Monday 5 December 2016

'Travel agent refuses to rearrange our first family holiday after my partner's cancer diagnosis'

David Kearns

Published 05/05/2015 | 16:09

Carvoeiro beach in Portugal
Carvoeiro beach in Portugal

A young mother has expressed her frustration with a travel agent following their refusal to move her family holiday to a later date after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

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With only weeks to go before they were due to fly to Portugal, Ruth said her partner was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer following a routine visit to their GP.

Initially given a May date for her husband’s surgery, the young mother said this date clashed with the family's planned week away.

“It was like a balloon popping – everyday there was something new to deal with. He went to see the doctor about a piece of metal in his eye and just happen to mention that there was a lump in his throat,” said Ruth.

“Two weeks later he was diagnosed with cancer and the next day we had a date booked for his surgery. That’s when I contacted the travel agent, because we realised that it would coincide with our week away in Portugal.”

Speaking to RTE's Liveline, the mother of two said the travel agent offered to move the trip to October for an extra €400, but when she contacted them again about accepting this following a successful operation to remove her husband’s tumour; she was shocked by the booking agent’s refusal to honour its previous offer.

Due to fly out this Thursday, Ruth said she contacted the agent this morning to arrange the later October date.

“We booked the holiday in January and it would have been our first holiday as a family,” she said.

“The day after my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I phoned the holiday company to see what they could do for us. They said they could move the holiday to October for an extra €390.”

“But at this stage we didn’t know what October would be like and we didn’t want to throw €400 more towards a holiday we may not have been able to go on.”

Adding: “I didn’t push for a refund but had one been offered, it would have been fantastic. We don’t have a medical card, so each night my husband was in hospital was €75.The holiday money would have paid for this.”

However, following her husband’s successful operation, Ruth said she contacted the travel agent to arrange the later October date, believing it “would be something to look forward to.”

“But when I finally got someone this morning after calling for ages, they said it was too late.”

“We’ve been told now – you can either go this Thursday or not at all,” Ruth said.

“I was told it was too late now to book October as all their suppliers had been paid… but I’ve paid my supplier too and I was willing to pay the extra €400.”

Disappointed with the booking agent’s decision, the young mother told them she would be contacting RTE’s Liveline to speak up about their “heartless decision”.

Told that she would be going public and speaking to Joe Duffy, the travel agent responded with: “Go ahead, you still wouldn’t get a refund.”

Ruth: “We’ve been dealing with a lot inside our doors. We don’t need this added stress. All this money has gone down the drain because the holiday company wouldn’t be flexible.”

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