Please note that I was not the only customer complaining, we all were.  (Especially the ones with children as everything was stressfull and lots of things were dangerous.  One baby was sick all night from the food.  My son was also sick all over the table in the dining room after eating the breakfast.  Two children got splinters from the decking).  Many customers were unhappy and the rep was receiving many, many complaints.  This is the reason for the management meeting with the hotel management and the Thomas Cook manager.  Everybody I spoke to were also complaining about this holiday on their return.

I have had some lovely holidays in Spain in the past, some all inclusive, some half board, some full board.  I have never experienced food, drink, service and amenities of such poor service on any of my previous holidays.  The paella that I have been served in Spain before has been very good and the meat, fish, poulty and salad have been exceptionally good.  The salads have been varied and all the ingredients have been fresh.

* Since writing this post I have found out that Thomson had taken this hotel off of their books some time ago after many complaints and a lengthy investigation. The next summer Thomas Cook had signed this hotel up to their books. *

Now in June I have noticed that the Head Chef of The Blanc Palace in Menorca has tweeted some new photos of the food.  I am glad to see a definate improvement.  It looks great!  (I just wish the food was of that good quality when my family stayed there).  Also somebody tweeted me that stayed in the Blanc Cottage next to the Blanc Palace and said that he had a great time.  I am glad that things are improving.
My complaint has been lodged with the Directors Office and is currently being investigated.