Moneywise fights for your rights - Thomson and BT
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Thomson let us down on our way home from Crete
This complaint is actually my own, following a trip to Crete.
At the end of June, I went with my husband on a package holiday with Thomson. We had an enjoyable six days at the five-star Aquila Porto Hotel in Rethymnon – and we really felt relaxed and rested when we headed for the airport on the last day of our holiday.
Our Thomson Airways flight was due to take off at 11.20pm, but at around 10.30pm there was an announcement to say that it had mechanical problems.
At 12.45am, we were told that the plane was ready, but that the air crew’s shift had ended and they could not work for health and safety reasons.We would be taken to a hotel and would fly the next day.
When we arrived by coach at the hotel, there was already a queue of around 100 people on the street outside.
A group of teenage girls in the queue were crying because they had spent all their euros, and a bottle of water cost €1 at the hotel, but there were no Thomson reps to help them.
It took over an hour to get checked in, finally getting to bed at 3.30am. Two hours later, we woke up to the sound of lorries whizzing past our balcony window – our room was on the junction of three roads.
The room was basic and the water and electricity packed up in the morning while people were showering. We were eventually put on a flight home at 4.30pm that day – by which time all the benefit of the holiday had slipped away.
It's good to know that if a flight is delayed or cancelled, you may be able to get compensation under the Denied Boarding Regulation if you’re travelling with an EU airline that landed at an EU airport, or where the flight departed from an EU airport, regardless of the airline.
The regulation states that the airline has an obligation to offer you assistance if your flight is cancelled or delayed for some time. In my case, any flight within the EU over 1,500km (932 miles) with a delay of more than three hours meant that we were entitled to a payment of €400 each.
A spokesperson for Thomson said: “We were sorry to hear that Ms Nemeth and her husband were disappointed with their experience. Thomson Airways operates a fair and thorough process to deal with EU Delay Claims in line with regulations. We can confirm they will receive delay compensation and a gesture of goodwill.”
While Thomson reps handed out letters explaining the reason for the delay to some passengers as they disembarked, it made no mention of flight delay compensation. Instead, it just mentioned claiming on holiday insurance.
In reality, insurers will pay out much less than you would get from Denied Boarding Regulation compensation. I think Thomson should be much more up front in providing this information to passengers.
In addition,Thomson did offer us a £200 voucher towards another holiday to be booked within 18 months – I think that’s a fair offer.
Outcome: €800 flight delay compensation plus £200 Thomson voucher.
BT kept the £50 it owed me for over a year
At the end of April 2015, I received a letter from BT saying that I had missed a payment and needed to pay £50 and that unless I paid it, an appointment the next day to fit fibre-optic broadband would be cancelled.
I paid it straight away, and BT said this would be refunded in six months if subsequent payments were paid on time.
When I later looked at my billing history, it did not show any late payments. I queried it in July 2015 via its online chat, BT agreed and said it would refund £50.
Since then, I’ve spent hours trying to get a refund and have been treated with a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude.
I finally got the £50 back in June 2016. I would like compensation from BT for the time I’ve spent sorting this out.
This is a good example of how it pays to persevere, as it seems likely that BT would not have refunded the £50 without ME’s dogged persistence.
When I spoke to BT, a spokesperson said: “We’re sorry for the delay in providing ME with a refund for his broadband deposit.We will be offering him a goodwill gesture as an apology for the time it has taken us to resolve the issue.”
BT initially offered ME £50, but he wasn’t happy with this and was considering taking his case to the communications ombudsman. I advised him against it as I thought it was unlikely to succeed now that BT had repaid the money and had offered compensation.
Instead, he contacted BT to see if it would improve his current contract. It has now agreed to add BT Sport and HD free of charge for 12 months. It has also agreed to refund one month’s line rental.
ME says:“I think this is about as good as I can get. I will most likely leave BT when my deal ends.”
Outcome: £115.99 (£50 compensation plus improved contract).
If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.