Center parcs - A disgrace.

eisfspike

Registered User
Messages
64
I am absolutely disgusted with this company and it goes to show how broken their processes are.

I was informed by their customer service that I could book two weeks before I was due to arrive in Longford village. In addition when I logged into my itinerary it told me to come back exactly two weeks before arrival and would not allow me to book any activities or restaurants etc until then.

In preparation I had planned to get up early on the Monday in order to book a detailed itinerary for myself and eight others that were in my party. While on Friday I was looking at the activities I noticed that the portal to book restaurants etc had been opened to my horror. There had been no communication from center Parks in relation to this and now as a result we can't book the swimming pool and restaurant availability is limited. They have essentially destroyed this holiday for us after spending euros 1700 for a four night break.

I rang Center Parks to discuss this and they assured me that an email had been sent to my registered account to tell me that the portal was opened earlier than expected. After escalating the issue because I never received an email I was finally told that because I clicked the button to opt out for marketing purposes is the reason why I never received the email. This is the most ridiculous excuse I have ever heard as I said to the supervisor that me not receiving this email has essentially crippled my holiday. They cannot help me in any way as there is nothing they can do. I have asked for compensation they say they are not at fault because I opted out of their marketing they weren't allowed to inform me that the portal was opening earlier.

Any ideas on where I can go from here as I don't want to have six disappointed children on my hands by canceling but I really feel they drop the ball here.
 

ThatNewGuy

Registered User
Messages
50
Being informed about your booked holiday is not marketing information, so their argument would not stand up if pressured. I'm opted out of all Booking.com marketing material, but they still send me emails with updated on my trips!

How difficult is it for you to move your 4 nights and get them to book your desired services in advance even if it's outside their usual 2 week window? Ideally this would only be a week or two later than planned, as in theory their pool booking shouldnt be open that far in advance yet?
They will naturally be resistant to any compensation that costs them money as it sets a precedent for other people, but facilitating you as a priority on a different date doesnt "cost" them anything, plus saves some possible negative publicity.

The focus should be on ensuring the kids have a good time - you can have a fight with center parcs in the background, but i feel like fully cancelling without any back up could accidentally cut off your nose to spite your face
 

MrEarl

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2,206
Opting out of marketing is not applicable here.

I'd ask to speak to their Genealogy Manager, give them a chance to put matters right.

If they don't, I'd cancel the booking and take them to the small claims court if you don't get 100% of your money back.

Personally, I think they are dreadfully overpriced, for what they provide, so I wouldn't accept anything less than excellent service.
 

Clamball

Registered User
Messages
288
So centre Parks set up a system so that 2 weeks before your holiday commenced you could book activities, meals, etc. I guess they devised this system so that someone who booked 3 weeks in advance would have the same opportunity as someone who booked 6 months in advance in booking activities etc. Otherwise the closer it came to date of arrival the fewer activities would be left and people would be less inclined to book. And they told you all of this at booking and you knew the date the portal opened so you were prepared.

However they chose to change the portal opening day but decided to only inform a select few customers. This is highly unfair to the customer but you have your money paid now and they particularly don’t care.
A bit like reserving your sun-lounger in Spain, first in with the towel gets the lounger, but if they open the gates an hour earlier than normal and they all get reserved, you get nothing when you turn up at the correct time.

The fact you cannot book any swimming pool time is horrendous because that is one of their main attractions. Imagine telling the kids not to pack their togs. I think you need to push back really hard. The error on their part was not informing the customer that they changed from the information they provided on the booking form. You have been treated very unfairly due to their error, your holiday experience is not what you paid for or is specified in the conditions on the booking form you were given. They have already agreed they did not inform you of the changes they made, due to their ineptness, so the fault lies with them. You have the right to insist the original terms. Imagine not being told of a change in flight time due to not selecting marketing material.

How their error occurred should make no difference to you. They should be, oh no we made a terrible error which we know will impact you badly, how can we make it up to you.
 

Leper

Registered User
Messages
1,644
I was shocked on reading the original post here. Was I surprised? - No, it's what I have come to expect of many things Irish with hassle, worry and awe when things should run smoothly. The last thing you want on a holiday is stress.

I recommend you get every penny of your money to be returned to you and spend it elsewhere.
 

mathepac

Registered User
Messages
7,492
I've used Centre Parts in Germany, France for adults on week-ends away. Just a place to lay the heads and get a bit of grub, local boozer for those who wanted it, BBQ space near the houses, no organised activities. We found them fine, stress free, which is what you want on a holiday. Disappointed to hear there's an Irish version of the product available that's low-rent and stressful but not surprised.
 

peemac

Registered User
Messages
998
I've used Centre Parts in Germany, France for adults on week-ends away. Just a place to lay the heads and get a bit of grub, local boozer for those who wanted it, BBQ space near the houses, no organised activities. We found them fine, stress free, which is what you want on a holiday. Disappointed to hear there's an Irish version of the product available that's low-rent and stressful but not surprised.
Plenty to do in Longford and it's quite similar to the French version.

You can simply go there, relax, have a barbeque, few drinks and destress.

But many also want to use the pool and restaurants and book activities.

Problem is that there are capacity issues due to covid and they had a system in place which they changed without notifying the op.

It does not come under a marketing email as it's pertinent information regarding their holiday. Just like the email that they most likely received with the booking confirmation.


But it's no use getting angry at the person on the end of a phone line, they are unlikely to be able to do anything.

Write a physical Letter to the general manager Darragh Feighery, keep it relatively short, let him know the disappointment and request that he rectifies it.

Don't be too dramatic. Almost suggest that you'd hope to be a regular visitor if you enjoyed this break. Therefore they will see long term benefit of a successful outcome.

If someone makes a complaint to a company and acts in a way that the company thinks that they will never be a future customer, then the minimum possible solution is given. If the company sees future business, they tend to be far more generous in the solution offered.


So write the letter tomorrow, keep it simple, keep it to the point, let them know how disappointed and let down you feel and say you hope that they will be able to rectify it so that you have a holiday to remember.
Include your email address and phone number.

Post it Monday and I bet you will have a very positive response by Friday
 

eisfspike

Registered User
Messages
64
Thanks all. I am going to try and ring Joe Duffy on Monday and see if they will discuss it. I can't really cancel as the kids are really looking forward to it (as much as I'd love to). The fact is they would have 100 people ready to take my spot as they are booked out until September. In any case even if someone was to take my spot they won't get the pool as it's all booked out...... I spoke to the guest relations manager in there during the escalation process. Didn't get anywhere with her.
 

eisfspike

Registered User
Messages
64
Plenty to do in Longford and it's quite similar to the French version.

You can simply go there, relax, have a barbeque, few drinks and destress.

But many also want to use the pool and restaurants and book activities.

Problem is that there are capacity issues due to covid and they had a system in place which they changed without notifying the op.

It does not come under a marketing email as it's pertinent information regarding their holiday. Just like the email that they most likely received with the booking confirmation.


But it's no use getting angry at the person on the end of a phone line, they are unlikely to be able to do anything.

Write a physical Letter to the general manager Darragh Feighery, keep it relatively short, let him know the disappointment and request that he rectifies it.

Don't be too dramatic. Almost suggest that you'd hope to be a regular visitor if you enjoyed this break. Therefore they will see long term benefit of a successful outcome.

If someone makes a complaint to a company and acts in a way that the company thinks that they will never be a future customer, then the minimum possible solution is given. If the company sees future business, they tend to be far more generous in the solution offered.


So write the letter tomorrow, keep it simple, keep it to the point, let them know how disappointed and let down you feel and say you hope that they will be able to rectify it so that you have a holiday to remember.
Include your email address and phone number.

Post it Monday and I bet you will have a very positive response by Friday
Great post and advice. The funny thing is I have been there twice already in Longford so I am a returning customer. I mentioned that also but they didn't care. They still couldn't do anything for me
 

Zenith63

Registered User
Messages
869
Disappointed to hear there's an Irish version of the product available that's low-rent and stressful but not surprised.
FWIW we went pre-COVID and thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff were all professional and very friendly. Pool was great, accommodation was great, food was good. We went off-peak so the price was very reasonable for what you got. Other friends have had similar experiences and it seems to be similar to what friends in the UK experience there. In summary, it’s not ‘Paddy spec’ and I’d highly recommend it, but probably not at the moment based on the OP’s lousy situation!
 

peemac

Registered User
Messages
998
Thanks all. I am going to try and ring Joe Duffy on Monday and see if they will discuss it. I can't really cancel as the kids are really looking forward to it (as much as I'd love to). The fact is they would have 100 people ready to take my spot as they are booked out until September. In any case even if someone was to take my spot they won't get the pool as it's all booked out...... I spoke to the guest relations manager in there during the escalation process. Didn't get anywhere with her.
That really is not a route to go.

It will cause you far more grief than you could imagine and no matter what the outcome, you will not enjoy your holiday.

Pen and paper in a pleasant tone to the right person will ALWAYS elicit the best response.
 

Leper

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Messages
1,644
Writing a letter to Centre Parcs probably will elicit a response something like "We have an unusually huge demand on our services at this time and consequently could not meet all your holiday requirements, but we are enclosing a voucher for a free hamburger on your next year's visit." or at best "we will try to obtain as much access to the swimming pool on your next visit provided (a) . . . (b) . . . "

Or by contacting Joe Duffy you likely will get all your money refunded pronto and/or a decent offer of Centre Parc facilities on your next visit.

Whatever way you look at this, the Joe Duffy approach is easier and may pay a higher dividend (this forum is Askaboutmoney afterall) for less effort.

If you are contacting Mr Duffy I recommend you write down everything you will say and be au fait with whatever questions you will be asked. You should know what questions you'll be asked. You have Centre Parcs over a barrel. They need bad publicity like I need a Life Loan. Go for it!
 

PGF2016

Registered User
Messages
479
Writing a letter to Centre Parcs probably will elicit a response something like "We have an unusually huge demand on our services at this time and consequently could not meet all your holiday requirements, but we are enclosing a voucher for a free hamburger on your next year's visit." or at best "we will try to obtain as much access to the swimming pool on your next visit provided (a) . . . (b) . . . "

Or by contacting Joe Duffy you likely will get all your money refunded pronto and/or a decent offer of Centre Parc facilities on your next visit.

Whatever way you look at this, the Joe Duffy approach is easier and may pay a higher dividend (this forum is Askaboutmoney afterall) for less effort.

If you are contacting Mr Duffy I recommend you write down everything you will say and be au fait with whatever questions you will be asked. You should know what questions you'll be asked. You have Centre Parcs over a barrel. They need bad publicity like I need a Life Loan. Go for it!
Maybe give the company a chance before speculating what they will do.
 

mathepac

Registered User
Messages
7,492
OP gave them €1,700 and wasn't allowed the opportunity to tailor the holiday for his/her groups needs. Do everything legal to put the focus on them and their pathetic excuse for not keeping him properly informed and enjoying the holiday.
 

Smoneen

Registered User
Messages
66
From the legal section of their website:

“Please note that if you have a forthcoming booking we will send you service emails related to your break or spa break even when you have unsubscribed from marketing communications, as this is information you will require for your break or spa break”.

Based on the above it sounds like they should have contacted you. You can find the details of the legals of their marketing preferences here:
 

Leper

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Messages
1,644
Maybe give the company a chance before speculating what they will do.
Not on your nanny! Centreparcs have had 15 months to get their act together. They fell down on the job and have a captive audience. The least they can do is deliver on their promises with a stress free outcome. But, they couldn't even do this.

Does anybody want to be in a plane where the pilot gets 95% of the landings correct? I want to be in a plane where the pilot gets all the landings 100% correct.

Talk to Joe; it's the way to go!
 

peemac

Registered User
Messages
998
Not on your nanny! Centreparcs have had 15 months to get their act together. They fell down on the job and have a captive audience. The least they can do is deliver on their promises with a stress free outcome. But, they couldn't even do this.

Does anybody want to be in a plane where the pilot gets 95% of the landings correct? I want to be in a plane where the pilot gets all the landings 100% correct.

Talk to Joe; it's the way to go!
Almost all people staying have had no issues. This seems to be a one off. I'd definitely point out their policy regarding emails in the post a couple up as it means that their excuse doesn't wash.

The problem with the whine to Joe show is exactly that. Many people just see it as a whine show. Others will laugh at and think "middle income mummy with first world problems" - there are 6 children on this trip. The op will be recognised and that then can lead to unsavoury types making comments to the kids.

Just not worth airing in such a public manner when there is plenty of time for a better outcome.
 

Leper

Registered User
Messages
1,644
Almost all people staying have had no issues. This seems to be a one off. I'd definitely point out their policy regarding emails in the post a couple up as it means that their excuse doesn't wash.

The problem with the whine to Joe show is exactly that. Many people just see it as a whine show. Others will laugh at and think "middle income mummy with first world problems" - there are 6 children on this trip. The op will be recognised and that then can lead to unsavoury types making comments to the kids.

Just not worth airing in such a public manner when there is plenty of time for a better outcome.
The problems in this case were well predicted by anybody with the least knowledge of customer service. Centreparcs fell down on the job. A good company would have contacted the OP in advance of the opening of the booking portal. Time now for Centreparcs to put up the hand of being wrong and despite the OP's efforts Centreparcs failed. Failure to do this is an admission that they thought they'd get away with it.

This is not a whine to Joe Duffy. It's somebody sticking up for his principles against a huge company who are letting down their paying customers. €1700.00 has changed hands - That's quite an amount of Customer Service to be made up.
 

Black Sheep

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2,291
I would write that brief letter to the General Manager outlining your problem and stating that you have exhausted all other options without a resolution and now regretfully your only option is to "Talk to Joe" I think you'll have a response.
 
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