It's that time of year, we're all thinking about April school holidays and planning where we will go and who we will stay with.
I on the other hand am a bit of a planner. I booked our family holiday back in November 2016 with Sykes cottages. I know how booked up everything gets the closer you get to the dates. So being a planner I wanted to have our family holiday booked well in advance so we wouldn't lose out on a place. The only catch was that my partner works for the NHS and they do not sign off holiday until closer to the time. So what does a planner do? You take out holiday insurance of course. That way you are covered. Or so you think....!
So the worst happened and my partner was denied his leave. I don't hold anything against the NHS. Regardless of family time, people still need medical care all year round. As he worked over Christmas we were hoping he would be granted these holidays. But unfortunately not. As disappointed as I was about no longer having the holiday we had planned I was not worried about having put over two hundred pounds down in deposit as I had taken out travel insurance.
I am so disgusted with Sykes Cottages. With their insurers - Ryandirect group and the underwriters UK General.
The insurance I took out refused to refund the deposit. I picked up the phone thinking it won't take too long to sort it all out. Little did I know what was in store for me! My first call was to Sykes cottages to explain that I had to cancel, as I had paid the travel insurance directly to Sykes cottages, it would be logical that I speak to them about cancelling our holiday. Gina at Sykes Cottages informed me that I need to speak directly to the insurance company that provides the cover. So she tells me I need to call UK General. So I call UK General who say they are just the underwriters and do not hold customer details. At this point I start to get that sinking feeling that this is going to be a bit like hunting a unicorn. You dream they exist but you know in reality they don't exist. I then call Sykes cottages back and speak to Hayden who tells me to go back to UK General. I explain what they have said and he insisted his colleague was correct and I quote "we have never had any trouble like this before" in other words I'm a stupid customer who needs to explain more clearly to UK General. So I call UK General back only to be told the same thing again. That they do not hold customer details that they are only the underwriters. So I then call Sykes cottages AGAIN and speak to Gina again. She exasperated by my continued phone calls says she will call UK General herself. When she comes back on the phone she tells me I've been dialling the wrong number....I said to her, because she seemed to have forgotten that she was actually the one who gave me the number, "but you gave me that number" Instead of apologising for sending me on the run around she simply says she was not aware it had changed and proceeded to give me another number.
Well... You guessed it...that number didn't work! I am fast losing patience with this joke of a company. So I call Sykes cottages again and this time speak to Hayden again, I explain that the number I was given does not work. Instead of apologising he makes me read out the number, and then says I have been dialling the wrong number. The second wrong number that THEY gave me. Hayden then gives me yet another number and this finally goes through to a company called Ryandirect group who talk on the phone to me for 10 minutes. You know the drill, every detail explained, all forms filled in, only to be told by Alex Flanagen at Ryandirect group that the fact that we can no longer make the holiday is not a good enough reason. That my partner not being allowed leave working at the NHS is not a good enough reason. They are not honouring their part of the agreement. I have never claimed on travel insurance! Never!! And the first time I do for a very valid reason, it is declined. I am disgusted. So when my partner is busy saving lives at Papworth hospital so you can all be happy, we put in a valid claim and you disgusting snakes have declined to honour your promise to cover if we cannot make the holiday.
They are just gamblers. The insurance companies gamble that you won't ever claim, but they fix the game so that if you ever do they have fixed it in their favour so you will never win. At some point they need to be held accountable. I will be researching further into this Ryandirect group and will post here my findings.
As for Sykes cottages. Well they were quite happy to take over two hundred pounds off me for nothing. I could understand if I wanted to cancel a day before the holiday was booked or even a week or even a month. But I am cancelling this holiday nearly three months before the actual holiday is going to take place! I can guarantee one thing, I will never be using Sykes cottages again and I can also guarantee that I will be recommending that no one else use them as they are a bunch of crooks!