I saw the advertisements that are very big, inviting and convincing, premium holidays at premium prices, lots of awards from the media, assurances of “customer service” all to seduce me to part with my hard earned cash, all very re-assuring when choosing a tour operator for our annual holiday.
Reality was somewhat at variance to the impression given in the advertisements for Great Rail Journeys “New England in the Fall” tour, with one disappointment after another on a daily basis, substandard hotels, no air conditioning working, heating unusable heater due to smell, penny pinching excursions, tour manager with little current area knowledge, visits to demonstration of Maple Syrup production consisting of two machines in garages neither working, lowest standard of train accommodation, trips to supermarket to buy cook in room provisions, hardly a premium standard.
Previous tours with reputable names like Riviera, Travelsphere, Kuoni, Orient Express and others were a joy with no problems, so naturally we expected a similar standard.
On returning home I wrote to Great Rail explaining in detail our problems which months later have not been addressed or resolved to my satisfaction having been offered £150 in vouchers for another GRJ holiday (!), then £250 in vouchers and finally £250 cash to shut me up. Three letters to the CEO Mr Liney remained unanswered for weeks and all correspondence was dealt with ignoring all specific issues, apathetically referring me to ABTA with its limitations, a far cry from any vestige of customer service that featured so prominently in the advertisements.
None of my complaints have been challenged by GRJ’s, they accept liability, but refuse to meet my claim for a refund, pointing me to ABTA.