We’ve had a baby – now TUI wants an extra £1,200 for the hotel we booked in Italy
EDITED BY HOLLY THOMAS
I HAVE a booking with TUI for a sevennight holiday to Italy for August 2024. Since booking, my wife became pregnant and our daughter was born in the summer. I contacted TUI to add an infant and was told it would cost £1,200.
I have contacted several departments at the company, only to be told each time that we must pay for a room upgrade.
The TUI website shows that the room we have booked can accommodate two adults, one child and one infant, so why do we need to upgrade?
TUI told me to contact the hotel directly myself, to resolve the issue. The hotel simply referred me back to TUI. Please help.
A. B., Stoke-on-Trent. HOW frustrating to be pushed from pillar to post with no proper explanation for this huge extra charge for simply adding your tiny daughter to your holiday booking.
I asked TUI why it was charging this inflated price, especially as the description of the room you had already booked clearly stated it had plenty of space to accommodate your newly extended family.
I struggled to get TUI’s attention at first, with my email ignored. I had to chase to get an answer with several phone calls which eventually proved more fruitful.
Frustratingly for us all, TUI was unable to provide me with an explanation as to why you were repeatedly quoted £1,200 for bringing along your baby, on my intervention the company acted quickly to cut the charge to just £45, the more usual fee for simply amending a booking.
A TUI spokesman says: ‘We were delighted to be able to amend their booking to accommodate their new arrival and wish them a wonderful holiday in sunny Italy.’
Since many couples and families book holidays well in advance, a situation like yours must often arise.
One issue to watch out for is that while most people wait until a child is safely born before amending holiday bookings, TUI advises on its website that if flights are involved, expectant parents should consider booking a little one’s ticket before the birth.
This is because the number of babies allowed on each flight is limited for several reasons, including the type of aircraft.
As soon as the baby is born, parents need to contact the company to provide full details of the child’s name.
I CLOSED my son’s savings account with Halifax and the funds of £11,620 were transferred to a child’s savings bond with Saffron Building Society.
I spoke to Saffron a few days later and was told the funds were not in the account.
Saffron says it had initially accepted the funds but then returned them to Halifax.
Both Saffron and Halifax say they don’t have my son’s savings and both say they cannot do anything else to help me.
I have no idea where to go now. Please can you help return my son’s life savings?
Z. K., Hertfordshire. IT’S one thing to lose savings — but to lose those precious funds carefully squirreled away for a child is another. I totally felt your sense of panic. Particularly after you had to go back and forth over the course of a few days.
You tell me that you went to Saffron to explain that the Halifax account had been closed, but you were then told by Saffron that it didn’t have the funds and to go back to Halifax. Halifax then told you that as the account is closed, the funds could not, and have not, been returned. What a headspin.
I spoke to Halifax and urged the bank to move quickly so that you didn’t have to lose any more sleep over this. After some detective work at its end, it seems it was an administrative error that caused the money not to reach its final destination and remain in the ether somewhere.
A reference number was not sent with the funds transfer, which meant that when Saffron received the payment it didn’t know who it belonged to or what to do with it.
The rigmarole of having the money go missing was enough to put you off moving the cash — even with better rates on offer elsewhere — and you’ve settled for a new account within Halifax.
It has agreed to make a £50 payment to you for the inconvenience it caused — and giving you the incorrect information that the funds could not be returned.
It will also backdate the interest on the Kids’ Saver account — paying 3.4 pc — from the date the money ‘disappeared’.
Transfers don’t always go to plan, but it’s still important to make every effort to get the best rate possible.
Children’s savings accounts routinely offer great rates, whether you have a lump sum or want to pay in a monthly amount. regular saver accounts which pay high rates of interest are suitable if you’re saving each month and don’t need to withdraw anything as they need you to leave the money untouched usually for 12 months.
There are also fixed- term accounts, which is what you were drawn to at Saffron, which tend to pay decent rates.
It’s also important to consider investing for children because of the long-term nature of saving for kids. You can invest or save up to £9,000 per year in a Junior Isa.
■ SALLY HAMILTON is away.
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