- Cathy Howard booked a £10,000 getaway for two couples, travelling together
- Their luxury Mexican holiday had a bad start when they were ‘double booked’
- After spending three nights in a cheaper room, they were asked to sign a form to stop them complaining about the change to their holiday package
- They say they still haven’t been refunded for the downgrade in January
A group of tourists claim they were forced to sign a gagging order banning them from complaining about their Thomson holiday on social media.
Cathy Howard, an independent travel agent, made a £10,000 booking for two couples to stay at the five-star Sensimar Seaside Suites in Mexico in January.
However the two couples, who travelled together, claim they found themselves downgraded to standard rooms for three nights due to a ‘double booking’.
Cathy Howard is an independent travel agent who booked a Mexico break for two couples, at a cost of £10,000, through Thomson Holidays
The four holidaymakers were furious when Thomson Holidays allegedly told them they would be refunded the difference, but only after signing a disclaimer that promised they would not complain to the press or on social media.
Cathy has slammed the forms her clients were asked to sign, calling them a ‘gagging order’, and the four tourists have asked to stay anonymous over fears of legal action from Thomson.
One female holidaymaker, from West Sussex, said: ‘My husband and my friend’s husband were forced to sign the form to say we would not complain to the media.
‘We have been left fearful that Thomson will take legal action against us if we speak out about our poor treatment.
‘I don’t think anybody really read it and we didn’t really have a choice.
‘Other people were given the form too which had been printed out and had Sensimar written on it.
‘It stated that we wouldn’t be able to complain to the media. They wouldn’t give us a copy of the form or any other paperwork.’
The four tourists were booked to stay in the swim-up suites for their holiday but ended up staying in standard rooms for three nights
The group said they were offered free meals to make up for the incident, but they had already paid for everything in the all-inclusive package
The tourist said Thomson were to blame for the treatment, and they want their money back for the room they didn’t stay in for three nights.
She added: ‘It wasn’t the staff’s fault – they were just doing what they had been told. I blame Thomson for this because they must have known.
‘On Facebook, complaints about Sensimar are coming through every day.
‘They offered us free meals after we had gone into Thomson and told them we wanted to be compensated, but really, they weren’t free because we had paid for them.
‘They also said they would refund the difference on a money card to spend in the hotel, but it was all-inclusive and there was nothing to spend it on.
‘As we have filled in a disclaimer forms, we are all bothered about being sued by the hotel if we speak out about our complaints.’
The four holidaymakers say they had booked in September 2016 to stay in the premium ‘swim-up’ suites that feature direct access to the pool and the swim-up bar.
They say they are yet to receive a refund for the three nights and almost four days they were forced to spend in the cheaper rooms.
The couples were meant to be staying close to this swim-up bar, but the hotel was double booked. They claim they were only told they’d have a refund if they agreed not to speak to anyone about it
Despite the ‘gagging order’, Cathy insists she ‘won’t be silenced’ over the incident, which she believes was ‘unacceptable’ considering how far in advance they had booked.
Cathy said: ‘I am disgusted with Thomson. They had three nights when they weren’t actually in the rooms they had booked.
‘The fact they had to sign a disclaimer to say that they would not say anything adverse to the public is unacceptable.
‘If it happens in that hotel, if it is an official printed form, then it is not just for one hotel.
‘I just think it is disgusting.
The couples said they haven’t been refunded for the nights in the cheaper rooms even though they signed the disclaimer
Thomson said they don’t have a policy on asking customers to sign forms like the one described and are investigating
‘Thomson still haven’t done anything and the customers have had to take it up with them themselves.
‘They have never been in touch with the customers before that.
‘If they are the only UK travel operator that deals with that hotel in Mexico, how could anyone else have double-booked? Their customer service is diabolical.’
A Thomson spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry to hear of the customers’ experience in resort.
‘As it isn’t within our usual policy to produce such disclaimers, we’d like to thank the customers for bringing this to our attention so that we can investigate the situation.
‘Our customers remain our number one priority and we’d like to reassure holidaymakers that incidents such as this are rare.’
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online