Tuesday, May 11, 2010

moles and holes

Current work: medical continuity and proofs of Christmas Knight
Listening to: Justin Currie, The Great War
Reading: Caroline Anderson, Mother of the Bride (enjoyed this very much)

Our garden has been invaded. It’s not one of these smooth, perfect lawns, but it would be rather nice to see grass, daisies and buttercups rather than big heaps of soil. It’s fascinating watching them appear. But if anyone has any tips about getting rid of moles humanely, I’m all ears. (And sadly my bestest uncle’s solution is actually a joke. How do you stop moles digging? You take their spades away…)

Holes – our tour operator is digging itself into one. Had a call from the travel agent yesterday, and apparently Cresta are not going to reimburse us for the costs incurred in our Venice-to-Milan trip last month. Now, as we bought the trip as a package deal, our contract is with Cresta, not the airline, so that makes them liable for the losses we suffered as a direct breach of contract (aka return flight cancellation). And there are a couple of EC regulations which affect this issue, as well as comments from the Air Transport Users’ Council and ABTA.

Stroppy? Moi? Maybe. It’s a matter of rights. I got distinctions in the legal papers in my professional exams – for both qualifications. And there were people at school who nicknamed me ‘Trade Union Leader’ because I believe in fairness and doing what’s right, and I guess I’m a bit dog-in-the-manger about it. If I had more time in my life, I’d be an advocate for parents of special needs children, because frankly the system’s against them and it’s grossly unfair. (I also get tempted every so often to stand as a local councillor or even for Parliament, but that would be a full-time job and I wouldn't be able to fit it round the kids.)

There’s no question of ‘I want damages because our trip was spoiled’ (I disapprove very strongly of the ‘victim culture’, so any of the representatives of these ‘compensation’ lawyers who accost me in the street get asked some very uncomfortable questions). All I want is reimbursement of the costs we incurred as a result of the breach of contract. This is a matter of contract law and European law (and also a matter of principle). I’m intending to take this through every step of the complaints procedure, including to court if I have to.

And I certainly won’t be booking another break through Cresta, which has proved itself as a company that doesn’t care about its clients once the money’s been taken and will try to wriggle out by invoking ‘special exclusions’. How very, very disappointing.


Anonymous said...

What always puzzles me is why a company will spend a fortune on advertising, but refuse to spend a pittance on making sure their actual customers are happy with the experience.

It doesn't make sense to me, either morally or financially. Happy customers come back, and they also recommend the company to their friends. That's an effective form of advertising all by itself.


Rachel said...

You go for it, Kate.

It does seem to be a very sad fact of life these days that you have to fight tooth and nail for absolutely everything, but don't back down!

I temped for a travel insurance company many years ago and as part of the claims negotiator training it was drummed into us that 90% of all claims were fraudulent and THAT was how we were to regard claimants! Clearly, there can be no doubts in your case, Kate and I suspect that you are being fobbed off as a matter of policy in the first instance.

It's disgusting that you are being treated like this. Threatening to go to the relevant ombudsman always seemed to get a claim sorted out fairly quickly as I recall though...



Lacey Devlin said...

I'm looking forward to hearing how you got on with the moles. I have no idea having never seen a mole but if it wasn't your own lawn I'm sure it would be fascinating ;).

Good luck with both pests!

Kate Hardy said...

mpe - exactly. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising and you can't buy it - you earn it by good service.

Cresta haven't...

Kate Hardy said...

Rach - blimey! I didn't work on the claims side, in my ratrace days, though I had friends in claims who said people always used to bump up their claims to make a profit if they could. The point of insurance is to put you back in exactly the same position that you were in before the insured incident - not to make a profit or a loss.

Insurance company not that helpful. I have to get written confirmation from the airline that my flight was delayed. (It wasn't. It was CANCELLED and I was rerouted. Sigh.) Given that said airline was easyJet, don't think my chances are very high!

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - haven't seen the mole, just his activities! I'd be interested to see one - am wondering if they're vole-sized or larger? (Wind in the Willows was my favourite book when I was tiny.)

And thanks for the good luck wishes. Think I might need them!