Just tell me the facts Holiday Autos……

I don’t care if a one way flight to Alicante is £13.99 before tax, without luggage and prior to paying for reserving seats. It’s blatantly obvious I will want to come back from my week in the sun and will need to take some luggage so instead of billboards promoting tiny prices for part of the holiday, why not show the full price of a return trip to Spain! If nobody ever just pays £13.99 it is just a complete piece of misleading and pointless advertising. 

Holiday Autos are just as bad in the great holiday rip off! I searched car hire in Perpignan for two weeks in August. They offered a good price of less then £230. I could pay them there and then online and they would offer me a voucher to download that I simply take into Avis at Gare de Perpignan and exchange for my car.

BUT just before I clicked “buy now” I spotted very tiny small print, not bold and colourful like the price they imply is the complete package but small and hidden informing you there may be local prices and deposits to pay and if you can’t pay them you won’t be allowed to hire the car and Holiday Autos won’t refund what you paid to them. 
I quickly retracted my finger from hitting “buy now” and decided to go direct to Avis website. I’m glad I did because if I had have turned up at Avis office in Perpignan with my Holiday Autos voucher expecting to collect the Opel Corsa I had believed I had paid in full for I would have been in for a shock. I would have been faced with two options. I could have paid another €168 for insurance (that was supposedly included in Holiday Autos price) with a lower excess or would have had to stump up a €800 deposit to drive the car away. This would have been quite a large chunk of my holiday money and is much higher then any deposit I have been required to pay for car hire in the past. I believe Holiday Autos should publicise this. Had I got to Perpignan then I could have coughed up most of my holiday spending money or not hired the car and lost the cash I had already paid to Holiday Autos because as far as they are concerned there part of the deal is done! 

The holiday industry from hotels to car hire are obsessed with sneaky deposits. You don’t arrive at Asda faced with a £100 deposit returned to you a few days later when you have finished your shop! The worst bit is they are often not publicised. The attitude of the industry is that it isn’t a charge because it is refunded back so we don’t need to mention it. I once stayed at a hotel in Surrey who wouldn’t let me pay for my stay on arrival instead taking the money off my credit card as a deposit for the stay. This cash was the money I had earmarked for my stay so when I came to check out and didn’t have the cash to pay because as I pointed out to them “you stole it from my card on arrival” didn’t go down very well. 

How many holidays are ruined because Holiday Autos are not clear with the facts!?!



It’s not cheap to ring home from abroad! A blog about @EE and high charges to use mobiles abroad.

I’m sick of hearing how apparently it’s now cheaper then ever to use your mobile phone in Europe. Bullshit! Some networks boast charges are just the same as using in the UK. Bullshit again. Everyman and his dog has a monthly package of calls, texts and data even most pay as you go users. As you can’t use these packages in Europe this automatically means that you will have significant costs as whatever it costs to use your phone in Europe you still have your normal package to pay. I pay £45 a month for my “free” (lol) phone, unlimited calls, texts and data. I have just spent the last ten days in Europe and EE were so kind so cap my calls and texts at £2 a day. That’s very kind of them. So for March I can pay my £45 package and £20 for the ten days I have been out of the UK. Data is the “best” deal (double lol). For £12 I can have 500MB of Internet over 7 days. Not bad. Nobody really understands what MB means but hey £500 is a huge number. I mean if someone offered me 500 chocolate bars or cans of Coke for £12 I would be like hell, yeah! Well no, not really. It lasted a couple of days. 

Bear in mind my hotel had free wi-fi, European cities generally offer free wi-fi and even public transport offers free wi-fi,that, wait for it……actually works. (Take note Virgin trains East Coast). Also I switched off all my notifications because obviously smart phones are always beeping and updating and using data 24/7. I once bought 50MB of data abroad off EE for my I-pad and forgot to stop whatever my I-pad does. It lasted 3 minutes!!!!! I won’t make that mistake again. I’m sure my I-pad is up to something big to use that much data in a few minutes. I’m sure it will give me a notification one day telling me it has cured cancer! Back to my phone and I even had it in don’t roam mode. I literally switched it to row,m and checked my e-mails and Facebook for a few minutes every now and then. And it was just gone! I ended up buying too 500MB bundles and two smaller 50MB bundles spending £30 despite having unlimited data on my package. So my usual £45 phone bill in April is £95! It’s so cheap using my phone abroad the advert says!

Here’s an idea. Why can’t I just use my current minutes, texts and data when I’m in Europe? Is this such a huge problem for mobile networks?

I highlighted this to EE on Twitter who suggested I call them to discuss my concerns. Which translate as they have no response and I’m making them look bad on Twitter so they are trying to contain me. You have to ring EE because they are a communications company who you can’t contact electronically. Do you think they will say “yes Paul you are right, we will lower our prices immediately for all customers using their phones abroad” or do you think I will get to pick loads of options, none of them quite what I want before being put on hold for hours and then getting through to a non English speaking person who hasn’t a clue what I’m on about but will read me some spiel about call charges in Europe that just confirms what I have just said that it costs a lot to use EE abroad and I didn’t need to ring them for this. I wasn’t suggested EE had made a mistake on my bill, I’m suggesting the bill is right, it’s the call charges abroad that are so high!

Don’t waste my time!