I have just returned from a really good holiday in Fuerteventura. As a travel agent I know the benefits of booking through a good travel agency. You get financial protection, professional advice, good quality products and low prices. I have been preaching these benefits for a while as well as telling customers that there are risks in booking your own separate flights and accommodation on the internet because if a single part of the holiday is changed or cancelled or the airline goes bust or the accommodation owner sells you a dodgy villa or apartment then because you probably won’t have ATOL protection you could find yourself with a financial loss.However, when my wife found a nice looking house on the internet I agreed that she could book it despite the fact that I had reservations about it.
The house we booked was in a great location and I can’t fault that. The photograghs on the website were accurate. However, after we arrived and had admired the view we discovered that we had no cold water. A phone call to the owner solved the problem as he came out to sort the problem for us. The next day we woke up and decided to go into the local town, Corralejo. There was a problem, however as we couldn’t open the gate as the locked was jammed !
This gate had a high wall on each side so there was no alternative but for me to climb over the wall and try to unlock the gate from the other side. After jumping from a great height I managed to unlock the gate. It was only a minor problem but nevertheless I don’t want hassle when I’m on holiday.
A couple of days later my wife decided to use the washing machine but she couldn’t get it working. It turned out the power to the washing machine was off because of a fault. By this time as well my back was aching because the mattress on the bed was old and very uncomfortable. Half way through the holiday we decided to stay in and use the kitchen to cook a meal and have a bottle of wine whilst watching a DVD. The house owners website advertised the fact that the house had a DVD player. The good news is – the house did have a DVD player, but the bad news is, it didn’t work ! Oh well, no a major problem as I still had my bottle of wine and the lovely view from the terrace outside !
The saga of problems however didn’t end there. The house next door, and with the same owner as ours, had a burst pipe which brought the ceilings down. Some unlucky holidaymakers were due to arrive at the house in a few days so they were going to be in for a nasty shock. Luckily our house wasn’t affected though ….. or so we thought because from that time on we had problems with our hot water. Most mornings and evenings we didn’t have any hot water for having a shower although it did come back on sometimes. We mentioned it to the house owner but he never got round to sorting it out. Two days before the end of our two week holiday the lights in the kitchen went out and there were no replacement bulbs.
The point of this story is that if things go wrong and you haven’t booked through a tour operator then you could find yourself in a situation where you can’t get problems resolved. A tour operator would have resolved this situation and possiby paid compensation.
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