On 27 August, my husband and I booked a holiday to Crete for 31 August with Voyage Prive.
Due to the transfer time to our hotel, which was 90 minutes, and because of the pandemic, we opted for private transfers at a cost of £245 as we thought it was the safest option.
On arrival at Heraklion Airport late in the evening we discovered that the transfer did not materialise and we had to find our own way to our hotel.
Unsurprisingly, the return transfer didn’t materialise either and we are still awaiting a refund for our transfer costs to and from the airport. How can we get a refund?
You were left waiting for a car transfer in Crete that never arrived – leaving you to pay for a taxi
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: You booked your holiday through Voyage Prive which describes itself as a private club that specialises in premium holidays at the best prices.
While it is a members only website, anyone can sign up and join for free.
The firm started in France and has now expanded with its ‘unique flash sales concept’ to have over 44million members worldwide with offices in France, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Despite describing itself as a luxury travel agent, your experience has left you wondering whether it really is.
Being stranded abroad at an airport in the evening is not the ideal start to any holiday – especially one taken in the midst of a pandemic.
Having paid hundreds of pounds to be taken to your hotel, and a total of £2,781 for the holiday, you were frustrated to learn that there was no transfer waiting for you after you got off your flight.
You said you could not reach Voyage Prive via the ’emergency contact number’ that was emailed to you only days before, as it was switched off.
Instead you had to pay for a taxi to the hotel yourself and reported this the next day via email to Voyage Prive, also asking about your return transfer.
You eventually received an email response saying it would investigate.
However, no return transfer ever came to pick you up at the end of your holiday and you, again, had to pay for a taxi to travel to the airport.
Voyage Prive say it specialises in luxury holidays on its members only website (Pictured: Crete)
After contacting Voyage Prive again when you got home, the firm said it cannot advise until it receives a response from their supplier as to what has gone wrong.
That was two months ago and you still haven’t received an update. You have now reported the incident to ABTA which states Voyage Prive have a further 56 days to respond.
To add insult to injury, you received an email from the agent marked ‘do not send to client’ that was clearly sent to you in error.
Inside it detailed the nature of your complaint, explaining the customer service agent had already claimed you are not entitled to a refund of any sort as the transfer operator had said it was not going to return any money.
The operator claims that the transfer car was actually there and you just didn’t see it, which you say is impossible as you were at the desk in the airport asking where the transport was.
We attempted to contact Voyage Prive, but there is a distinct lack of contact details.
There is no phone number or email address easily found on their website and instead, the travel agent directs people to a FAQ section.
Customers have said they have been unable to contact Voyage Prive on the phone or by email
If your query is not answered there then you are left with no further options to resolve your issue.
This could be due to many holiday companies removing their phone numbers from their website at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to avoid overwhelming the system as so many people were calling to try and get a refund or change their booking.
This is Money managed to find a customer relations email address for Voyage Prive which we contacted multiple times but are yet to receive a response.
As you have taken the issue to ABTA, a trade association for tour operators and travel agents, it may be able to help you resolve the issue as Voyage Prive is an ABTA member.
An ABTA spokesperson replies: If you have a dispute with an ABTA member, which you have been unable to resolve with them, you can register a complaint on abta.com.
The majority of these complaints are then resolved with ABTA’s assistance.
However, there will always be particularly intractable cases, where deadlock has been reached between the customer and the ABTA Member.
For theses cases ABTA offers an independently operated online arbitration scheme, which is faster the going the small claims court and also in the vast majority of cases, cheaper.
Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Those with issues with their travel agent are advised to contact the firm in the first instance before escalating the issue with ABTA.
However, it seems you are not the only customer to take issue with Voyage Prive.
When looking at reviews for the firm, many have taken to Google to share their complaints with the company receiving an average rating of just 1.7 stars.
On Trustpilot, it fairs a bit better with an average rating of 3.2 stars out of five.
However, recent comments from customers suggest they are having a difficult time dealing with the travel agent.
Other customers have taken to social media to share their frustration at getting refunds and making contact with the company.
This reviewer said they have struggled to contact the firm after they closed the phone lines
Another review said they also have been unable to get a response from Voyage Prive
This Twitter user said they were unable to find any contact details for the online travel agent
One Twitter user said she wasn’t even told her holiday was cancelled & found out on Facebook