Smart phones capture hellish holidays
A mobile phone camera at our ready disposal compels many of us to capture and share our life moments, even the no-so-great ones. No longer reserved only for happy snaps, such as family portraits, sunsets and visits with exotic animals, a mobile phone camera can capture your best evidence when things go wrong.
Take Mr Jonathan Kearins recent holiday for example. After researching on the internet, he booked and paid for a romantic holiday at a 4-star resort described as ‘newly opened’ and ‘luxurious’ on Thailand’s renowned Phi Phi Island. What greeted Mr Kearins and his girlfriend upon arrival however, fell way short of the idyllic accommodation described on the internet booking website.
"We booked into what was described as 4-star accommodation, with a beautiful pool and private beach. When we arrived it was very run down, the pool was green and you couldn't access the beach without trespassing," recalled Kearins.
Mr Kearins and his girlfriend spent one disastrous night at the ‘resort’ and checked out the following day. Feeling uncomfortable addressing their complaint with hotel staff while on the island, the couple opted to take photos of their experience and raise a complaint after returning to Australia.
Upon returning home, Mr Kearins approached Handle My Complaint, an Australian complaint resolution service, for help resolving the matter. Mr Kearins explained that the accommodation he was sold did not match reality and he had the photos to prove it.
Photos comparing the actual accommodation and resort amenities to those advertised online were sent by Handle My Complaint to the booking agent. It was these photo that provided indisputable evidence of the complaint and a refund of $854 was secured for the couple, along with $100 credit for future use with the booking website.
“The proliferation of phones with in-built cameras means consumers have never been better equipped to substantiate their complaints,” said Ms Jo Ucukalo, CEO of Handle My Complaint.
Ms Ucukalo said, by taking a couple of photos, Mr Kearins ensured his complaint had the greatest chance of success. She advised customers to act as soon as they detect a problem. "Often, you won't have a chance to go back and do it later, and with modern technology it's easy to capture a couple of images. If it isn't what you've paid for, then take a photo to prove it later on," Ucukalo said.
Photos were also pivotal in resolving Dr Kevin Gale’s rental car complaint. Dr Gale hired a car for his family holiday around New Zealand. After experiencing problems maneuvering and controlling the car, he was horrified to discover the rental car had been given to him with bald tyres.
"We kept getting bogged in places you wouldn't expect to and it wasn't until the thirteenth day of the trip it occurred to me to check the tyres. They were really bald. I was angry, not because of the time or money we'd spent, but because ultimately it put my family at risk in wet slippery conditions." said Dr Gale.
Source: New Old Stock
Dr Gale attempted to resolve his complaint when returning the vehicle, however counter staff failed to provide him the refund he requested. Several e-mails and phone calls were exchanged with the car hire company however head office refused to believe his claim that the vehicle’s tyres were unsafe.
It was Dr Gale’s photos that tipped the balance when it came to resolving his complaint. After photos of the tyres were sent through to the car hire company, "the response was almost immediate," said Gale. "They provided a full refund for the car hire," he said.
Photographic evidence is often undisputable. “The issue is there for all to see. It's difficult to deny the complaint when there is photographic evidence,” said Ms Ucukalo.
"With photographic proof, both parties can agree on the facts and move onto the resolution phase," she said.
Whether it’s a bad meal, stinky hotel pool or repulsive amenities, if it’s not what you paid for, take a picture -- it might just save you a thousand words, especially if you end up making a formal complaint.
Have you had a hellish holiday? Let us know about it below.