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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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We went on a coach holiday and left on the morning of the third

Customer Question

We went on a coach holiday and left on the morning of the third day as it was horrendous. We stuck on the coach for 12 hours on the first day, couldn't sleep at night as the walls were paper thin and could hear everything from loud music to people going to the toilet. Our trips were not as expected (said we would visit and island only to find out that we would go on a passenger ferry to the island but weren't allowed off the ferry) etc. We left and went somewhere else so we would at least have half a good holiday.
We emailed the company when we returned saying how awful it was and we didn't want to leave a review online until we had given them chance to respond.
They send a one line email asking what we wanted them to do. We said a refund would be more then fair as we had incurred extra expenses leaving with the trip being so bad. They then said they would respond.
We got a letter in the post today from the MD saying we are trying to extort money out of them, blackmail them so we don't put lies on line about the company. That we are working with someone who lived 2.8 miles away from us who the MD is in contact with to try and defraud his company. With all his information and 'proof' all he has to do is contact our local police and we will be arrested. He will then take the greatest pleasure in exposing all of us as dishonest fraudsters in a Scottish court or law.
We have no idea what he is on about, we made a complaint about how rubbish the holiday was. We have no idea who he is on about who lives 2.8 miles down the road from us who has said they are in on this 'fraud attempt'. What can we do? I am not happy to leave this and want to take action against him and his lies
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Do you live in Scotland?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi


No we don't live in Scotland, we live in West Yorkshire. The holiday was with a company called Highland Heritage who are based in Scotland. I can send you all the email we sent them and a copy of the letter they sent us if this will help.


Thanks!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Our email sent to the company complaining:


To Whom it May Concern,






I am writing to you regarding the below booking and trip I recently went on from the 22nd to the 27th June. We had numerous problems whilst on this trip and in the end felt that we had to leave the trip completely.







Firstly, we arrived on time and were on the coach at Huddersfield by 7.10am on the Saturday morning. However as the day progressed it was clear that it would take the rest of the day before we would even reach Scotland (taking us over 4h30 to drive past Lancaster - I myself frequently make this trip in 1h30). We had to stop for unreasonably long amounts of time all the way up to Scotland, eventually changing coach at an independent service station which although nice was ridiculously busy due to the number of Highland Heritage coaches currently there meaning there was no seats and passengers ended up having to stand around for an hour. When we eventually reached the hotel we had been on the coach for nearly 12 hours.







When we finally arrived at the hotel and went to our room, it became clear that the walls were extremely thin. We were able to hear people walking down the corridor outside our room - the floor was extremely creaky. We could also hear our neighbours conversations, when they opened and closed a drawers, the TV and even (which was most unacceptable) people going to the toilet.







After dinner at the hotel we just wanted to get some sleep and recover from the horrendously long coach journey that day. However it seemed we weren't going to get this opportunity. We were on the second floor and yet we could hear the entertainment down in the bar which was extremely loud, until 11.45pm when it finished. We then had a parade of other guests walking past our door chatting, whistling and singing - we could hear it all due to the thin walls. Furthermore the people directly above us seemed to be walking around their room half the night until about 2am and as the floor was extremely creaky it became impossible to get any sleep until they stopped. Finally after 2am we were able to finally get some sleep however again at 6am we were awoken by the same guests above us moving around. Therefore on less than four hours sleep and 12 hours on a coach, we were exhausted.







On the coach journey up to Scotland the day before, we had been told not to get off the ferry when we went to Mull on the Sunday. We had been led to believe that we would be spending some time on the isle of Mull from your own website. You say: "The trip to Oban takes us through the Pass of Brander and by the Falls of Lora to Oban, here we catch the 12 noon boat to Mull and return to Oban at 2.00 pm." Now, this implies that we would be on the Isle of Mull for some time however it became clear on the trip that we wouldn't be visiting Mull at all, we would be looking out of a window at Mull on a transport ferry which just seemed to be a complete waste of time. You cannot claim that we visit Mull when all we do is look at it through a window. This was the main trip we were looking forwards to was Mull, but we never even got to experience the island. Furthermore, we arrived in Oban at 10.30am - we had to be at the ferry port at 11.30am however walking around Oban it became clear that nothing was open until midday due to it being a Sunday and so all we could do was sit and wait for the ferry to turn up in a massively overcrowded ferry port again. After an extremely boring ferry journey in the pouring rain, we had two hours to spend in Oban.







After it became clear to us that the only island we were even going to visit was Bute however we had to pay extra for this and were only informed that we could only pay for this trip by cash on the coach home - therefore anyone who hadn't realised this wouldn't be able to go and would be left back at the hotel with nothing to do for the rest of the day. While we were going to visit Loch Lomond, again this was the only loch we were truly going to visit - driving past numerous lochs does not mean we visited them. As this is the case, I feel that calling this trip Lochs and Islands is completely misleading as in reality (if you don't pay the extra money for the optional trip - which you don't really have a choice but to go on because there isn't anything else to do around the hotel) you only visit one island and one loch. Even another guest who we talked to that evening commented that the ferry journey was extremely boring and they said that they would never go on another coach journey after this experience as they also felt that the online information about the trip had been misguiding.







After realising just how unvaried and false this trip had turned out to be, and after another sleepless night due to similar noises as those stated on Saturday night we felt that we had no choice but to leave in order to just get some sleep! We therefore walked up to the train station in Dalmally on Monday morning and left. We did not expect to be subjected to such a disgraceful coach journey, paired with complete mis-information about what exactly was involved with this trip and finally the horrible environment which made it impossible to sleep. We have not yet left reviews online as we would like to first hear your response to our comments. We used up our holiday periods at work, and quite frankly that seems like a complete waste, never mind the complete waste of money. We could not even manage to get to half way through this horrible experience because we were just too exhausted and therefore felt that we had to leave.







We look forwards to hearing your response.







Thank you.



Highlands Heritages response:



Dear Miss Logush



I note your email with the greatest concern.



So that this matter can be resolved immediately, will you kindly forward what you require as a satisfactory response.



Yours sincerely



Jackie Colman


Customer Services Manager


Highland Heritage



Our response :



Dear Mrs Colman,

We (me and my sister) are requesting a full refund as our holiday was completely spoilt. We also incurred extra expense due to us having to change our holiday plans and therefore feel this is more than fair.

Yours sincerely,



Highland Heritage Response :



Dear Miss Logush



Please be advised that we are dealing positively with your correspondence.



Yours sincerely


Jackie Colman



Our Response :



Dear Mrs Colman,

Can you please clarify what 'dealing positively with your correspondence' means?

Yours sincerely,



Highland Heritage Response :



Dear Madam



Your reply is in the post and you should receive it tomorrow.



Yours faithfully


Ian Cleaver


Managing Director


Highland Heritage Ltd



The letter received from Highland Heritage on Saturday:



Dear Madam


I am in receipt of your emails.


I have fully investigated the details of all your various statements and interpretation of the company brochure.


I have further interviewed the hotel manager and staff and looked at your initial booking. I have also consulted my legal team and the hotels cctv records.


You let the hotel after two nights, without explanation or complaint other then it ‘was not for us’. At no time was a complaint registered with the hotel manager as is required by the 1992 distance selling directive and by the companys terms and conditions, which are all clearly laid out in the highland heritage website and also on the documentation sent out to you.


In your email, you clearly set out that you will make online reviews in social media which would be highly damaging to this company unless you receive a satisfactory ‘’response’’. To this end I emailed you to establish what you meant by a ‘’satisfactory response’’. You duly replied that a ‘’full refund and expenses’’ ‘’is more than fair’’.


I have, therefore established beyond a scintillia of doubt that that you will publish false information detrimental to this company unless you receive considerable funds. This is called blackmail or extortion or ‘’attempt to defraud’’.


This is a very serious matter for which you could very easily be arrested and appear at a Scottish court of law or be subject to a civil action by this company for damages.


So that you understand what a serious position you have placed yourself in, I have established that you are acting in consort with another party with whom I am in contact and who lives 2.8 miles from you. This establishes that you are acting together with this party and this then becomes a ‘’conspiracy to defraud’’.


With all this information and proof concerning you and your fellow conspirator, I can make a simple complaint to the local police and you will be arrested or I can take a civil action against you.


You may be assured that if I ever hear from you again, I will take the greatest pleasure in exposing both of you as dishonest fraudsters in a Scottish court of law.


Yours Fraithfully


Ian Cleaver


Managing Director


Highland Heritage LTD


 


 


We are totally shocked by this letter and have no idea what he is talking about. We don't know who the person who he says lives 2.8 miles from us. I don't know why we are trying to defraud him by asking for a refund. His quotes aren't even proper quotes from the emails, he is just making everything up


Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Possibly someone else close to where you live has made a similar complaint. This weakens their case, not strengthens it.

Your remedy is to sue these people for your outlays on the basis of breach of contract. There are implied terms in every contract about standards and they appear to be in breach of them.

As this is a consumer contract you should be able to sue in a court near you as opposed to the Scottish courts. Also note that the distance selling regulations don't apply to holidays. The director of the company's email is nonsense and he has made it up as he is going along.

Happy to discuss further.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. Can I ask, are we entitled to write reviews about this holiday on sites such as trip adviser? We are not out to tell any lies, just say what happened. If the holiday was good we would not have packed our bags in the morning when we were exhausted after all the travelling and hardly any sleep due to the noise, and walk to the local train station and leave.


I really feel like going to watchdog and other things like that so people might find out how awful they are. With the coach holidays being mainly for elderly people I hate to think that they are treating them like this if they dare to complain. I've already seen online that other people have complained and received arrogant replies making them out to be liars. Am I allowed to show this letter we received from them to anyone I choose and post the letter online?

Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Yes you can on both counts. As long as you don't post anything untrue you can post your experiences and their letter online.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That's great. Can we address his accusations of us being fraudsters and liars? If we do take things further legally this is one thing we want to address.


 


Do you think anything we said in our emails could be interpreted as us trying to get money out of him or trying to commit fraud?


 


I just want to make sure they couldn't try and twist what we said if we take this further.

Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Yes you can in the context of the manner in which he deals with customer complaints in a bullying and intimidating manner.

Nothing in your communications suggests anything other than a genuine complaint. Ad it was his office that asked th rather stupid question "So that this matter can be resolved immediately, will you kindly forward what you require as a satisfactory response."
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi


 


Sorry I haven't rated yet. I just want to speak to my sister about it and see if she has anything she would like to ask. Shes just away at the moment. I haven't forgotten, will give a very good rating as soon as I've checked with her.


Thank you again

Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
No problem, look forward to hearing from you.

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