Hoover row hits more turbulence

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The Independent Online
MORE allegations of sharp practices dogged the beleaguered Hoover free-flight promotion yesterday as angry customers continued to sign up for a pressure group planning to launch a High Court action against the company.

Harry Cichy, founder of the Hoover Holiday Pressure Group, said one recipient of a free flight had been charged pounds 50 to take her four-week-old infant on a British Airways scheduled service, despite the fact that the airline does not charge for children under two years of age.

He said that the customer was forced by Hoover's travel agent, Your Leisure, to make an immediate decision and to pay over the telephone with her credit card. She was told that if she did not, she would forfeit her ticket.

Hoover said that the charge was an administrative fee.

Mr Cichy added that other travellers, who had already taken their holidays, discovered that they had been charged dollars 66 by Your Leisure for hotel rooms in the United States which they could have booked for dollars 40 on arrival.

In a separate case, a London resident who was offered a flight to the US from Glasgow travelled to Scotland only to find that his flight had been diverted to Manchester to pick up 40 other Hoover passengers.

Almost 2,000 disgruntled customers have now signed up for the Holiday Pressure Group, 500 short of the number Mr Cichy said would be needed to make a High Court action against Hoover viable. Hoover estimates that 120,000 people have flown to the US or Europe on free flights, which were offered with any Hoover appliance costing more than pounds 100. The company has so far refused to meet the group.