By Alex Glenn • 17 January 2022 • 16:28
Holiday blunder: Panicked Brit left in New York with just £20 spending money.
Michael Hulme had planned the holiday of a lifetime for his partner but was left suffering from panic attacks.
A booking blunder left him with only £20 to pay for all the tourist attractions and sightseeing trips that the couple had wanted to do. Michael had pre-booked his holiday with Hays travel.
When he got to New York though he discovered that that the room had not been paid for. Speaking to Stoke on Trent Live Michael explained: “The trip was a surprise for my partner and a once-in-a-lifetime break as it was somewhere she had always wanted to go.
“I paid for the package holiday in monthly instalments and it was all paid up by March, 2021. But when we got to the hotel they said our room had not been paid for.
“I told them I would ring the travel agent up the next day and I paid a $100 security deposit for the room.
“When we got up the next day and went to do a bit of shopping my card kept getting declined and I couldn’t understand why.
“When we got back to the hotel and checked the banking app it said the hotel had taken $800 from us.
“I went to the reception and they said they had taken the money to pay for the room. They said not to worry and that they would reimburse the money when the travel agent had paid.
“I got in touch with Hays Travel and they said by the looks of it, the holiday had been cancelled and re-booked. But as far as I was concerned it had been paid for. If it had been cancelled why were we still told we could still go on the holiday?
“I think it may have been cancelled and re-booked because of Covid. But the travel agent said they would look into it and see what was going on.
“At 4pm reception rang us. They said the travel agent had sent the payment through and I had been reimbursed – but it can take up to 28 days.
“We were only there for four days and couldn’t wait 28 days, that was our spending money for attractions. I only had $28 left on my card. Thankfully I had $400 in cash that we could use for food.”
Michael was forced to hit his family up for spending money to ensure his partner had the holiday they had both dreamt of.
Michael revealed: “I suffer a bit with depression and my anxiety kicked in.
“You go all that way expecting no problems, but we were stuck out there in this situation and my partner was in tears.
“I was in a right mess, I didn’t know what we could do. I rang the travel agent and they said sorry, and asked if there were any friends or family members that could help us.
“I can’t go round asking my children for money. You’re talking £300 or more and I know they haven’t got that kind of money.
“We got in touch with my partner’s brother and he sent us $400 so we could continue doing the various things we wanted to do in New York.
“We still missed half of the attractions we wanted to do because we couldn’t afford it.
“I spoke to the travel agents when we got back because I was still fuming.
“Someone should be held responsible for what happened to us. I’m not going to use Hays Travel again.
“It was very stressful and I don’t want anyone else to go through the same thing. It just spoiled the holiday.”
Michael was offered a £100 goodwill gesture from Hays Travel. A Hays Travel spokesperson commented: “We were extremely sorry to hear of the mix-up regarding Mr Hulme’s hotel arrangements. We arranged for him to receive a full refund, plus compensation, as quickly as possible.”
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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