In September 2010, I was booked on a flight to Toulouse in France with easyjet. There was an air traffic controllers strike but it didn’t seem to be causing many problems. It’s a sort of work to rule, more than a strike, and they do it every year.

Easyjet cancelled my flight with 36 hours warning – I got a text message Tuesday afternoon about a flight on Thursday. Not even an email, just a text.

I telephoned the call centre, as instructed, and a young man named Peter changed me onto a flight on Wednesday 22 September. This meant I would arrive in France a day earlier, so I had to book somewhere to stay in a hurry.
I therefore took the Gatwick Express on 22 September, buying a return ticket  at a cost of £28.70.  I also needed accommodation for an extra day in France, so I booked into Le Grand Balcon Hotel in Toulouse, at a cost of €175 or £153, as my gite would not be available until the next day.
At Gatwick, I checked in and went through security and waited to board. An hour after the scheduled departure time, they cancelled the flight.
We were forced to march all the way through arrivals, baggage reclaim (where our bags had just been dumped on the floor, rather than on a carousel) and passport control.  We then had to walk the length of the terminal back to Departures and queue at the information desk, which was manned by only three people, two of whom clocked off while the queue still stretched right across the hall.
By the time I got to the front, the only woman left serving (Selina) really wasn’t interested in helping me. She said there were no flights until Sunday or Monday at the earliest and when I said that I was going on an eight-day holiday, I couldn’t possibly wait four days for a flight, she said that I should make my own arrangements to get to Toulouse and send the bills to Easyjet, who would reimburse me in full.
When I telephoned Le Grand Balcon Hotel in Toulouse to tell them the flight was cancelled and I would not be arriving, I was informed that, due to the short notice of cancellation, the room had to be paid for in full and I would not be entitled to a refund.
I found a flight on Brussels Airlines from Heathrow at 0630 on Thursday 23rd.  The return flight cost £495.87.
So I had to take a registered minicab from Gatwick to Heathrow at a cost of £90.50.  I then had to find a hotel room, which at midnight in the World’s busiest airport isn’t easy.  After trying six hotels, I managed to find a room at the Park Inn at a cost of £258.50.
In the morning, I paid £4 to take the shuttle bus to terminal 1 and boarded the Brussels Airlines flight, which enabled me to final arrive in Toulouse on Thursday 23 September.
Essentially, it took me 24 hours to get to my destination. I had to go via Brussels and change and there was a delay, so I actually arrived in Toulouse at exactly the same time as I was originally supposed to have done!
When I got home and complained, I was repeatedly told to go away by easyjet, unsurprisingly.  Well, to be fair, I was offered one night’s accommodation at Gatwick (£80) (no use if there are no flights for four days!) and £120 for alternative transport (apparently the cost of another low cost airline flight,although the only other low cost flight to Toulouse was bmi baby from Manchester, and they didn’t offer enough for the train fare to manchester, let alone the cost of the flight!). I was claiming over £1,000 in total.
After being repeatedly fobbed off, I issued proceedings in the County Court Small Claims Track using Money Claim Online.  This got their attention. 😉
After much argument, during which they tried to drown me in paperwork by sending me screen prints of every page of information about that days’ flights, there was a moment of humour when he offered me £153 of the settlement in easyjet vouchers.  Like I would fly easyjet ever again! Eventually it was converted into cash and included in the final figures.
In the end, I ended up only £74 out of pocket – the price of the original flight!  The whole argument took almost exactly a year from the date of cancellation to my signing the settlement agreement.


In 2009, a friend of mine went into a T-mobile shop to buy a new phone and change her tariff.

Her only requirement was that the new tariff must have cheap calls to the country where her father lived – he was ill at the time.

She asked the assistant at least three times if the tariff she was being sold had cheap calls to the relevant country and was told it did.

Two weeks later, when the first bill came, it was nearly £100.  The contract had been mis-sold and did not include cheap calls to the country she had specified.

She did the logical thing and telephoned Customer Services, free of charge, from her phone.  They assured her they would refund her and apologised.

But when she went into the store, they, and Customer Services – after around two hours on hold – denied all knowledge of the entire conversation.

It took precisely one carefully worded letter to head office to get the matter settled, a full refund, a new phone and an apology.


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