Moneywise fights for your rights - Melville Castle, Royal Mail

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Melville Castle was a letdown

My husband and I attended a wedding at Melville Castle Hotel near Edinburgh in October 2015.When we arrived at the hotel, just half an hour before the wedding ceremony, our room wasn’t ready. In the end, we just dropped off the luggage just before dinner.

When we finally got to our room at the end of the evening, we were shocked to find it was dirty and not prepared for paying guests. There were cobwebs on the window and the carpet was stained.We also felt the room wasn’t suitable as a double – we could only access the
bed from one side. Bearing in mind that the hotel was full and how late it was, we didn’t want to make a fuss.

However, we completed a questionnaire and handed it to the receptionist the following morning. I also told her that we would be writing a letter of complaint.This was a top- notch hotel, and I feel we received shoddy service.

After writing twice to the manager of the hotel, enclosing photographs of the room, he eventually replied suggesting that a refund was not justified. He offered us an upgrade and a bottle of sparkling wine if we visited again.The room cost £120 a night and we’d like a refund. Can you help?


It's always frustrating when you’re looking forward to a break and it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Melville Castle’s website says: “Classically furnished bedrooms are complete with crisp linen sheets, fluffy white towels and enchanting views of the surrounding woodland.”

Looking at CS’s photos, I can see why she might have been disappointed by the room.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, consumers may be entitled to compensation if there is a difference between the value of the room they pay for and the one they get. In addition, CS suffered ‘loss of enjoyment’ because the room was not up to scratch.

However, it’s always better to complain at the first opportunity in order to give the hotel a chance to put things right – and to ask to speak to the manager, rather than relying on staff to pass on a complaint. But CS did take photos to back up her complaint and wrote to the manager right away.

When I contacted the manager of Melville Castle, he was unhappy with the comments CS had made, saying that the room was nice and was in use every day as a double. He said that the couple should have raised a complaint during their stay so that staff could have had a chance to put things right.

However, as a goodwill gesture, he offered our reader the chance to come back for a complimentary night’s stay with bed and breakfast.

But, as the couple live far away and had no desire to stay at the hotel again, they declined his offer.

After I approached the manager again, he offered CS a goodwill gesture of £50, which she has accepted. She says: “I’m glad it’s been resolved, but I would have been happier if he had offered this at the start.”

Moneywise asked Melville Castle’s manager for his response, but he declined to comment on CS’s complaint.


Royal Mail handed over our Sky Q hub to someone else

We got a Royal Mail card through the door last month to say an item was waiting for collection at our local Royal Mail depot. It was a Sky Q Hub, which we’d ordered.

But when my boyfriend went to collect it, he was told that it had already been picked up by the previous owners of our property when they went to pick up parcels addressed to them through the mail redirection service.

They should have been given the items that were in their names only, but instead the staff handed everything over. The member of staff even confirmed that the post handed over was clearly in our name and that no ID had been presented for it, but said: “We’ve known them for years, so thought it would be alright.”

Having looked at the Royal Mail card, it clearly says that to collect an item, you must bring several forms of ID and “if someone else is collecting, you must give them your ID and this card”. The previous owners had neither.

I complained to Royal Mail – the member of staff was very nice but he wanted us to put in a claim for our missing items even though it was not our fault.

We have contacted Sky, which was sympathetic and agreed to send out a new Sky hub, but now we’re worried Royal Mail will just hand over our post again if we don’t get there first!


When Moneywise contacted Royal Mail, it was very apologetic and said it would look into what went wrong at the depot.

Royal Mail spokesperson Sally Hopkins says: “We apologise to IS, who did not receive the first-class service she expected and deserved from Royal Mail.

‘We have reminded our people of the correct procedure to follow when customers come to collect an item that we were unable to deliver because they were not at home, and we could not leave it with a neighbour, to ensure this does not happen again. We have written to apologise and to offer her a payment for the inconvenience caused.”

IS says: “I appreciate the goodwill gesture of £50. So long as it never happens again, we can let the matter rest.”


Always double-check whether you need a visa 

I would like advice about a complaint I have with a travel agent. Last year, I bought a ticket over the phonefrom Emenac Travel for my mother to fly from Lagos to Boston, via Toronto.

I asked if she would need a transit visa and the customer services representative said that, as it was as short stopover, my mother didn’t need one.

However, when my mother arrived at the airport, she was refused travel without the visa.

When I called Emenac Travel to complain, I was asked to pay a £50 deposit, which I assumed was to change my mother’s ticket so that she could fly without the need to touch down in Canada. But I ended up paying for a new flight the next day at Lagos airport.

I have requested a refund for the original ticket I bought and for the £50 deposit Emenac Travel charged me. However, the firm says it’s my fault. Please can you help?


Whether you were given incorrect information about a visa or not, it is up to the person travelling on the flight to check with the country they are visiting whether they need a visa –even for a short stopover.

When I contacted Emenac Travel, it sent me a copy of a form our reader had signed that included terms and conditions for booking the flight. It clearly stated that it was the passenger’s responsibility to check that travel documentation, such as visas, were in order.

Air Canada, which AO’s mother had been due to fly with, also clearly states on its website that it is the sole responsibility of the passenger to have all the necessary travel documents for landing in Canada.

A spokesperson for Emenac Travel said deposits paid towards flights are non- refundable but, as a goodwill gesture, it would refund the £50 that AO paid towards a second ticket, but didn’t use.

AO was disappointed with the outcome, saying: “Lessons learnt – I will know better next time.”