Written on: 15/09/2013
We firstly selected flights with Ryanair on Wednesday 7th August 2013 at 16:20 (flight no. FR1802) from London Stansted to Corfu. The returning flights were on Monday 12th August 2013 at 20:50 (flight no. 1803). These were the times advertised on your website, and so we selected them in good faith. We shortly received a phone call from a representative from Holiday Gems called Toky Hassan. Toky explained that these flights had become 'unavailable' (despite them still being on the website) but he could book us on flights on the same days but at slightly different times. The new flights would depart at 16:00 from London Stansted and then depart from Corfu at 20:30 on the same days. Coincidentally, these had the same flight numbers as the flights we had booked in the first instance. This we thought nothing of, Toky seemed to be honest and did stress that it had been difficult for him getting us on different flights at such short notice. Toky charged us just over twenty nine pounds extra for the change in flight times. Upon arrival at London Stansted we realised that the original fights we had selected, that HG had advertised, did not exist in the first place. They were not on the departure board. Toky had lied to us to obtain more money. This is fraudulent.
Upon arrival at Maria's Beach Hotel in Sidari, Corfu, (at 1am after travelling for 10 hours) we were informed by hotel staff that they had never received a booking from HG and that they had been fully booked for quite a few months, and therefore should never have been advertised on the website in the first place. It is false advertising to advertise a hotel that is not taking guests because they (the hotel) cannot fulfil the services that you advertised on www.holidaygems.co.uk. We entered into a legally binding contract with HG and this was broken. We later learnt (via hotel staff of the sister hotel who let us stay for free!) that they had not even attempted to secure the booking for us in the first place.
Before we flew out, we emailed the original hotel and they informed us that they had never heard of our booking. HG was quick to inform us that they wouldn't be giving our names to the hotel until 48 hours before we were due to check in, so of course they had never heard of us. This did seem quite odd, but once again I fell for Toky's 'honesty'. The hotel manager got in touch with HGs Corfu supplier and they replied to him stating that they had made a mistake and were finding us alternative accommodation. We relayed this back to Toky who stated that this was wrong and that the hotel was expecting us - it would all be fine, he said. We then spoke to customer services, who also told us everything would be okay.
Thank goodness for Marias Beach Hotel's manager, George. The hotel was fully booked so he invited us to stay in his other hotel, Angelinas. He even said that if there was no room we could have his suite and he would go home for the duration of our holiday! I don't think you would get that level of customer service in the UK. George got in touch with the Corfu Supplier to try to sort it out, but received no response. As far as we know, George has not been paid for our stay.
So we sent this in a letter of complaint to HG, and they replied pretty quickly. They of course denied every thing and in not so many words, accused us of making the whole thing up. They told us it could take about 10 weeks for this to be resolved. I'm not holding out hope.
All I can do is post this review every where on the internet to let people know what a shady and deceptive company Holiday Gems are.
I guess you get what you pay for!
I will be travelling with more well-known holiday companies in the future.
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