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This company is probably one of the worst I've had to deal with.

I was browsing ideas for my mum's surprise 62nd birthday, and came across this website. She has previously been on spa days to the Bannatyne Hastings and raved about how fantastic the facilities were and the experience was very refreshing. So, I decided to enquire about a spa package spa breaks was advertising.

I was called back by a friendly agent, who took me through their various packages and suggested treatments etc that I might be interested in. She mentioned a very reasonably priced package for two Swedish massages, which I decided to book. She took payment over the phone and said I would receive confirmation of my booking presently.

Here is where it all went wrong.

I did indeed receive a confirmation email, which detailed my booking and thinking me for my payment. Five minutes later, another email pinged through to my phone from "spabreaks@etc.etc". I thought to myself, "fantastic, they're really keeping me up to date with my booking". The email did indeed confirm by booking; listed the booking number, my name and details of both treatments. At the bottom of the email detailed the company's cancellation policy; 48hrs prior to booking date.

During Christmas, my mum took sick. She was bedridden and taking some heavy antibiotics. I decided that I would have to cancel the booking as I didn't think she would be able to get in the car let alone be well enough to make it all that way.

I went back to the LAST email I received from what I thought was spa breaks, and dialed the number listed. This, unfortunately, was not spa breaks but the number for the Bannatyne hotel itself. When I asked the lady to cancel my booking, she said that unfortunately she couldn't as I did not make my booking with them. I asked her if she could put me in the right direction for spa breaks, but she said she couldn't.

I went back to my emails, and managed to find the first original email that was sent to me. When I opened the email, I noticed that the cancellation policy on THAT email, stated that I could not cancel my booking within 28 days of my booking. I made my booking on 16th Dec for 6th Jan. There isn't 28 days between this time.

I rang the number in the email, and explained to the agent my situation and asked if I could cancel my booking. I was told that I could not do this, as their cancellation policy didn't allow it. I explained to the agent my confusion with the emails and contradicting policies, and that at no point during my original phone conversation did the agent who made my booking state the cancellation policy of the company or that I was actually booking a date WITHIN their 28 day policy. The agent then said she would pass my case on to another member of her team, who would listen to the call and then get back to me.

I received a call back from an agent who asked me what the issue was, and if I wanted to "amend" my booking. I said no, that I wanted to cancel my booking and re-explained the situation. The agent said she would listen to the call and then call me back.

The agent called me back and said that she had indeed listened to the call and said that although the agent DID NOT explain the cancellation policy to me or state that my booking was in fact WITHIN their 28 day policy, she was unable to cancel and refund my booking as (and I quote) "our cancellation policy is actually listed on our website and on our emails". I tried to re-explain to the agent that yes their cancellation policy is listed on their email BUT that I had had 10+ emails from an email address that looked extremely similar to theirs, that I had gone with the cancellation policy of the hotel and not theirs.

The agent then said that unfortunately they could not cancel my booking, but that they could hold my funds and re-book for another date.

This is a poor excuse. The agent stated that she listened to my call, and agreed that the agent who made the booking DID NOT explain the cancellation policy to me or mention that actually my booking was being made WITHIN the 28 days. I am extremely disappointed. I have heard many things about this company and the Bannatyne Hotel.

I strongly advise anyone who is booking with this company to double and triple check their dates and make sure that when they are making their booking that it does not fall WITHIN 28 days of their chosen date.

I would also strongly suggest that you DON'T use this company to book with the Bannatyne but that you book directly with the hotel/spa of your choice. It seems that the service is a lot better.

If given the choice, I would never book with this company again. I only hope that when I do re-schedule, I'm not told that my funds have expired or something else ludicrous.

Monetary Loss: $85.

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