Woman's shock after hotel 'had no record of €2,500 five-star holiday booking'
'They said there was absolutely no booking'
A woman has described her shock after paying over €2,500 for a five-star holiday online, and being told the hotel had no record of her booking.
Speaking to Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline, Helen McGrath said she paid almost €2,000 on a hotel room in a five star hotel in Marbella, Spain through booking website Alpharooms.com
However, Helen claims when she checked with the hotel to see if the reservation had been made, she was told they had no record of any booking made under her name.
She said she was also told by the hotel that this had happened several times with people booking through the same booking agent.
In an attempt to save her holiday, Helen said she paid an additional €700 to Alpharooms on a second room in a different hotel, or they would have lost the €1868 they paid.
"Eventually they gave me a new hotel but he did tell me there was no point doing nothing else, I either had to take it or do nothing," Helen explained.
However, she said she was then told the second hotel had no record of any booking being made.
She claimed she has now paid €2575.23 in total and has no booking for her holiday, for which her and her daughter are to fly out to next week.
"They said there was absolutely no booking, nothing," Helen said.
"If I had a few children and I arrived at a hotel with a few children, and I know a lot of people wouldn’t have a lot of money to book another hotel, they’d be left stuck in the middle of nowhere."
Helen said she tried repeatedly to call Alpharooms in an attempt to resolve the issue. She eventually got through to somebody, but he had no solution to the problem.
"As soon as I said that there was some law, they said if I mentioned law they’d put the phone down and not talk to me at all.
"I’m due to go on the 19th of June and I still don’t know where I am at the moment. There should be something to protect these people when they book these holidays.
"I spent 3 days, 12 and 13 hours a day trying to get through them. They just pass you from one to the next and hang up, but if you were making a booking they’d answer immediately."
The first hotel offered Helen an alternative apartment to stay in, but Helen refused due to her fear of claustrophobia preventing her from using lifts.
"I didn’t book an apartment. I booked a five-star hotel," she said.
"It’s totally ludicrous. It’s a crazy situation."
Helen said she has also been told by Alpharooms she will incur cancellation fees if she attempts to cancel anything.
In a statement issued to Independent.ie, Alpharooms Managing Director Chris Thorpe said that this problem occurred due to a technical issue, and that her original choice of five-star hotel has now been confirmed.
"Customer satisfaction and the booking experience are priorities for us.
"We have been made aware of and resolved a specific technical issue which unfortunately resulted in a customer booking not being received by a particular hotel.
"Throughout the investigation we were in direct contact with the customer affected who has now had her booking at her original choice five-star hotel confirmed, and an upgrade has been arranged for her by Alpharooms as a gesture of goodwill."
"In addition the difference incurred to stay in the five-star hotel from the mistakenly booked four-star has been refunded by Alpharooms," he added.