ASK TONY: Thomson lost my bag – and gave me just £100 to replace all my things for an entire cruise

My husband and I went on a Thomson Cruise & Stay holiday to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Colombia via Jamaica.

We checked in two suitcases at Gatwick airport, but when we boarded the cruise liner in Jamaica, only one was waiting for us.

The missing case contained all my husband’s clothes, shoes, his wash bag, phone, Kindle charger, camera batteries, sun lotion and insect repellent.

We were given £100 to replace all of these items.

My husband spent seven days in tropical sunshine in virtually the same clothes he’d travelled in.

We’d booked three long excursions and couldn’t get the clothes cleaned between trips. We also couldn’t dress for formal evenings, which we’d been looking forward to.

Thomson later sent another £100 as an apology, but said that bag handling was not its responsibility.

The holiday cost us £3,830 and was a once-in-a-lifetime affair.

Mrs V. A. D., Kent.

Kicking up a stink: A cruising couple were left high and dry after only one of their bags arrived in the Caribbean

I had a lot of difficulty getting a sensible answer out of Thomson.

First, the firm sent a statement saying: ‘We’re sorry to hear about your readers’ experience.

‘We’ve tried to make contact a number of times without success so would encourage them to get in touch at their earliest convenience.’

You said you’d heard nothing from Thomson and no messages were left on your answerphone.

I told Thomson I’d had no trouble getting in contact with you and, miraculously, the firm then managed to make contact.

It has offered £200 compensation — which you have accepted. The branch in Bluewater, Kent, is helping with your baggage claim.

Travel insurance can vary considerably. Some kicks in only if the bag is still lost after 21 days, but others are more generous.

If your baggage is lost once it has been checked in, then the airline is responsible. You booked the holiday with Thomson and flew on the Thomson Dreamliner, so for it to blame baggage handlers is unacceptable.

If your luggage doesn’t arrive, complain immediately to the airline. Some will give you an allowance while others will expect you to buy replacement items and provide receipts.

Claims must be made within 21 days of receiving your luggage. For mishandled baggage, the maximum liability is €1,131 (about £1,000) per passenger.

Mrs H and I split our clothing between two cases for our recent holiday, so at least we’d have some clean underwear and basic clothing if the airline lost a bag — I suggest readers do the same.


Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some from last week’s report about how councils are raking in hundreds of millions of pounds a year through unfair parking fines…

I was fined for parking in a disabled bay even though I have a Blue Badge.

By mistake I left this on the passenger seat instead of the dashboard, but surely any traffic warden with a brain would have let me off?

T. M., Birmingham.

I hope more people get caught out by parking fines.

My biggest bugbear is people not parking correctly. I look forward to the day when spaces are patrolled electronically, so it will become impossible to park illegally.

B. F., London.

If traffic wardens were penalised every time someone appealed successfully, it might concentrate their minds.

At the moment everything is stacked in the council’s favour.

A. A., Reading, Berks.

Councils should encourage people to visit High Streets, not fine them for parking there, or we won’t have any left.

F. N., Manchester.

I always hear people moaning about this, but it wouldn’t be a problem if drivers made sure they weren’t parked illegally. I don’t know why sticking to the rules is so hard for some.

D. D., London.

Councils are supposed to work for the local community, yet the waste and corruption in some local authorities is shocking. Someone needs to do a serious investigation into it.

B. C., London.

I’m all for fining people who break the rules, such as parking on double yellow lines, but giving traffic wardens ticket targets should be illegal.

Motorists must be treated fairly, especially when it’s obvious it’s not their fault.

K. N., London.

I have a savings account with Sainsbury’s Bank and asked for £1,000 from it to be transferred to my NatWest current account.

I sent two documents to prove my identity by return of post.

Sainsbury’s is disputing whether one of the documents, an HMRC coding notice, is valid.

I asked to speak with the head of customer services, but have been refused access.

D. S., Liverpool.

There is a fine line between security and silliness when it comes to protecting customers’ money — but I think Sainsbury’s Bank kept to the right side of it.

Most banks ask you to set up a way to pay money out of your account and need to be sure it is you — and not an identity thief — making the request.

Some banks fail to apply common sense here, especially when dealing with pensioners, who may not have a passport or driving licence.

Sainsbury’s Bank accepts a winter fuel allowance notice, but you had shredded yours. Your tax coding notice was too old — banks generally want a document issued within the past three months.

The bank said it would pay for you to get a certified copy of your driving licence. I am pleased to hear that you now have your money and all is well.

I recently took out motorcycle insurance with Hastings Direct and was sent the documents and a certificate.

A few weeks later, I was pulled over by the police, who could not find any evidence of my insurance. I was charged and my bike was impounded.

I rang Hastings and found the number plate it had on file showed a ‘U’ instead of a ‘V’. The error was amended and the police dropped the charges. I paid £150 to recover my bike.

Hastings first said it would pay half of the fee. Now it won’t and says I should have checked the documents more carefully.

M. A., Oxon.

Hastings Direct has investigated your complaint and found you put in the wrong details on the comparison site you used, which were sent through to Hastings.

It says that on the comparison site, vehicle details are not automatically filled in when the number plate is entered, so you must have done it manually.

I think you probably misread the number rather than mistyped it, as ‘U’ and ‘V’ are not near each other on a keyboard.

Clearly, as this was your error, Hastings will not be accepting responsibility. However, it does admit there was a delay in its communications with you.

It has apologised and offered £75 to compensate, which covers half the impounding fee.

Your letter is a lesson to us all to be absolutely certain that we input details correctly and then check our documents carefully.

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