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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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HI. I wanted to take my mother to Winter Wonderland as a treat

Customer Question

HI. I wanted to take my mother to Winter Wonderland as a treat last December, but because she is partially sighted and 80 yrs old, I didn't want to take her by train; I thought a coach trip would be more suitable.
There were no day trips available and it was suggested by a holiday company, that I take her on a special deal which included the coach and overnight stay in a hotel. The coach was to drop us at Winter Wonderland and collect us later in the afternoon, to go to the hotel. I had arranged for us to meet a friend at the hotel and to go out for the evening and take my mother shopping in London the following day. It sounded perfect.
When we got on the coach I took the inside seat, but quickly realised I needed to get out again to take my coat off. My mother got up from her seat and caught her leg on the arm rest (which I didn't recognise as an arm rest as it was a very hard, thin plastic strip that hooked over the side of the seat, on a level with the seat). The sharp corner of the plastic bit into the back of her leg so badly, her tights were pushed up into the wound. I ws unable to attend to her properly, as there was no room between the seat she sat down in and the seat in front of her. It was unsuitable transport for disabled or elderly people to travel on holiday. We had to call an ambulance and spent the next five hours in casualty in Winchester. I had to call a friend to take us to the hotel. My mother was told by the hospital to rest as much as possible, but that she could go to Winter Wonderland if she was careful and had plenty of breaks from walking. We had to get a taxi to and from the hotel and spent most of the time at Winter Wonderland sitting down in a draughty eating area. We tried to take her shopping the following day, but she was in so much pain and quite depressed by the experience. When we returned, I asked the coach company whether I could come and show them what my mother had cut her leg on, but they have made it very difficult. There was another person on the coach, who also hurt herself, although not as seriously as my mother, but the coach company and the holiday company have ignored this. Their response was to accuse my mother of hurting herself before she got on the coach and then blaming them. This was not possible, as my mother would have had to get on the coach with ripped tights and blood pouring out of her. I have asked just for a refund on the cost of the trip, the taxi fayres and my friends petrol to pick us up and take us to the hotel, but they have refused. Where do I go (a) to report the dangerous armrests on public transport; (b) for a return of costs incurred by my mother's injury and ruined holiday.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is Alex and I'm happy to help with your question today.

The claim is for personal injury and the associated expenses.

I think your mother should be claiming compensation for the injury, pain & suffering plus the extra losses you've mentioned.

You should think about getting a solicitor to pursue the claim. Many will deal with this type of claim on a 'no win no fee' arrangement.

If you call the Law Society on 0207 242 1222 they will give you a list of solicitors in your area who do this work.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I forgot to mention; I tried a no win, no fee solicitor and they wouldn't touch it because it was too small and the fact that my mother is ok now.


I feel that to go to a solicitor to try and prove how much pain my mother was in at the time and for a week or so afterwards, might cost more than the total cost of the holiday, if I can't go through a no win no fee solicitor.


I don't believe my query about where to go to report the dangerous armrests, that I believe need to be reassessed for safety, was answered?



Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.

No problem at all.

Usually when somebody suffers injury and loss you would sue the person responsible. But I can understand the issue about costs etc.

The only organisation you can get further advice is the Health and Safety Executive.

Here are their details:


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

HSE is to do with work related injuries, I can't find anywhere to report an incident with regard to an elderly person travelling on public transport.


Since I have already tried the solicitor route, are you saying there is nothing I can do to resolve this issue. Is there no ombudsman for public transport, or isn't there any sort of consumer helpline that would be able to help with a refund on a service that wasn't provided?


There may not be; I have searched on line for all sorts of advice and am unable to find any way of reporting the safety of the coach and/ or someone to help with getting a refund on cost of the trip.




Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.
The only other organisation I can think of is Passenger Focus. Here is their link:

They are an independent watchdog and deal with train, bus and coach complaints.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Alex


Without wanting to seem rude; I should point out that it has taken three attempts so far just to get an email address that I would probably have found myself if I had continued to search on the internet. I didn't expect the only advice offered by a solicitor to be to go to a solicitor; how does that work?


I simply wanted to know how to go about claiming a refund on a service that wasn't fit for purpose. Taking the injury out of the equation, nothing about that holiday was what I had paid for. Surely, there is some law to cover the fact that I had paid for something I didn't ask for?


Can you tell me what the difference in £40 advice and £20 advice is and what I should be paying for please?


I apologise if it is a misunderstanding on my part, but can't see where any advice you have given me will get me a refund on the holiday. Perhaps my problem isn't in your area of expertise?


Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.

I am following up our conversation to see how you got on with the issue. If you need any further help then please let me know - remember I am a qualified UK Solicitor and able to help on most aspects of English Law. I am London based and usually able to respond to your query very quickly.

Alex Hughes
Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.

I do understand the point you're making but in your original question you made no mention of having approached a solicitor. You'd be surprised by the number of people who contact us and have no idea that to make a claim a solicitor should be the first port of call.

To get a refund you have to contact the company. There are organisations such as Passenger Focus who will give you some help and guidance but if a company lets you down then you should contact them directly for a refund. This is your right in law. If you need help drafting a letter then please let me know and I will be more than happy to help you.

If you feel that you have not received a satisfactory service then please do not accept my answers and you will not be charged. If you do accept then I will be more than happy to help you further free of charge until you are satisfied with our service.