Written on: 27/04/2007 by whgc (1 review written)
Easy to use website. Low cost holiday
Poor customer service
I booked a 9 day package in Crete for 3-people, which included flights and B+B apartment accommodation. Website and payment were easy. It seemed very good value at just £160 per person. The day after paying online, I got a call from them asking me to pay an extra £10 per person in flight duty, since the duty had just been raised by the chancellor, and they had not yet got around to amending their website. I paid it, because I had seen a lot on the TV about the new tax.
However, a day later I learned that the extra tax is not payable if the holiday is booked with a package holiday company, rather than direct with the airline, as the package holiday company is not authorised to collect it. I phoned otbeach customer support, and was told I needed to contact their accounts department, but they could not be contacted by phone, and I was given an email address. I therefore emailed them to ask why the additional money had been charged by them, but got no response. Amazing how unresponsive they can be when they know they are in the wrong. If they had had a good explanation I would have accepted it. I guess the additional £30 went straight into their pockets rather than the treasury.
The holiday went quite well. The apartment was basic, and not the cleanest, but I guess you get what you pay for so that is not really a complaint. The next problem only came on the penultimate day when we learned that otbeach had booked our apartment for a day less than our stay in Crete. Our flight was 4.30 am, but we had to be out of the apartment by midday the previous day.
Had it not been low season, I would not have been able to pay the hotel directly for the extra night (at 20 Euros) and would have had to have myself and my family sleep in the car on a side-street somewhere until check-in time (and a hire car was not included in the package). Anyone else, in high season, without a hire car to be dropped at the airport, would have had nowhere to stay, or put their suitcases, or rest, on the last day of their holiday. With a 3-year-old child, as we had, that is unthinkable.
So my warning is, by all means use otbeach, as they are reasonable value, but check very carefully the small-print, as there is a reason they are reasonable value, and you may pay for it later one way or the other.