Here is the latest in our Travel Republic holiday booking fiasco. I called the Hotel Massimo in Viareggio, and spoke in French to the staff. They speak French in that part of Italy as well as Italian. This hotel, which Travel Republic had booked us into, and taken our money for, was able to confirm to me that they have had no availability in August for some months, and they have no idea why Expedia, Travelscape and Travel Republic are still taking bookings on their hotel. I am fluent in French with a smattering of Italian.
We have fallen victim to an elaborate internet scam, it seems, being perpetrated by some very big names. They leave family-attractive hotels online which are already fully booked, in order to get people hooked in. Once they’ve got your money, it is the devil to get it back again, as the flights are ‘not refundable’, not being part of a package holiday.
Most would accept an alternative rather than face a loss of hundreds of pounds (about £700).
My wife is not like that!
She says the Hotel Massimo was ideal for us being 2 minutes from the beach, having two young children, while the alternative offered Hotel Spinelli is 15 minutes from the beach is not suitable (Would you believe the ‘distance from the beach’ claim anyway, being made by people who are proving marginally honest at best). We are unable to accept the alternatives offered. The other one they offered was £7000 which is a little outside our range, and just bloody cheek. The one we booked, Massimo, was £700 for four nights.
I could call the Spinelli too, but as yet have not done so. It would surprise me to find that that’s also booked out and it’s just a face saver for Travel Republic.
This is all a good scheme to make money, but not great for your reputation to be accepting online bookings for a hotel which was sold out months ago, leaving your customers high and dry.
We are now being told we need to wait another 48 hours while they look for other alternatives. What will those be, and where? Viareggio is sold out bar the most expensive hotels I would suggest.
We have asked for a full refund of all our money including the flight. The girl we spoke to at Travel Republic, Rebecca said she will look into that. If they don’t refund the flight, we face a £700 straight loss.
In these circumstances I would suggest never using an online travel agent ever. They are a scam.
Travel Republic emphasise that they accept no responsibility for this situation as they are acting agents for Travelscape.
‘Call Travelscape then’, we suggested.
Meanwhile I’ll keep blogging this until we get an answer and know what’s happening. The only thing that seems to make them go quiet is exposure on social media. Pass it on please. Travelscape are part of Expedia. They are part of etc etc etc