My partner and I are in our 80s and booked a romantic trip abroad together to Prague.
We arranged two flights with British Airways at a cost of £382, plus £92 for National Express to take us to the airport on September 12 and back home again five days later.
But our plans went awry, and we ended up forking out an extra £2,109 to get home. Please can you help us get our money back?
R. M., Cheltenham, Glos.
Grounded: An elderly couple were landed with a shock bill when British Airways sent them the wrong departure times
I was saddened to learn how things went badly wrong with your planned romantic getaway, especially as you said it was going to be your last trip together because of worsening health issues.
What was meant to be a holiday full of romance turned into heartbreak and financial misery.
The saga began when, as an oversight, you realised soon after booking that the return flight from Prague was due to leave at 7am on September 17, which would require you being at the airport at the unearthly hour of 5am.
You asked BA what it would cost to take a flight later in the day instead.
When the response was a price of more than £600, you dismissed the idea as it was outside of your budget.
However, you subsequently received a new flight schedule, which to your delight showed the return departure time from Prague as 1.40pm.
You assumed the 7am flight had been cancelled. You didn’t question it as this was around the time Heathrow airport was having capacity problems.
On September 17, after a happy few days’ break together exploring the sites of the Czech Republic’s historic capital, you and your partner duly arrived at the BA check‑in desk at Prague ready for your flight home.
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You showed staff the schedule you had received. However, they told you these weren’t valid tickets and you needed to purchase two new flights.
You went to a nearby phone and spoke to BA’s offices in Prague. This took an inordinately long time but eventually you paid £600 in return for two new tickets.
You were just a few yards away from the BA desk and rushed to check in, only to be told you were four minutes too late and could not board the plane.
This was the last flight that day.
You were forced to purchase another two BA tickets at a cost of £1,127 for departure the following day.
Your additional spend on BA flights had now risen to £1,727: £600 for the first set of replacement tickets and £1,127 for the flights that finally got you home.
The bills mounted further, as you had to book into an airport hotel for the night at a cost of £235 for a room and dinner.
When you finally landed in the UK the next day, you realised your National Express tickets were no longer valid and there were no vacancies on that day’s coach — so that was another £92 up in smoke.
Luckily, you managed to purchase seats on a coach to Oxford with another company for £42. Finally, you took a taxi from Oxford to Cheltenham paying £105.
All in all, the bill triggered by the schedule change that wasn’t, came to £2,109 — five times the original price tag for your romantic getaway.
Your tale could be a plotline from a romcom movie, with the lead characters thwarted in their journey at every turn; only it wasn’t very funny for you and your partner to suffer the serious inconvenience as well as forking out nearly five times the price for your romantic excursion.
To put it bluntly, you and your partner had well and truly fallen out of love with BA.
I decided to play Cupid and ask the airline to step in and investigate. I am delighted to say it found there had been an error made with the schedule at the start, and a few days later rang you to confirm a full refund would be landing in your bank account shortly.
Had BA not agreed to refund you, you might have been able to claim on your travel insurance. Not all policies cover missed departures, however, and there are often limits on what is paid out. Thankfully, as all romcoms should, your story has a happy ending.
No warranty: Staff at Tiffany’s Bond Street store (pictured) initially tried to charge £50 to have the bracelet fixed
A tiff with Tiffany over broken £355 bracelet
I have reached an impasse with Tiffany UK over a £355 silver bead bracelet I purchased for my daughter’s 30th birthday in January. She only wore it a few times before it broke.
A heart attachment fell off, which she fortunately managed to retrieve.
I took the bracelet to the Bond Street store in London where I was shocked to be told there was no warranty and I would have to pay £50 to have it fixed.
I reluctantly agreed and picked up the repaired bracelet in late July. My daughter wore it once and the same thing happened. It was clearly not fit for purpose and but Tiffany won’t refund.
H.C., Twickenham, Middx.
Tiffany is one of the best-known luxury jewellery brands in the world. But it took numerous calls and emails to get anywhere with your complaint after the second incident with the bracelet.
Eventually, Tiffany arranged a courier to collect the faulty piece.
However, rather than arranging a refund, it fixed the jewellery a second time. Your daughter has no interest in keeping the bracelet for fear it could break again, so has left the package unopened. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, if an item develops a fault within six months of purchase, the retailer has one chance to repair it or refund the customer.
Since you had bought it online on January 24 and then took it to its Bond Street store on June 15, you were within the relevant timeframe.
If a breakage happens after six months, it is still possible to request a retailer resolves the problem, but the customer usually needs to offer proof the item was faulty at purchase. It then might only lead to a partial refund.
Tiffany met its requirement under the Act by fixing your daughter’s bracelet — though I was surprised it charged you £50. But when the first repair failed, you were then automatically within your rights to receive a refund.
I felt you should also get the service charge back, so I resolved to track down Tiffany’s team for help. This took many days.
It would have been easier if I’d jumped on a bus to Bond Street. However, when I finally got to the right person via a circuitous route, she was happy to investigate.
A senior executive from the Bond Street store then phoned you and agreed to refund in full — including the £50 repair costs.
You just need to take the offending bracelet back to the store, which you are pleased to do.
Straight to the point
My 95-year-old mother was shielding during the pandemic and was unable to use a Marks & Spencer gift card she had been given.
We asked M&S to extend the card but it declined, saying it needs to be ‘fair to all customers’.
J. D., via email.
M&S have since sent an e-gift card to the value of the vouchers your mother accumulated during lockdown as a gesture of goodwill.
In July, we hired a car with Enterprise. Part way through our journey we had to take the car to a tyre repairer who told us the two front tyres were unroadworthy and would not pass an MoT.
We are chasing a refund but have not been able to secure one nearly six months later.
H. G., via email.
Enterprise says the vehicle was checked when you picked it up. Faults in the tyres were only found during a repair at one of its authorised repairers.
It says its standards are more stringent than the minimum required by legislation. But due to the inconvenience, it will refund you part of the rental fee.
I have been waiting since May for my compensation from Jet2 for a delayed holiday and lost luggage.
After initially refusing to pay, it then agreed to — but I’ve heard nothing since.
P. S, Cheshire.
Jet2 has now contacted you to process your compensation and refund any expenses. A spokesman for the company apologises for the inconvenience.
- Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email firstname.lastname@example.org — include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.