The family were eagerly awaiting a break after Joanne’s younger sister, Catherine Clinton, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in June 2019.
Her health deteriorated, leaving her with no choice but to cancel her seat on the trip with OTB, who today offered their condolences to the family but said the problem was due to a system of automated payment.
Catherine’s sister, Joanne, said: “She would never have made a commitment to go on vacation if she had thought she was going to be in the situation she was in.
“She was doing very well and responded to treatment, neither of us expected that when she started to deteriorate. ”
As Catherine’s health worsened, she decided to cancel her place on the reservation, along with her daughter and one of her sisters.
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Before the next payment was due, Joanne asked OTB to remove the three family members from the reservation on June 17.
They were initially asked to pay a fee of £ 30 per person, but OTB later waived the fee as a sign of goodwill.
However, although she said she would honor Joanne’s request, the BTO continued to take payments from her account in June and July for the 11 family members.
Joanne’s sister, Val Allen, said: “My sister canceled them from the booking, but OTB continued to take payments for them which left us struggling to make the payments as my sister who was ill didn was no longer at work.
“On top of that, we were all affected financially due to the foreclosure, but we had to continue to find money for my sister and her daughter as we weren’t convinced OTB wouldn’t be charging others. payments to the account. ”
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Joanne added, “It’s bad enough that they took it in June but in July they took it back. ”
It was around this time that Catherine became extremely ill and was transferred to a hospice, where she died on July 20 at the age of 47.
While in mourning, the family also had to try to sort out their upcoming vacation.
Joanne and her family believed it was likely their reservation would be canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
After booking the trip with ATOL protection, they thought they would get a full refund, along with the payments they had made for the three family members.
On July 27, the Foreign Ministry advised against non-essential travel to Spain, including to the Balearic and Canary Islands.
But nine days before their vacation, Joanne says she still hasn’t received any contact from the OTB.
She claims she made several attempts to contact them, telling ECHO: “It’s frustrating because you can’t talk to them on the phone because you’re constantly on hold.
“We didn’t need the added stress of just trying to get in touch with them. ”
It wasn’t until July 29 that the family heard from OTB and were given the choice to go on vacation “as planned” or cancel and not be reimbursed for their Ryanair flights.
However, if the family chose to continue the vacation, they would no longer have valid insurance due to the FCO warning.
This was a concern for the sisters as their mother, 85, had contracted coronavirus in March and was in hospital for 11 days.
Joanne said: “They expect people to travel and put their health at risk, we are in mourning and with an elderly mother. ”
With no other alternatives, the family decided to cancel their booking, hoping the refund would cover a vacation in the UK.
Val said: “The kids and parents have basically been locked up since mid-March.
“The children had little or no contact with family or friends until more recently at my sister’s funeral and on top of that, we lost our sister.
“In order to maintain the mental health and well-being of the family and children, we felt that the family still needed a vacation stay.
“But we weren’t able to explore that, as we weren’t sure if the holidays would come and the late stage at which OTB finally contacted us.
“In the meantime, staycation vacations have filled up and prices have gone up due to high demand.
On August 18, the family finally received a refund, but they claim that does not include their total expenses.
Joanne said, “It doesn’t match what they refunded us, it doesn’t even cover the stays we reviewed. “
What was On The Beach’s response?
Why did OTB continue to accept payments for three people, even though they had been canceled from the reservation?
Before providing the details below, we would like to offer our condolences to the Dodd family at this difficult time.
Our teams are handling an incredibly high volume of reservation requests and we are working as quickly as possible in a fast-paced environment to ensure that all customer inquiries are addressed and addressed as quickly as possible.
The reservation in question remained online while we waited for confirmation from the hotel that the change requested by the customer could be accepted, our automated system continued to take the installment payment on the agreed date at the time the customer made the initial reservation.
Why did it take until July 29 for the BTO to contact the family about their arrangements when they were to fly on August 5?
The current Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving and evolving. We continue to process unprecedented volumes of customer inquiries and must prioritize these customers due to impending travel.
The travel advice for the client’s destination did not change until July 27, we did not receive any prior warning from the government. The customer was contacted as soon as possible with their options.
Why does OTB not reimburse flights, even though they are package holidays?
In most cases, flights to the affected destinations continue to operate and we are able to offer booked or alternative accommodation to customers.
These two factors mean that in the majority of cases the holidays can take place and therefore neither the execution of the package nor the transport of passengers to the destination are significantly affected (which are the reimbursement conditions set out in Regulation 12 (7) of the Package Travel Regulations).
However, we offer a choice to customers, knowing that some will prefer not to travel.
All affected customers are contacted by our customer service teams, in order of priority according to travel times. If affected customers choose to cancel their vacation, we will offer a full refund of the money we hold (accommodation and transfer fees), and waive all administration fees.
Unfortunately, as most flights continue to operate on a non-refundable basis, On the Beach is currently unable to offer refunds on the flight portion of any booked stay on behalf of its airline partners. However, if flights are canceled prior to departure, we will of course reimburse customers with full flight monies once we receive them from the airline.
Why did OTB suggest that the family continue with their travel plans when it turns out that the hotel they booked would not be open on their arrival date?
It’s a complicated situation with overseas hoteliers still making decisions on when to open. We are in contact with all of our partner hotels and perform pre-departure checks on every booking to ensure hotels are ready to receive vacationers.
Due to the speed at which things change, this can, in rare cases, mean that a last minute change may be needed. If the hotel chosen by a client is not available, in accordance with the package travel regulations, we will provide a suitable alternative and notify them prior to the departure date.
If the client had chosen to travel as planned, we would have been in touch with the details of another suitable hotel.
Why was there no alternative but to postpone the vacation package or the flights offered to the family?
We regret that we are unable to process date change requests at this time. We are handling an unprecedented number of inquiries and our teams work hard to ensure that all clients receive satisfactory solutions to their inquiries, sometimes they are not able to offer new packages due to time constraints.
We are unable to set prices for flights or hotels; airlines and hoteliers set them respectively. Therefore, any price increase caused by a change in vacation dates is the result of the pricing policies of those suppliers and not of On the Beach.
Since summer 2021 is currently in a limited version, quotes can be as much as double the price paid for a holiday 2020 and, therefore, well above the cost of canceling the holiday. As a result, only a very small proportion of the clients cited made a date change.
Can you confirm if the family was fully reimbursed or for the vacation package without the flights.
We can confirm that the refund was made on August 3 for the cost of the hotel.
This has not yet been claimed by the customer. As explained, the customer’s package can still be delivered and therefore we cannot claim the reimbursement of the flight part of the stay from the airline.
This was communicated to the customer at the time of cancellation.