/ Travel & Leisure

Shakespeare in another language? Thanks for telling me

When a promotional email from Lastminute.com landed in my inbox advertising a 24hr theatre ticket sale, I just couldn’t resist. Little did I know that the play would not be in English…

With international guests coming to visit me, I thought I’d snap up some discounted tickets to an iconic London theatre. I purchased the tickets and received my booking confirmation email – nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary.

Yet, after finally making it to our seats on a cold and wet Saturday evening, we soon discovered that the play was not being performed in English!

The language of a performance seems like quite a crucial bit of information. I double checked my confirmation email but it made no mention of this fact. We left the play early, as did a few others who also mentioned that they too believed they had never been informed of the language difference.

Where’s theatre ticket refund?

I called Lastminute.com on Monday morning – it told me that I had to email as the company didn’t deal with complaints over the phone. I emailed. The reply told me that the theatre wouldn’t refund my tickets, and since Lastminute.com was only a third-party agent it apparently wasn’t responsible either. Obviously, as a Which? employee, I wasn’t going to stand for this.

My complaint was with Lastminute.com and I felt that it had misled me. Have you ever been stumped by a company apparently using the excuse of a ‘third-party agent’ to avoid taking responsibility?

Unfortunately for me, the crucial piece of evidence – the original promotional email – was missing. I had deleted the email after completing the booking, but I still had a link to the promotional page on Lastminute.com. However, since the deal was a 24-hour promotion, the webpage contained temporary cookies that had been deactivated.

Despite repeated requests, Lastminute.com told me it could not provide me with the original promotional email, nor the webpage that had talked about the deal.

The burden of proof is on you

Six weeks and countless emails later, Lastminute.com continues to insist that the promotional email stated that the performance wasn’t in English. I say it didn’t, they say it did. I’m left with no other choice except to take the matter to the Small Claims Court or let it go.

It doesn’t seem fair that the entire burden of responsibility is placed on the consumer. It’s not practical to take screen grabs of every site and link that I purchase tickets through. Have you ever suffered any issues with buying through intermediary sites like Lastminute.com? Was their customer service up to scratch?

Comments
Guest
Dr Susan Barnes says:
9 May 2016

I have had a shocking experience with last minute.com. In February I tried to book tickets to Lanzarote. Despite multiple attempts the website kept telling me my transaction had failed and to try again. After 8 attempts I gave up and booked direct with EasyJet. Hours later Last Minute emailed me to tell me my transaction was “progressing”. I immediately replied saying I had no transaction with them, after all that is what they told me when they told me to “try again”, and for them not to pursue the booking. They then called me, and asked if I wished to cancel and that I had three hours to select refund in vouchers or 90% cash back which could take 6-12 months to arrive,. They also blamed the airline for this stance, which paradoxically was Easy Jet, who were an absolute dream to deal with and which have a policy of a full refund if a cancellation takes place within 24 hours. I explained I wanted neither, I wanted a full refund. That was the start of a 10 week process of me complaining and them claiming that my complaint is still being “investigated”. They unilaterally issued me with vouchers- which I really don’t want as I would rather poke my eye out with a sharp stick rather than use them again. Now I have £1500 sitting in limbo and useless emails thanking me for my patience……but with no progress. No doubt they think they can delay until I am desperate and will use the vouchers.
Last Minute.com…….YOU HAVE MY MONEY, GIVE IT BACK!!!!!!

Guest
Fawzia Karimi says:
15 July 2016

I have complain , that when I booked my ticket they did not told me that they gonna charging me in England Pound. They told me in Euro. I’m realy disipointed so I will never booking Flight Ticket with last minutes.com

Guest
Steph says:
21 July 2016

I have so many complaints and points that raise questions about Lastminute.com. In January this year we started looking for a holiday 28th July – 4th Aug; found what we wanted then telephoned Lastminute.com because we knew they were protected by ABTA/ATOL. We booked it and paid a deposit by Visa Debit card (we don’t have a credit card). At the time we were on the phone all of the adults were there and we listened on speaker. (1) No one mentioned they were booking through lowcostholidays a partner of Lastminute.com, (2)neither was it mentioned that there was no ABTA or ATOL.
(3)Lastminute first tried to say that booking online automatically linked to lowcostholidays website but we booked over the phone. (4) They then said booking was with lowcostholidays. and we would have automatically been put through to lowcost on the phone when we selected an option for a package holiday – No that is not correct it was a direct line and the person that answered the phone took the booking, and in fact we had to call them back on another line as the mobile was losing charge. (5)The deposit money went to LASTMINUTE.COM not to lowcostholidays.
As strange as it seems when the confirmation came through it was the dates and destination detail we checked, and none of us registered the wording that it was a contract with lowcostholidays. Boy was that a hard lesson learned.
So we get to July 15th and (6) my daughter the Lead booker received an email from the Transfer Company to say the transfers were cancelled. (7) Lowcostholidays had ceased trading but Lastminute.com did not think it important enough to let any customers know. (8) How can they claim innocence in all this and call it “unforeseen circumstances”when on their TCs they refer to “their partner lowcostholidays”???
They carried on booking holidays right up until the day before lowcostholidays ceased trading.
(9)Lowcostholidays is not protected by ABTA/ATOL; only Surety bonded that will pay out a pittance that will cost more in postage to claim and post out to customers. (10)What is the point of being in the EU if we have less protection from a company operating in Spain? (11) Why in this day and age isn’t it compulsory for travel operators and agents in the UK & every country in the EU making it compulsory for ABTA/ATOL protection? I sincerely hope the Spanish & UK Authorities will be investigating the practices of both companies.
(12) Why is there not a proper complaints procedure for Lastminute.com?
Is there anyone with any clout going to help us try and get our money back ? We are trying chargeback back I feel it is like the sword of Damacles swinging Yes/No ???

Guest
Jeff Mitchell says:
14 March 2017

I feel for you. We had the same problem when we booked with them and Dream Holidays went under , we lost the whole holiday amount even though we were told on the phone it was ATOL protected. Credit card refused a refund as did the CAA as Lastmintue booked via another 3rd party – how was we supposed to know?! Total con artists would never use them or recommend them.

Guest
joan says:
20 August 2016

oh dear some hard lessons learnt- lastminute are a nightmare to deal with- I had to phone airlines directly who all said you should book directly with us as we could sort your problem out immediately BUT as you had a booking agent they have to contact us directly- try getting lastminute to go the extra- make the personal phonecall- to try to sort out an issue-they will not ever ever do this. ALWAYS BOOK INDEPENDENTLY as lastminute are a pretty amateur hardnosed bunch AVOID AVOID

Guest

LASTMINUTE.COM is an absolute nightmare. They are unprofessional and take no responsibility. Their customer service is atrocious and all they really want is your money. I had an awful experience with them when I booked a surprise weekend away for our wedding anniversary. As a special surprise to my wife I arranged a short break to Sicily to celebrate our 16th Wedding Anniversary. It was booked through LASTMINUTE.COM and consisted of an outbound flight with Blue Air (who are also useless) from Luton Airport with a connecting flight from Bucharest Otopeni International Airport (OTP) in Romania at 18:40 which should have taken us to Catania Fontanarossa Airport Sicily (CTA) to arrive at 19:55 local time. Whilst booking I specifically opted and paid extra for 18:40 flight rather than a 23:55 so that we could pick-up our rental car, check into our hotel on time and enjoy a romantic dinner for 2 on the night of our anniversary. However on our arrival in Otopeni whilst waiting in departures for our connecting flight we noticed from the information board that our flight was to be delayed by 5 hours and was now scheduled to leave at 23:45. We had received no notification from anyone or any form of communication (email/telephone etc.) to inform us of this change. To add to the confusion when we tried to enquire from the Blue Air gate staff to ascertain what was happening or for assistance we were not helped at all and were told to contact LASTMINUTE.COM, who were no help at all.

The excuse that Blue Air gave us for the delay was that the plane didn’t turn up!?!? It went missing!!! Unbelievable. My suspicions are that there never was a 18:40 flight.

In the end the flight arrived in Sicily at 1:30am in the morning. We had missed our car rental, our hotel check in and our dinner reservation, all of which couldn’t be refunded. To add to the problem because of the lateness of the arrival there were no taxis around or local hotels open. If it wasn’t for a kind local that took pity on us we would have spent our 16th wedding anniversary night on the airport floor. Throughout this experience LASTMINUTE.COM were totally useless and unhelpful. I bought the tickets in good faith with lastminute.com but it seemed as soon as there was a problem there was no sense of ownership and we were pushed back to Blue Air who in turn told us to contact the person who we bought the ticket from. Considering the circumstances and the predicament we didn’t even get an empathetic word or a sorry which is utterly appalling for customer service standards. Instead we were passed from pillar to post and left to chance out our luck with the limited language skills we had in Romanian/Italian to navigate our way out of this terrible scenario. Needless to say the surprise was ruined the whole experiences was rather tarnished .

If it wasn’t for our persistence and the good nature of the Italian gentlemen who took it upon himself to drive us to our hotel and wake up the owners to let us into our room, our weekend away would have been a total disaster, no thanks to lastminute.com.

I will never use LASTMINUTE.COM again and I would advise others not to. Also, stay away from Blue Air.

Guest
Tony Goodall says:
2 March 2017

I recently booked a “secret hotel” deal with Lastminute.com, that quoted the price as originally £287, but I would pay £228 (21% discount) for a room only deal. After I booked, I found out the name of the hotel and went to their website, who had the room, breakfast & WIFI for £257.
I worked out that if I added these things on to my booking, it would cost me £268.
I’m currently being messaged on Twitter to advise that they stand by their decision and that I got the best deal… am I missing something?

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

Yes, Tony . . . . breakfast and wi-fi by the look of it. Presumably the secret deal is non-refundable in the event of cancellation by you.

Guest
Emily says:
3 August 2017

Outright Fibs Last minute – shame on you!
I booked a once in a lifetime holiday for myself and my 9 year old to the Maldives crazy yes. But it was after 3 years of no holiday so was justified! Anyway long & short of it – they said the seaplane flights were included 100% absolutely no problem when I questioned it as I couldn’t see the details included in my confirmation (despite being in the hotel/booking write up/description). They confirmed yes it isn’t on your confirmation but yes its included for sure don’t worry. I said okay because III cancel otherwise its not an all included package if the last leg is missing. They replied you will be charged £25 if you cancel it now plus it is included.

One very bad practice to charge anything when being cancelled immediately and two trade description law infringement right there in confirming what wasn’t true.

You guess it we got to Male (Maldives) and no flight for us and a whole day spent of our holiday in a hot airport after 14 hours of travel and an additional £700 for me to buy tickets on the seaplane to our hotel/island.

When last minute say yes PLEASE say no! These guys are shameful, won’t look after you and never will appear in my searches again. Please do the same.

Guest

I have had a terrible experience with last min .com , booked show & buffet for hen night clearly says buffef Apparently the venue , the dreamboys and last min.com all deny ownership of the deal . Appalling company . Even put the phone down when I finally got through to cancel after 8 hrs ! Being on hold or passed to wrong department .they don’t deal with complaints on the phone ! I know why !!

Guest

We made a booking via lastminute.com to fly out to Costa Brava on Monday 4th September 2017 and return 8th September 2017. We were booked to stay 4 nights at hotel Acapulco. The outward journey was from London Gatwick to Barcelona (El Prat) airport but the return flight was from Rues airport (in Tarragona).
When we made the booking the website advised that the hotel was 47.57 miles away from Barcelona El Prat airport but it never advised us of the distance the return airport was to the hotel.

On arriving at the hotel we discovered that Rues airport is over 3 hours drive away and was not accessible by shuttle or train from that area. We contacted lastminute twice (nightmare to get hold of) whilst away to request changing our return flight to Barcelona El Prat and both times was told an email confirming all the details of the changes would be sent to us. However all we got on both occasions was an automated email advising that no changes or cancellations could be made to our booking.

In the end, at a cost of £203, I had to pay to book us two return tickets (via Easyjet) from Barcelona airport to London Gatwick.

I feel that it is not acceptable to advertise a trip when the return airport is not reachable to the hotel. Furthermore this was not made clear to us when we made the booking, we were only advised of the distance from Barcelona airport to our hotel.

I’ve tried looking for an email address to complain but there seems to be nothing and every time you phone you get put on hold for ages then have to speak to someone in a call centre (sound like in India). Will never use them again.

Guest
William MCALISTER says:
3 October 2017

Clearly I should have read this catalogue of complaints before booking with Lastminute.com.
I booked a ticket online to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines from Lastminute. During the payment process I was told that payment was declined by Paypal.
I immediately booked the same flight directly with Turkish Airline and paid successfully.
Some hours later I received an email from Lastminute saying they had successfully collected money from Visa although it was in fact Paypal
I rang them back and told them they should cancel that ticket because I had in the meantime obtained a ticket directly from Turkish Airlines. When told payment was declined I considered my request for a ticket was voided. The Lastminute agent said they would cancel and they would reimburse me immediately less a deduction for cancelling. I objected to the cancellation charge and they said a manager would call me back.
It is two days later and nobody has called me back and no money has been refunded and now nobody answers the phone. How should I escalate this complaint.

Guest
John says:
15 October 2017

It seems that their incompetence knows no bounds.
Last Thursday I booked online for a night in Liverpool for the Friday night, Man utd were playing Liverpool so rooms were going fast and prices were rising, but there were three rooms left at my chosen hotel.
Upon booking I received the message that my booking was not confirmed and they would be in touch “shortly”. Not knowing what time span “shortly” actually represents I phoned them up and they said it could be the next day before I got a confirmation, this was too last-minute for my comfort so I phoned the hotel and they hadn’t heard anything from last-minute.com but they still had rooms left, I could have booked one there and then. I now wonder if there delay was deliberately as they play the market on rising room prices?
Friday morning and I still got the same message that it was not confirmed so phoned them again and was put on hold forever eventually to be told that my booking was being dealt with and I would receive confirmation shortly. About 20 minutes later I get an email saying all the rooms had gone and offering totally unsuitable rooms miles away.
I contacted them again they wouldn’t offer anything else and took no responsibility for failing to make the booking and leaving me without a room, to add insult the operative then lied claiming that all rooms had already gone at the time of booking.
I am now awaiting a refund.
I will never ever use this disgraceful company, I have also messaged the hotel group encouraging them to distance themselves from last-minute as they reflect very badly and do not share their values or standards.
It would seem this is an area of the travel industry that requires tighter regulation, I’m sure if this were in place last-minute would have had any licence revoked many years ago.