A family on a boat and sightseeing trip shared a story about their child being electrocuted on holiday in Greece with me.
A Mother, her two daughters and 2 year-old baby (grandchild) were on holiday in a hotel booked with Thomas Cook. The baby put her finger in a plug socket, electrocuted herself and the hotel rang for an ambulance to take her to hospital for treatment. The family even said that the hospital was filthy and they felt obliged to clean it up, although they didn’t have the ability to do so.
The hotel presented the family with a bill for €228 afterwards. The hotel offered to reduce it to €100 if they paid it on the spot and signed a disclaimer (in Greek) to say that the hotel was not responsible.
The family refused to sign or pay anything and the Thomas Cook representative just left them high and dry without doing anything meaningful to help them.
Kids will be kids and accidents happen. I am the first to say that and cut a bit of slack, but given that Thomas Cook has not played ball here I would throw the kitchen sink at them for it.
There are a number of consumer laws involved here;
- The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992
- Misrepresentation Act 1967
- Consumer Rights Act 2015
They made a good start on the Package Travel / Holidays legislation by reporting the issue promptly to the hotel, taking photos and raising it with the travel representative at the time. I actually touched on this in one of my first blogs. However, that is where they could start getting lost in trying to resolve it.
The next steps would be to;
- Follow the complaints procedure set by Thomas Cook
- Give them an opportunity to remedy it
- Keep a timeline of events
- Involve ABTA if necessary
The Misrepresentation Act 1967 is perfect for this scenario as it is clear that a fraudulent and negligent representation has taken place at the time this holiday was booked. I say that because it is clear that the hotel is not ‘child friendly’ and whilst kids will be kids and accidents happen, the family would not have booked this holiday if they knew then what they know now.
Finally, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that goods / products should be;
- Satisfactory quality
- Fit for purpose
- As described
It is clear that the hotel does not meet that criteria, given the outline of events that I noted from the outset.
I would normally advise someone where there are numerous consumer laws involved not to use all of their ammunition at once and to play the long game by falling back on different consumer laws to buckle the firm eventually.
However, I would throw everything at them from the outset here given that Thomas Cook were in a bad way financially and their long-term future was in doubt. I would be seeking a full refund and compensation for the distress caused.
I did give this family some advice to help them get some traction on it. There is no way I could cover everything that they needed to know in a quick chat, so I did suggest that they bought my book to resolve it and to contact me if necessary afterwards.
I wrote about the importance of great customer service and spoke about Thomas Cook and Jet2. It’s quite striking that Thomas Cook’s reputation for customer service was mediocre and they were in financial difficulty at the time, whereas Jet2 have won awards for their customer service and are continually expanding and introducing new flights and routes.
Are you surprised that Thomas Cook no longer exists? What bad experiences have you had with travel companies?