✉ My wife and I rented a villa in the south of France for two weeks, it was great, but on the third day we discovered that what we initially thought were mosquito bites were actually from an infestation bed bugs in one of the bedrooms. . Claiming to be unaware of the bugs, the owners came to the property and sealed the room, then offered a full refund provided we moved out at the end of the first week. This proved impossible, however, with Airbnb telling us that we could not move to another property he represented due to the risk of transferring bugs, and that there was no equivalent accommodation available elsewhere – this was the Cote d’Azur in the first week of August. We had no choice but to rearrange the sleeping arrangements and stay on the property.
We contacted Airbnb to claim their AirCover insurance, assuming that with over a thousand bites, vacation time lost and distress suffered, we will receive compensation. We were wrong, however – an Airbnb spokesperson says there are no complaints. Can you help ?
It was obviously a deeply unpleasant experience, but AirCover is not your typical insurance policy. The company told me that it includes booking protection, check-in and “get what you booked” guarantees – meaning if there is a problem during a stay that cannot be fixed by the host, guests will receive a full or partial refund, or rebooking, depending on the circumstances. He said that in your case, the host tried to arrange professional treatment, but you refused it. That said, you have now got your money back. “We recognize the impact this issue has had on the guest, and while assistance was provided at the time, we have also provided a full refund as a gesture of goodwill,” Airbnb said. It will soon offer wider insurance coverage to UK customers.
✉ I paid for two seats together on a Ryanair flight, but – despite successfully going through security with my digital boarding pass – at the gate I was given a printed pass for a different seat, which means that my partner and I spent the trip in several rows ( I think another passenger had not reserved specific seats and wanted to be with his children). I was told at the time that I would be entitled to a refund via Ryanair customer service, but they agreed to refund me only one of the seats, as technically “only one was reassigned”. I feel like he stole my entry fee and I’m quite angry that he refuses to acknowledge the situation. Although the sum is not huge, the situation is indicative of a generally terrible attitude towards customers.
As you say, the sum involved is not large, but your annoyance is understandable because Ryanair seems to have missed the boat. Unfortunately, buried in the airline’s terms and conditions is a clause that allows it to change a passenger’s seat at any time, even after boarding, whether for safety, security or privacy reasons. exploitation. When I sent your case details he explained that a “plane change” was the reason for your trip and has now refunded the cost of your two seats “as a gesture of goodwill”.
Siem Reap in Cambodia
✉ I have a big birthday in early September next year and would like to vacation in Thailand, and possibly Cambodia and/or Vietnam, with my husband. I don’t want to overdo it as we’ll only have two weeks, but I’d like to include some time on a nice beach or two (and I have no desire to visit Bangkok). We love hiking and water sports, and would also like to learn more about local culture and cuisine.
If beaches are your priority, why not fly direct from the UK to Phuket and then a 30-minute ferry ride to the laid-back little island of Koh Yao Noi? From there, head north to Chiang Mai, where you can wander between spas, temples and street markets, before flying to Siem Reap in Cambodia for its extraordinary Khmer-era temples . After a few days there, head to Phnom Penh and finally to the less-visited beautiful sandy beaches of Koh Rong, an island off the country’s southern coast. A bespoke 13-night B&B trip costs from £2,800 pp, including accommodation and domestic flights (selectiveasia.com); flights to Phuket start at around £850 per person.
BALATE DORIN/GETTY IMAGES
✉ After three years without holidays abroad, we would like to go in the October semester. We are a family with three teenagers and don’t usually go on package holidays, but the kids said they would like to hang out at the pool, so I guess that means somewhere warm enough and reliable. There must be something to do as we certainly won’t be on the beach, and we have to travel from Bristol. What can you suggest?
I think a holiday in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, would suit your offspring. There’s plenty to keep you busy if you don’t want to bask on its beaches – whether you want to climb the magnificent Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak, or spot dolphins or whales, kayak along the coast or swim in the sea (the water here is warmest in October).
Tui has a seven-night holiday in Puerto de Santiago, staying at the Tamaimo Tropical, from £490 pp all-inclusive, including flights and transfers, departing October 25 (tui.co.uk).
All-inclusive can be a great choice for families with ravenous teenagers, but if you’d rather explore some of the island’s excellent restaurants (several have Michelin stars), a week’s rental at Casablanca Apartments in Puerto de la Cruz, departing on the same date, will cost £866 pp in a two-bedroom apartment, including flights and transfers (jet2holidays.com).
✉ I was fined by the French authorities for having parked my rental car in a restricted part of a car park. Europcar sent me an invoice, which I paid, but now I have received a notice from the French government asking me to pay. Was the Europcar bill the fine or just some sort of administration fee?
Unfortunately, no, the Europcar bill was not the fine. When the rental company is contacted by an authority imposing fines, they will charge a high administrative fee to cover the cost of providing information about who was renting the vehicle at the time of the offence. The official notice of the fine can then take up to a year to arrive.
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