Written on: 02/05/2012
At the end of February, I booked a trip to Barcelona for the beginning of May - flights and hotel.
Flights were a bit more expensive than I would have paid booking directly with Jet2, but it looked like a great deal on the hotel: The Hotel Espanya, just off Las Ramblas, 4 star, stylish...and within budget!
Holidays must be paid in full 4 weeks before departure. 12 days before departure, I get an email: "due to a system error" the hotel they actually booked was the 3 star Hotel Espanya, Calella - almost 40 miles outside Barcelona!
"Apologies for any inconvenience" ???
The options they offered were:
1. go on the holiday they booked, though it's nothing like what we chose
2. look at their website for another hotel (website wasn't even working at this point, searches wouldn't load)
3. Get a refund on the hotel payment and book something else ourselves.
So - they mess it up and WE have to do all the work? Note they weren't even offering a refund on flights.
Furious, I consulted ABTA's website (they say they're members of both ABTA and ATOL). I copied the paragraph about how a company should offer compensation for major changes into my email reply to OTB. Unless they could get us another 4 star hotel in central Barcelona, major change it was.
They replied quite quickly. Did imply that the ABTA ruling didn't apply to OTB because they're "a travel agent, not a tour operator" - but offered a full refund "as a goodwill gesture".
Decided to take the money and run. They're either woefully incompetent or fundamentally dishonest. Hardly a recommendation either way. Just grateful I didn't rack up a huge phone bill as well like so many others!
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