A decision by First Choice to move a family out of a hotel in Bulgaria on safety grounds has landed it with a £1,000 fine.
Trading Standards prosecuted the company after the family complained the facilities offered in a brochure were not available on arrival at their hotel.
First Choice moved the family from its Elenite Village accommodation to a new hotel as the location did not meet the company’s safety standards.
But the new hotel did not have the facilities of the first. Despite First Choice offering compensation, Trading Standards still prosecuted.
First Choice pleaded guilty to three counts and was fined £1,000 at Rochdale magistrates’ court. The charges included the fact there were two restaurants instead of four and tennis and mountain biking were not available. The company was also ordered to pay court costs of £1,500.
Federation of Tour Operators director-general Andy Cooper said the ruling was “incredibly harsh”.
“It demonstrates Trading Standards has little understanding of the practical problems and issues facing tour operators,” he said.
A First Choice spokeswoman confirmed the operator also paid compensation to the family. This is understood to have been in the region of £350.
Trading Standards lead holiday officer Bruce Treloar said: “If the consumer was misled and did not know of the change in facilities, First Choice should have offered compensation the customer was happy with.”
He said there is a problem with people going to resorts early in the season, then finding not all the facilities advertised are available.
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