Loveholidays is abandoning holidaymakers at closed hotels in Spain, forcing them to spend hundreds of pounds on alternative accommodation.
Which? has been contacted by families who arrived in Spanish resorts last weekend to find the hotels they had booked through Loveholidays were still shut due to COVID-19. Travel to Spain resumed on 4 July after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office exempted the country from its advice against all non-essential international travel, allowing holidays to go ahead.
Paul Davis and his family were among the first Britons to arrive in the resort of Salou on the Costa Dorada on Saturday, but when their taxi dropped them off at the 4R Regina Gran hotel they'd booked through Loveholidays for more than £1,000, they found the gate padlocked.
When he couldn't contact Loveholidays or 4R, Paul checked his family into another hotel, at a cost of u20ac300. When he got through to the 4R hotel chain the next day, he found out his reservation had been switched to another 4R hotel nearby.
A Loveholidays spokeswoman said: 'We are aware of a few instances where customers have arrived at hotels that are closed and our in-resort emergency assistance team are working with those customers to find them suitable alternative accommodation.'
She said that in this instance the hotel had not informed Loveholidays of its closure. 'We apologise for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused our customers. We will of course refund the cost of his hotel booking', she said.
When Which? pointed out that Loveholidays is still taking bookings today for the 4R Regina Gran for travel this week - even after Paul had informed them the property was closed - it promised to remove the hotel from its website until it reopens.
Expedia is also advertising vacancies at the Regina Gran this week. A spokeswoman said: 'Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we are looking into it.'
The 4R website does not allow you to book rooms. It's closed.
Sammy Liperis told us his family suffered a similar experience when they arrived at the four-star all-inclusive Sol Fuerteventura Jandiu00e1 in the Canary Islands. Despite Loveholidays' staff assuring them when they arrived at the airport on Sunday that the hotel was open, when the transfer company arranged by Loveholidays dropped them at the hotel it was closed.
Unable to reach Loveholidays on the phone or via its live chat function on Sunday evening, they were forced to find somewhere to stay on Sunday night. Loveholidays agreed to transfer them to another property on Monday, but this was a two-star hotel.
Sammy said they haven't been offered any recompense, but a spokeswoman for Loveholidays told us: 'Our customer service team will work directly with any customers in this position to reach a satisfactory resolution for them and in this case including a refund for the first night.
'We do try to ensure 'like-for-like' accommodation except where it's just not possible due to availability.'
Under the Package Travel Regulations 2018, holidaymakers are entitled to compensation for the difference between the services paid for and those supplied. That includes thedifference in price between the four-star and two-star hotels.
Mum Anita Lorenzo contacted Loveholidays after discovering that the Sol Wave House hotel in Magaluf where her son Lewis and his friends were due to stay was closed. She was assured they would be sent details of alternative accommodation before their trip, but when they had heard nothing from Loveholidays the evening before travel, they booked a self-catering apartment for £600.
'We had to book something or my son could have ended up sleeping on the beach. Their finances were stretched because they'd already paid Loveholidays £1,500 for the hotel, so they had to go for something cheap', said Anita.
Other families told us they're nervous they'll end up in the same situation after finding out that the hotels they've booked for imminent travel are also closed.
The Loveholidays spokeswoman said: 'We are updating customers regarding any hotel closures where we are made aware of this by accommodation suppliers and will work with the customer to find a suitable alternative hotel.'
She said customers who have been advised that their hotels are closed should contact the Loveholidays customer service team via live chat to discuss alternatives. But many customers have told us they've found it impossible to contact Loveholidays, either on live chat or on the phone.