Questions of Cash: 'Price match' with online holiday failed to materialise


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The Independent Online

Q. I am in dispute with Thomson regarding a holiday I booked.

My boyfriend and I decided to stay in a First Choice [part of Tui Travel, along with Thomson] holiday village, which friends had recommended for a family with babies. At the Thomson shop I was offered a holiday for more than £5,500, which is out of our budget. I checked on the First Choice website, and the Tenerife holiday village came up at £3,332.50.

I went back to the shop and was told it would match the online price, except for a £30 "price-matching fee", to which I agreed. Later that day I found a resort in Egypt for the same dates. This was a bigger resort with better facilities, so I called the shop and the assistant said that as it was only 30 minutes since I had booked, it would be able to do this without a charge. The web price per person was £1,100.

When I received the revised booking confirmation, I was shocked to see that I had been charged £1,517 per adult. This was £417 more than the web price. I am now being charged a total of £3,623.50 – an extra £834 that I do not feel I should be forced to pay. TC, Bracknell

A. Thomson says there has been a misunderstanding and you will be charged just £84 more than the price you agreed initially in the shop. We asked you to confirm that you are happy with this outcome, but you have not yet responded – understandably given that you are now due to give birth.

Q. I applied to the Passport Office for my first passport. I had been on my mother's passport, but I had never had my own. I have a strained relationship with my mum and it is impossible to find out what happened to that very old passport from my young childhood.

I paid £90 for a passport and I paid extra to have the form checked at the post office. But I have had my request turned down and have been told to complete form LS01 to report a lost or stolen passport, which is not appropriate as I have never had a passport and it requests information I previously provided. KM, Manchester.

A. Despite your circumstances, the Home Office says that technically you are not applying for a first passport, as you were on your mother's passport. Therefore your application was submitted on the wrong form and – even though this seems strange – you should have used a form to request a replacement passport.

The Home Office says the Post Office "check and send" service would not have understood your detailed circumstances, so was not to blame. These factors also caused you extra costs. The Home Office promises that the Passport Office will phone you to provide personal assistance with your application.

Q. I approached EE in October about its home broadband and mobile phone service and was told I needed an engineer to visit. I waited in a whole day, but the engineer did not show up. EE then informed me that a connection would have to be delayed for another month. In the meantime I would be without phone or internet access, so I immediately cancelled the order.

A month later I found that £138 has been taken from my account by Orange [part of EE]. I went to my bank to cancel the direct debit, which refunded my money. After this, EE sent me numerous emails requesting payment. VB, London.

A. A spokeswoman for EE says: "We have apologised to [the reader] after an administrative issue meant that her broadband installation was delayed. As requested, we have closed her account in full." EE adds that it will not make further requests for any payment.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at:

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