Capitalists performing badly in Cuba

Having recently returned from holiday, it’s taken a while to catch up, but I was most interested to see your article regarding First Choice (MW March 29). So, it’s acknowledged the need to look at its customer relationships, has it?

Perhaps chairman Ian Clubb would like to read how I feel about that rash statement? As he clearly believed his claim towards better customer care warranted some editorial in your magazine, I feel the least he can do is get his feet off the desk and swap them for his correspondents’; mine in particular. If you’ll be kind enough to print this letter, it may be that he’ll discover what is actually going on with his customer base.

On receiving our travel documents for Cuba, I discovered our names, dates and destination airport were wrong. Things went downhill from there. On arriving at our destination we found we had no luggage, no means of getting to our hotel and a First Choice local agent’s number that did not connect. When we finally got to Havana, we faxed and telephoned First Choice several times. I find it astonishing that during the 15 days we spent in Cuba we got no feedback and no assistance from the company.

On our return I wrote to Mr Clubb because I could get no sense from his customer care department. My letter was ignored. I wrote again; no response. Each time I’ve called, I’ve been refused answers to my questions and repeatedly given the company line: “Your enquiry will be looked into within 28 days.” Such appalling lack of care is inexcusable and serves only to irritate. The problem is that they’ve had not only 28 days, but almost seven weeks to deal with my complaint. Further, they will not even consider paying the out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to our missing luggage. When I explained that clearing my credit card bill would be difficult, I was ignored and given, again, the company line.

To date I’ve still had no acknowledgement of my letters to Mr Clubb of March 30 and April 6. ABTA is largely toothless and, as the law stands we, the consumer, have nothing with which to fight back, a fact that First Choice is using ruthlessly to its advantage. Customer care, Mr Clubb? I don’t think you know what it means.

Barbara Richmond-O’Neill



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