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100 phone calls Sun-seeker stuck in year-long customer service hell over Covid cancelled holiday refund

Limerick man Hammy Dawson's holiday fell victim to the coronavirus shutdown in March 2020, but 15 months later he still hasn’t seen a penny back


Hammy Dawson

Hammy Dawson

Hammy Dawson

Sun-seeker Hammy Dawson is trapped in customer service hell trying to get back almost €2,000 he forked out for a cancelled trip to Tenerife.

The Limerick man’s holiday fell victim to the coronavirus shutdown in March 2020, but 15 months later still hasn’t seen a penny back.

He booked through Teletext Holidays, a UK-firm where it has been warned it faces legal action if it doesn’t start paying back £7 million to people whose booked holidays were cancelled.

“I’m fit to snap. I spent four hours and 37 minutes holding on the phone last night listening to crap music,” he told the Sunday World.

“They were supposed to refund me last August. I spoke to Ryanair this morning they said they refunded them €1,037 they charged for the flights last July.”

“They told me they refunded them because they had booked on my behalf.”

The Canary Island hotel where Hammy had been booked stay confirmed to him that they weren’t paid.

“The hotel where I was supposed to be staying, I spoke to them, and they said they didn’t get paid because I didn’t arrive.”

He had decided to use Teletext Holidays because they were offering flights out of Shannon after seeing an ad online.

“I was going to Tenerife I’m living in Limerick and I wanted to fly from Shannon. I’m literally 15 minutes from the airport”.

“I never used them before it just came up on my Facebook and it was a Dublin number I rang. I paid them €1,936 all in one go.”

“You can fly out from Shannon on a Saturday to Saturday, you’re taking five days off work. There’s no taking 7 or 8 days to go for a week staying overnight in Dublin for an early morning flight.”

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“That’s what sold it for me, it’s on my doorstep.”

Five days before he was due to fly out with his partner the trip was cancelled because coronavirus restrictions were suddenly put in place.

But now Hammy explained he’s caught in a never-ending loop of phone calls and email requests to supply his details in a bid to get his money back.

He said he has easily made 100 phone calls and sent ‘umpteen’ emails to the firm without any progress being made.

“They’re telling me another few days, another few days. Then they are telling me you need to email details for your refund. I have done that umpteen times.”

“If you ring them they tell you press 2, and you’re left on hold. It’s the same thing, over and over again.”

“They just won’t answer you. If you want to book a holiday press 1 and I did and when I told them what I was looking for they just pressed the button knocked me off.”

“You feel you’re getting nowhere with all the calls. Who do you turn to?”

Teletext Holidays did not respond to repeated queries from the Sunday World this week.

Last week the scale of the problem facing the firm were laid bare when a UK consumer watchdog warned it faced legal action unless it pays back st£7m to customers whose holidays were cancelled.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the delay was “unacceptable” after complaints from people who had not got refunds within 14 days, as required by law, for cancelled package holidays.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli told the BBC earlier this month: “There must be no more delays to Teletext refunding customers for holidays they could not take because of the pandemic.

“It is unacceptable that many have already waited months for the refunds they are legally entitled to. We take very seriously the ongoing failure of Teletext Holidays to meet its obligations.”

“The firm must now comply with the law and commit to refunding its customers. If it does not do so, we will not hesitate to pursue this case in court.”

Teletext Holidays had said in statement to the BCC it was “extremely disappointed” with the CMA’s actions.

“Teletext Holidays have consistently stated our commitment to refund all customers as quickly and practically as possible.”

“We have been in continuous dialogue with the CMA providing evidence of why the refund process has been delayed.”

“We have also provided real time plans on how and when we can refund all customers. Therefore, we are extremely disappointed with today’s CMA announcement that seemingly ignores the reality of the challenges we face through no fault of our own.”

According to the Citizens Information in Ireland customers whose package holiday is cancelled is entitled to a replacement holiday or a full refund within 14 days,

The coronavirus pandemics hugely disrupted international travel since March 2020, although it now appears trips within Europe could allowed by the end of July.

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