A mum has told how she and her three-month-old daughter were trapped in their Pontins room amid a ‘holiday nightmare’.
Sacha Robinson said she found ‘filthy’ conditions and a sofa bed with metal sticking out after arriving for a three-night break at the holiday chain’s resort in Camber Sands.
Sacha, from Derby, complained to Pontins about her experience in August and was at first told that she was not eligible for a refund.
She said: ‘When we arrived there was no electricity or the extra bedding we had paid extra for.
‘At first they told us we had to pay extra for the electricity via a payment meter, before they decided it was included in the price of my booking.
‘When we got to the room it was filthy, it wasn’t suitable for children.
‘There was no shower curtain and the taps in the bathroom weren’t working.
‘They gave us the additional bedding we paid extra for but when we complained they said there was nothing else they could do.’
The university lecturer, 36, paid a discounted £179.50 for the apartment and the extra bedding through the Sun Savers scheme.
But she was dismayed at what she found after arriving at the park in East Sussex with baby Eliza, and her aunt and her two children, aged 11 and 12.
‘The bed for the children had a big piece of metal sticking out of it which had been stuck down with tape so it wasn’t suitable for them to sleep in,’ Ms Robinson said.
‘On top of that, when the door shut we got locked in the room.
‘At first we thought one of the children could climb out to release us from the outside.
‘In the end we banged on the windows and threw the key out to another guest who was able to open the door after a bit of a struggle.
‘We were trapped in the room for about 40 minutes.
‘It was about midnight at that point and when we finally found the duty manager to complain she said we could change rooms, but with three children we said it was totally impractical.
‘In the end we had to prop the door open while we stayed the night and we left in the morning because we were tired, the baby was upset and we had had enough. I said it was totally unacceptable and they said I would get my money back within seven to 10 working days.
‘But after I sent an email they said I wasn’t entitled to any compensation or a refund and they’d pass my complaints on to housekeeping, and that was it.
‘We’d had a nine-hour drive from Derby because of traffic just for a holiday nightmare and a room which was totally unacceptable.’
In the end, the group found a last-minute booking at a Haven holiday park a 30-minute drive along the Sussex coast in Hastings.
Ms Robinson said: ‘The girls are fostered and we didn’t want to ruin their holiday, so I searched that night and found a couple of nights at the Haven resort, which was so much better.
‘It was lovely and I would recommend it to anyone. We managed to give the kids a great holiday despite Pontins’ best efforts.’
In an email sent to Ms Robinson on September 27, Pontins said ‘we apologise that the standard of your stay was not up to the level that you expect’, but did not offer a refund.
The message read: ‘Please be reassured that we have passed your complaints onto the relevant housekeeping and maintenance departments and will continue to pursue remedial action on your behalf so these issues do not reoccur in the future. We have reported the issues about the door locking and are correcting this issue.’
However after Ms Robinson spoke to Metro.co.uk about her stay this week Pontins offered her a full refund.
The Guest Solutions team told her: ‘After reviewing your complaint we can see that as you were an early departure we are happy to refund the full value of your booking on this occasion, totalling £179.50.’
Metro.co.uk has approached Pontins for further comment.
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