Bride and groom to be left in lurch by travel company

PUBLISHED: 10:11 11 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:11 11 April 2013

Pat Reynolds and Carly Barrett have been left seriously out of pocket following Carly's hen party booked through Release Travel

Pat Reynolds and Carly Barrett have been left seriously out of pocket following Carly's hen party booked through Release Travel

Archant

A BRIDE and groom-to-be left more than £1,000 out of pocket just weeks before their wedding by a stag and hen company have been promised a refund after intervention from the Crow.

Litlington hen Carly Barrett, 24, wanted to celebrate her forthcoming wedding with a fun-filled trip to Cardiff, with 25 of her close friends.

Maid of honour, sister Vicki Watt, booked accommodation, quad biking and cocktail making through Release Travel. The hen group paid £132.99 each, a total of £3,457.74.

However, after seeing bad reports about the company on various websites the week before the hen weekend, where hundreds of people revealed how their hen or stag parties had been affected, Vicki contacted the hotel and was devastated to be told Release Travel had not paid them. Both activity companies then told her Release Travel had contacted them and cancelled two weeks previously.

Vicki, 26, said: “To find out just days before we were due to leave that the hen do had effectively been ruined was both stressful and frustrating. To put your hard-earned money and trust in a company that is supposed to make the stresses of organising a hen do easier, only to find that they have taken you for a fool is unacceptable and absolutely disgusting.

“It is made worse by the fact that they became increasingly difficult to contact, with any phone calls we made going completely unanswered. I only hope others see this and don’t make the same mistake we did.”

Carly and fiancé Pat Reynolds, 28, stumped up more than £3,000 to re-book the hotel, quad biking and cocktail making.

After threats of legal action, Release Travel paid the hotel bill just before the hen weekend. However, despite assurances they would be reimbursed for the activities, the couple are still waiting, leaving them £1,209 out of pocket.

Carly said: “When I heard the news from my sister that the hen company had effectively taken our money I was devastated. Not only because it was my hen do, but also because my friends had each paid a lot of money to celebrate with me.

“Now we are struggling to pay for our wedding and Release Travel are ignoring all our emails and phone calls.”

Pat said: “The company is an absolute disgrace. They initially claimed it was an admin error but there are numerous hen and stag parties in the same boat as us. They are still trying to get other people to pay knowing full well they have no intention of paying the activity companies.

“The worst thing about it all is my best men have booked the stag do through Release Travel and stand to lose almost a thousand pounds.”

After contact from the Crow, Release apologised and said it would be refunding the couple within the next few days for the hen party activities.

A spokesman said: “Our general terms are 28 days to process a refund if required. We have taken complete responsibility concerning the cancellation of the activities and apologised both prior to the event and since.

“We have promised a full refund for these events, this is normally within 28 days but we have said that it would be done within 10 working days.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that the majority of our hotels are booked with www.laterooms.com as we have a trade account with them. This is normal practice for many group organisers. As such, the hotels are only ever paid upon arrival when we use this booking system and this is normal practice.”

The company also said it would refund the balance for the cancelled stag weekend.

A spokesman for LateRooms.com said: “After looking into this we can confirm that Release Travel, also known as The Stag and Hen Group, do not and have never held a trade account with us.”

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