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Holiday cancellation 'nightmare'

17 December 2013 10:42

Jean Cartwright suffered a stroke and was unable to enjoy a luxury break in Majorca

Jean Cartwright suffered a stroke and was unable to enjoy a luxury break in Majorca

A luxury holiday which had to be cancelled due to ill health created a financial nightmare for a 77-year-old Yorkshire woman.

Jean Cartwright, of Newsome, was looking forward to a break in Majorca with son Ivan last July.

But she was forced to cancel when she suffered a stroke and was unfit to travel.

The case, which highlights the importance of taking out specialist seniors travel insurance, was finally resolved after Mrs Cartwright's local newspaper, the Huddersfield Examiner, took up her case.

Before the paper's intervention, she was hundreds of pounds out of pocket - despite being entitled to all her money back, according to her daughter Isobel.

She said the holiday was cancelled two weeks before the departure date and the family supplied copies of certificates from Calderdale Royal Infirmary to holiday company Thomson First Choice.

Isobel was subsequently embroiled in lengthy wrangling trying to get compensation and official documentation.

She emailed and telephoned the company's head office numerous times before going to its travel hypermarket in Leeds Road, Huddersfield.

She said the staff there were extremely helpful and eventually Thomson First Choice refunded £650 of the £1,300 cost.

They promised to forward a cancellation invoice so Isobel could claim the other 50% due on Jean's travel insurance, which had cost her a further £300.

Yet months passed and - despite several more attempts at contact by Isobel - Thomson First Choice has still not sent the correct invoice. It twice sent an invoice for 100% of the cost, which the insurance company refuses to accept because it is incorrect.

"I am at my wits end, this whole thing smacks of incompetence," Isobel, a teacher from Primrose Hill, told the Huddersfield Examiner.

She added: "You think you are doing the right thing by going to a reputable company, but I am just disgusted with the whole matter.

"We are just going round and round in circles. I have contacted the company twice and waited 28 days both times, as is required, and now I am going to make an official complaint with ABTA.

"It is upsetting for my mum that she is out of pocket so much. She can't understand why they won't do the decent thing."

However, the issue appears set to be resolved.

After representations by the newspaper, the invoice was finally sent on Friday.

A company spokesman said: "We would like to apologise for any inconvenience."