Last minute.com “Scam”Back to Forum
While the above is certainly true in relation to sites like Lastminute.com and other TA’s it’s not necessarily the case with TMC’s like regular poster Tim Fitzgerald. They can and do arrange last minute bookings, changes etc and can hold a booking you’d normally have to pay upfront for.
1 user thanked author for this post.23 Aug 2015
I had a business with lastminute.com in January 2016. Terrible service, no response, no respect at all. Guess what happened, I found a deal to Mexico, made a booking with my credit card, all looked good, then I started to look for connecting flight to London and hotel, luckily I was slow and did not make a booking in about 5 hours, when got a call from lastminute, asking if I live in UK. I said no, what is the matter, then they said cannot sell vacation to non UK customer. What a hell, no warnings on their site, nothing. They informed refund will be in 7 days. I sent several emails to support, response never came back. Will never do business with such a company and do not recommend to do it for anyone.15 Apr 2016
I just book directly with the airline. I found lastmunute to be either the same price and sometimes even more expensive. Due to an urgent meeting I once booked Swiss to Singapore ex Lugano on Swiss’s website just one hour before the flight was due to take off and it all went seamlessly..15 Apr 2016
Total waste of ti,e. I spent 4.5 yrs waiting on phone for cusromer support. Yes, Corona Virus but no effort to improve service. Would not refund any plane flights, only credit. The plane was cancelled by the airline. No refund. Only credit which is useless as I live the other side of the world.
Never use again.
Go directly to the airline.
Never got on to customer serviceafer5 hour phonewait!!26 Mar 2020
I agree with those who say to avoid OLTAs and book direct with the principal.
It used to be that better deals were available with OLTAs with consolidator fares and rates and generally the penalty clauses were the same or no worse than booking direct. The last time, at least 5 years ago, I booked a month’s car rental in CPT with Bidvest via Auto-Europe, I was delighted to have saved nearly £500. When I arrived at the car rental office they were surprised at the low rate and said there was no way they could have matched it, and for a small charge they even gave me an upgrade to a quicker car which cost me a few hundred rand in speeding fines! A couple of months later I tried the same stunt and found it was now cheaper to book direct. This has become the case with most providers.
The terms and conditions are often more punitive than by booking direct and if you try to amend or cancel you are at the mercy of poorly trained and semi-competent (at best) call centre operators, often offshore, speaking bad English over poor quality phone lines. Usually the principal is inhibited from helping you as the booking doesn’t ‘belong’ to them but to the intermediate agency.
Even the reputable and well-known agencies are subject to the above. In the last few years a number of seriously dubious agencies have sprung up, and whilst they may well have .co.uk, co.za, .de, .ie etc, they will have no more association with that country than a local Skype type number. There seems to be very little policing in terms of how they operate, and there are no safeguards for the buyer. Websites such as TripAdvisor, HelloPeter, TrustPilot, etc are full of stories about everything from incompetency to blatant fraud.
I’d rather pay more for peace of mind than save a few per cent and worry about the potential for aggravation and extra costs. In addition, I’ve realised that it is often smarter to pay a bit more for a flexible rate than to worry about battling over change fees and trying to claim from insurance. The extra price of a flexible fare is a form of insurance and it’s more or less bullet proof.
P.S. This is not intended as a criticism of conventional travel agencies and TMCs, my comments apply only to OLTAs.26 Mar 2020
This thread confirms my view that booking direct even if might be more expensive is always best. I’d like to think direct bookers might get first go at any upgrades too but especially if flights cancelled I’d like to think I would get first preference on alternates26 Mar 2020
Also bear in mind if you try to make any changes on a travel agent ticket once you have left the UK, airlines will generally refer you back to the travel agent, even if you are standing at an airport infront of their ticket office.
Check with whoever you buy your tickets from, if you have access to their office for changes WHENEVER NEEDED – I can personally vouch for Tim Fitzgerald who goes well beyond the call of duty when changes are needed once en route…
1 user thanked author for this post.26 Mar 2020