Alyson (rhin_ariel) wrote in bad_service,

How To Ensure A Holiday Isn't Very Relaxing

At Easter, my sister and I decided it might be nice to go on holiday together. After a bit of looking round, we decided to head to Salou in Spain so we could go to the Portaventura theme park. On the Portaventura website, it advertises that they do complete holiday packages which would include park tickets for the entirety of the stay. We booked a weeks holiday, arrived on Tuesday afternoon and decided to head off to the park on the Wednesday.

When we got to the park, we went off to the ticket booths with the email confirming our booking that stated we needed to show this to the park staff to get our tickets. The people at the booths had no idea so sent us off to customer services. When we handed over the email print-out at customer services, the woman disappeared for a while before coming back to tell us she couldn't accept it. Apparently, what we actually needed was a voucher/e-ticket, something with a barcode on it (the barcode part is important, remember that for later). When we explained that was all we had, she said there was nothing she could do and asked to serve the next person.

Off back to the hotel we went and called the customer service number on the email, who then told us to call the local resort rep. According to them, we should have had a barcode on our email. This turned out to be a problem with the email address we were using and after sending it to a different address (and us being very nice to the hotel staff to use their printer) we ventured out again after lunch.

As soon as the same woman at customer services saw us, she said it was no good. We hadn't even shown her the email.

Her: I'm sorry, I can't accept this.
Me: But we've got the barcode this time.
Her: Barcode is not problem, your travel agent cannot sell park tickets. You have no tickets.

Yes that's right, the company running the official Portaventura website cannot sell Portaventura tickets...

After a bit of arguing, including a line where she said the barcode was no use because they couldn't scan barcodes (after she'd been so adamant that morning), she showed us the email explaining that out travel company couldn't sell tickets. The email was in Spanish, so that wasn't a lot of use to us. She even lent us her phone to try and call the company, but the line kept going dead or they couldn't hear us. The woman at customer services did a very good job of trying to convince us then that the company was scamming us. Eventually, she just told us we'd have to wait till we got back to the UK and get a refund. As this was the first day of our holiday, we weren't going to do that. As soon as we were back at the hotel, again, we called the company:

Me: We've just been up to Portaventura with your email confirmation and they are refusing us entry claiming your company has no contract to sell Portaventura tickets.
Rep: We'll that makes no sense. We run their official website, of course we can sell tickets.

After a while of back and forth, we manage to organise that the UK office dealing with contracts was getting involved and the local rep was going to make some enquiries too. The next morning we call the local rep to find out what's going on. It's not pretty:

- Portaventura are refusing to answer any calls from the UK or local rep.
- The local rep went to the park herself, but no one would see her
- The office has had to rebuy our park tickets direct from the website and email the e-tickets to us
- The UK office has copies of emails and contracts that show they can sell tickets as they run the official website, it seems the park has decided to stop honouring this contract.

At last, we head up the park with our e-tickets...and get straight in. No questions, no checking of ID to make sure they really are our tickets, nothing, just waved straight into the park.

Having now returned to the UK, we have to write to the company to explain everything, whereupon they intend to go to Portaventura for a refund of the day lost because they decided not to let us in.

I'd say I was glad to be home after all that stress, but now it turns out the laptop I sent for repair might be lost and suddenly I've got a whole new set of crap to deal with. Oh, my life.

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