Pensioners' anger over holiday cash fiasco

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 January 2011

Tunisia Holiday, Brian and Christine Slater, John and Sarah Phillipson with Roy and Kaye Kirby, Manor Park Uphill.

Tunisia Holiday, Brian and Christine Slater, John and Sarah Phillipson with Roy and Kaye Kirby, Manor Park Uphill.

Archant

AN ANGRY group of pensioners say they are out of pocket after their Tunisian holiday was cut short and they were refunded in vouchers.

The four couples were pulled out of the North African country less than two weeks into their seven-week holiday because of civil unrest on January 13.

But instead of receiving cash back on their £1,018 Thomas Cook holidays, the couples got company vouchers of £330 each.

The group says it is also frustrated because they think the firm knew about the troubles before they left on January 2, and say they should never have been jetted out.

In response, the holiday firm says it will consider exchanging the vouchers for cash and will talk to the eight-strong group.

But John Phillipson, aged 70, sad: “We only took two weeks of a seven-week holiday, yet the company has given us less than half the refund, and in vouchers.

“We paid in cash so we want our cash back for the holiday we did not use, anything else is unfair.

“We are a retired group of people who have saved up hard to raise the cash to go on holiday.”

The residents at Manor Park, in Uphill, picked the dates for the holiday because they must leave their site between January 31 and February 14 every year.

So to avoid breaking their rental conditions, many of the effected group quickly rebooked holidays before the vouchers arrived last week.

Mr Phillipson and his wife Sarah, aged 68, paid £983 for a two-week holiday to the Gran Canaria from February 1.

The retired publican said: “The whole episode has cost us and others thousands of pounds, and frankly the vouchers were a kick in the teeth.

“We believe we should never have been flown out there, the warnings were on the wall but the company ignored them.

“Instead, we are left in this costly situation.”

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “We appreciate Mr Phillipson’s concerns but at the time of his booking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had not changed its travel advice to Tunisia.

“As soon as the FCO did update its advice last Thursday evening, Thomas Cook’s experienced teams in the UK and resort worked around the clock to put in place its rescue programme and we’re pleased that we were able to get 1,800 holidaymakers back to the UK safely on eight rescue flights since last Friday.”

He added: “We’ll contact Mr Phillipson to discuss the vouchers and look to exchange them for cash.”

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