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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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My husband and I took my parents on a short weekend break to

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My husband and I took my parents on a short weekend break to Maastricht to see Andre Rieu, with Newmarket Holidays. We all paid the same price, yet one of the rooms was, according to the hotel receptionist a 'budget room', and budget rooms do not have air con, drink making facilities, fridge etc. The room in question, was designated my parents room as my mum is disabled and relies on a wheelchair, yet we could not get the wheelchair in the room without folding. It was situated on the first floor.
My question is, if we paid the same price, should we not get the same level of comfort? Our stay was completely spoiled with what was meant to be a memorable weekend, turned out to be extremely worrying. It was incredibly hot, and both parents suffered the effects of heat exhaustion, though not long lasting thankfully. My mum has very limited mobility and it was shocking to see her have to shuffle out of her chair to enter the room. We were told the hotel was full and had no other rooms available.
The room we were given had all the comforts one would expect, but was on the 5th floor and even though we offered to swap, the lift barely fit a wheelchair in and my mum was traumatised by the thought of the 5th floor.
My husband travelled on the same trip last year, and our hotel experience was amazing. Which is why we are so upset, that we did not have the same this year. There was no mention that guests on the same trip might experience differing levels of comfort during the stay.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.
Are you saying that you believe that your parents received an inferior room because your mother is wheelchair user?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm saying that all guests on that trip were put in a hotel, which clearly has differing levels of facility. My party (my husband, me, and my parents) all paid the same amount for the trip. On arrival at the hotel, it was evident that my parents room was less than satisfactory after seeing our room. Newmarket knew we had a member of our party in a wheelchair, yet they placed us in a hotel, situated above shops, which meant a lift ride to the first floor, housing the reception and their room. The lift was barely big enough to accommodate the chair, but the room was a 'shoe box', with no air con, no kettle, and very limited room to get around the bed. I immediately expressed our displeasure, but was told there were no other rooms. It ruined our entire weekend, as they were so uncomfortable with the extreme temperature (32 degrees outside). My parents were exhausted and it ruined their enjoyment of our weekend away to see a much longed for concert. I feel they were discriminated for whatever reason.
Disability Discrimination laws may help you here.
If your mother was not given access the same access to services as people who paid the same amount because she is a wheelchair user then this amounts to Disability Discrimination and is unlawful.
If you have not yet raised this as a specific issue with the tour operator yet then you should do so.
If you do not received a satisfactory response then you have the option of not only raising a complaint with ABTA but also of bringing a claim in the UK County Court on the basis that the UK tour operator discriminated against her by allocating the budget room in this instance and for failing to put it right when it became apparent that the room was not suitable to her as a wheelchair user.
IF you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Hello is there anything further you would like to know about this as I note you have not yet rated my answer which is an important part of the process?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, about the delay in my response. We had not thought of this being a discriminatory issue with my mum being a wheelchair user, but now that it's pointed out, it makes sense. There was one other couple on our tour, with a wheelchair user and strangely enough they were allocated another room (but after I had complained) - by this time we were so upset and angry, we had lost the will to fight. Our tour rep couldn't change anything she said, and had none of the official complaint report forms they are apparently supposed to have. I actually phoned the helpline number in UK, and was told someone would get back to me, but of course they didn't.
Thank you for the advice, do you think I should go back to the company or straight to ABTA and arbitration?
I would complain to the company first and contact ABTA if there is no satisfactory response. It is not always obvious that something could amount to discrimination.
I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer before you leave the site, as I am not otherwise credited for my time.
I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.
All the best with this.
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