HOLIDAYMAKERS say they’ve been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after arriving at “padlocked” Spanish hotels.
One mum says she was so concerned her son would have to “sleep on the beach” she ended up shelling out an additional £600 for an apartment after already paying £1,500 for a hotel that ended up being closed.
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These are just some of the tales Which? says it’s been told by frustrated Loveholidays customers on their first trips abroad after lockdown.
It comes as English holidaymakers can now fly to 73 countries, including Spain and France, without needing to quarantine on their return.
But what was expected to be a welcome break turned into a nightmare for some – with rumours some Brits opted to spend their first night on the beach.
Paul Davis told the consumer group that the gates of the hotel he had booked in Salou, Spain for himself, his partner and their 10-year-old son, were padlocked when he arrived last weekend.
“We walked over to the hotel and I was at reception and it was all shut. So we thought maybe we got the wrong hotel,” said Paul.
“So we walked around the back of the hotel and there were gates with chains and padlocks on. We looked inside the hotel and there were letters on the floor that hadn’t been opened for a while…
“It made us feel quite vulnerable really.”
Paul ended up shelling out £250 to check his family into another hotel after failing to get through to Loveholidays.
He says it was only a day later when Loveholidays confirmed it had moved his reservation to a different hotel in the town.
Loveholidays told Which? that in Paul’s case it hadn’t been informed of the hotel’s closure, and that it will find alternative accommodation before departure where it’s made aware.
But in a similar case, Antonia Lorenzo says Loveholidays failed to provide alternative accommodation for son Lewis and his friends after they discovered their hotel in Magaluf was closed before they flew out.
What are my rights if the hotel I booked is closed?
IF you arrive at your pre-booked hotel to find it closed, your rights differ depending on your booking.
For package holidays
If you booked a package trip and the hotel is closed when you arrived, your holiday company is legally obliged to resolve the issue.
This could include arranging alternative accommodation or a full or partial refund.
If you do have to pay out for anything, keep your receipts and submit a formal complaint to your holiday provider as soon as you can.
Don’t expect to be covered for staying a five-star hotel though, if you’d only booked a two-star accommodation.
For non-package holidays
Contact your travel provider in the first instance.
If you have no luck, or if you booked with the hotel directly, you may be able to claim from your card provider or under your travel insurance.
Credit card providers are jointly liable for purchases of between £100 and £30,000 under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
For credit card purchases of under £100 or debit card purchases you may be covered under Chargeback rules but unlike Section 75 this is not a legal guarantee.
You are however, unlikely to be able to recoup the costs of alternative accommodation.
Antonia says she was left with no choice but to shell out for another apartment the night before the boys’ trip.
She told Which?: “We had to book something or my son could have ended up sleeping on the beach.”
Holidaymaker Sammy Liperis was also left shocked when he arrived at his pre-booked all-inclusive, four-star hotel in the Canary Islands to find it shut.
Unable to reach Loveholidays, Sammy shelled out for an alternative hotel.
When he finally got through the holiday company the next day, he says it could only move him to a nearby two-star hotel and that he’s not had any compensation.
Loveholidays has already come under fire for failing to pay out refunds on trips cancelled due to coronavirus.
While consumer group MoneySavingExpert.com says its readers voted it among the UK’s worst travel companies.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “It is beyond belief that holidaymakers have been left in a position where they have either had to fork out hundreds of pounds for alternative accommodation or risk being left with nowhere to sleep.
“This is the latest in a long line of complaints Which? has received from Loveholidays customers, including many who have been waiting months to get refunds for cancelled holidays.”
A Loveholidays spokesperson said: “We are working closely with all our suppliers to understand which hotels are open for customers but unfortunately some closures were not communicated to us prior to customers travelling to those hotels.
“We wholeheartedly apologise to the affected customers for the inconvenience and distress this has caused. Our customer services team is in contact with them to resolve matters to their satisfaction and ensure that they can enjoy the rest of their holidays.”