A grandmother whose husband recently died claims she is being prevented from grieving by Thomas Cook’s refusal to refund her family holiday.
Julie Fuller, from Stoke-on-Trent, has been left £670 out of pocket after the travel company only partially refunded her £1,270 trip to Spain.
The 51-year-old had to call off the vacation after her husband unexpectedly died less than four weeks before they were due to fly.
Ms Fuller was supposed to leave on September 21 with her husband Michael and son Tom, StokeOnTrentLive reports.
But 51-year-old Michael was found dead on the family’s kitchen floor on August 25.
But she was told there was nothing they could do apart from her paying £150 to change Michael’s name on the flights because they had yet to take out travel insurance.
Her daughter Hayley then posted a critical review on the Thomas Cook website and Julie received a phone call from the tour operator offering a £600 refund.
But Julie says this doesn’t go far enough.
She said: “I feel like I’m being backed into a corner. It’s been a traumatic experience and it’s stopping me from grieving because I’ve got to focus on this instead.
“We booked the holiday to Lloret De Mar on August 14. It cost £1,270 for seven nights half-board.
“On August 25 I went out for breakfast and Michael was fine and when I came home I found him on the kitchen floor.
“It was a complete shock, we’d only booked the holiday less than a fortnight before. He’d had a bit of a dodgy heart last year but he had a heart scan and everything was fine. He’d been for check-ups and everything was OK.
“It was horrible. I went down on the following Tuesday to the Thomas Cook branch in Longton, I probably shouldn’t have gone because I was really upset, I couldn’t even talk to them.
“They said my only option was to go on the holiday and pay to change Michael’s name on the booking or lose all of the money as I hadn’t taken out holiday insurance yet. So I said thank you and walked out.
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“I then went to the Hanley branch and asked if I could postpone the holiday, but they said they couldn’t do anything at all.
“Then one of my daughters put a review on the Thomas Cook website and I received a call from Thomas Cook saying they could offer me back £600.
“But I’d still lose half of what we had paid and I told them I would have to think about it because I didn’t know if we’d be up to going on the holiday.”
Julie added that the family was planning to get holiday insurance nearer the time of their trip.
She added: “I can’t be the first person this has happened to and I thought Thomas Cook would have something in place for something like this. I was just really upset.
“In my opinion, the customer service wasn’t very good.
“I’m not in the right frame of mind to go on holiday and the thought of going without Michael is quite distressing, thinking that he should be with us.”
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Thomas Cook has confirmed it has offered a £200-per-person refund to the Fullers. Alternatively, it has offered to change all three names on the booking or to amend the departure date. A 2020 holiday booked by the Fullers has been fully refunded.
A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We were very sorry to hear about the sad passing of Mr Fuller and understand how upsetting this must be for his family.
“We always want to do the best by our customers, however as they were due to travel on September 21, Thomas Cook has already paid other suppliers for parts of the holiday.
“As Mrs Fuller doesn’t have travel insurance, we have offered her a 50 per cent refund equating to the costs we haven’t yet paid out.”