A sharp-eyed Flight Centre staff manager spotted the News Weekly’s story online about Paul and Patricia Martin’s cancelled cruise and the angst it had caused and now the company has offered to repay some of the money.
Following the story about Paul and Patricia Martin’s cancelled cruise in the News Weekly, May 7, the newspaper was contacted by the Flight Centre’s area leader for the ACT and south coast, Edwina Chambers, who was anxious to speak with Mr and Mrs Martin.
The couple, of Millingandi, had to cancel their cruise on the Queen Mary 2 after Mr Martin developed a brain tumour. They had hoped to get some recompense from the travel insurance they had with Zurich, through their Westpac Altitude Black credit cards, but were told that the condition was pre-existing despite Paul having been in remission for five years.
The Flight Centre, with whom Mrs Martin booked the holiday, refunded $8.92 of the $426 paid for a hotel in Hong Kong and retained $351 of the 25 per cent the Martins were entitled to receive from Cunard for cancelling their cruise within a specified time period. The experience left the couple about $6500 out of pocket and with a very sour taste in their mouths over the treatment they received when phoning.
But now there’s been a turnaround in their treatment which Mrs Martin is putting down to “the power of the press”.
Last week Sean Martin, the area leader of the Flight Centre’s Woollahra office saw the News Weekly’s story online and contacted his colleague, Ms Chambers to ask if the Martins were customers of one of the centres for which she was responsible. Ironically Ms Chambers discovered that the Martins had been put through to the Woollahra office when they phoned the number given in a Sunday newspaper advertising the cruise.
Ms Chambers said: “When I saw the article I really felt for Patricia and Paul. There are always things that big companies can miss and I’m only sorry that it had to come to this especially as customer service is so important to me.”
She was convinced that the Flight Centre would be able to do something for the couple and contacted the Martins to offer $2000 credit each on a Cunard cruise, a refund of the Flight Centre’s admin fee of $351, and a full refund on the hotel in Hong Kong.
Ms Chambers said: “The hotel supplier gave a partial refund and we made up the difference. Usually we wouldn’t do this but these were extenuating circumstances.”
Mrs Martin said: “Edwina has been absolutely beautiful. It’s a lot better than it was looking. This is the power of the press and it’s pretty good.”
Ms Chambers said: “They will still be out of pocket about $1700-1800 but it’s a lot better than $6500.”