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Consumer: Julie Howe
Company: Golden Sun
Date: 2 August 2002
 
 
 

Billericay
Essex
2nd August 2002

Dear Sir / Madam,

Following our recent 14 day holiday to Kardemena, Kos on 10 July 2002, I feel it is necessary to bring to your attention the following points which we were less than satisfied with.

Before even leaving the UK, we paid extra to fly from Stanstead airport for convenience only to have our flights re located to Gatwick. (we later found out that flights still left Stanstead on our original schedule).
A bad start, but in optimism we thought things can only get better, how wrong could we have been..

Upon arrival in Kardemena, Kos we were incredibly disappointed with the standard of our accommodation. (Stefanos Studios) Our Rep 'Emma' practically run off after showing us to our rooms, which incidentally backed on to a barren field adjacent to a noisy, smelly farmyard. We soon discovered the reason for her haste when it took 5 minutes to unlock one of our doors. Despite the struggle with the door, we felt that the plastic door handles were not sturdy enough for the large wooden doors. Later in the vacation we were proved correct after the entire door handle broke away!! Once inside (eventually) we realised that there were no safety deposit boxes or security drawers to store our valuables. Next to make matters worse, the toilet seat broke and both showers (without holders or curtains) flooded the entire bathroom and part of the floor in the main room. This was quite worrying considering the electric fridge sat right outside the bathroom door.

By now we had decided enough was enough and that first thing the next day we would visit the Golden Sun office (which we were told was situated in the main square) to request to be re located. It was at this point when the first power cut happened. As we had no warning about what turned out to be a frequent, almost daily occurrence we were stuck in darkness with no torch / candles or sense of orientation.

Leaving our luggage unpacked, we set off the next day to speak to the Golden Sun representatives in their office prior to the 'Welcome Meeting'. After finally finding the office we discussed our concerns with the staff. The fact that we were out of town was mentioned to us by Gemstone Travel when booking the holiday. However, we were told that we would easily be able to hail taxis to and from town. This unfortunately was not true and we very rarely saw any taxis along our strip of road. This was very worrying as there was no phone / reception / security desk at Stefanos, so if there had been an emergency, the only possible way to reach the town would have been to walk 15 minutes along what was mostly an unpaved rocky road.

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We were horrified at the response from the staff who were rude and avassive towards us and our problems.

When we requested to be relocated we were offered to look at a hotel in an entirely different resort on the other side of the island. We were then told that we would have to responsible for moving all luggage and any extra costs incurred would have to be settled by ourselves. We felt we were stuck, with no alternative but to stay where we were.

The staff at the Golden Sun office were not at all fazed by our problems and any queries or requests were answered in sarcastically.

We asked if we could have a spare set of keys each for our rooms, they pointed out the place where we could have them cut for a reasonable price.

When we mentioned that there was no way of getting a taxi from our apartments to town - we were told we could hire bikes!!

When asked where the hotel next door with the swimming pool was they just replied:'That's life, Gemstone Travel have lied to you'

When we enquired why we had no warning about the power cuts, the staff said they had no way of predicting when they would happen. Although I think they missed the point on this, because they happened nearly every night for a least 1 hour.

We were told that safety deposit boxes are actually unsafe because people can pick them up and carry them away. There were however special shops which held safety deposit boxes, but they were a 15 minute walk away from us and had limited opening times.

They were so unsympathetic towards our case that it lead me to believe that this was a regular occurrence for them. Eventually they did offer some concern about the broken toilet seat and the unsecure doors to which they promised that these problems would be fixed and extra locks would be fitted. At least we had something to look forward to!

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With the news that there was no real way of resolving any of our problems we grudgingly made our way to the 'Welcome Meeting' where the previously obnoxious reps 'Emma', 'Beth' and co. suddenly changed into the friendliest of people as they told us about their 'Favourite Excursions', which we discovered were half the price if booked independently in the town.

During the 'Welcome Meeting' it was brought to our attention that all the information relevant to our stay and the details of our flights home would be maintained on our notice boards situated either inside our doors or at the reception. As we had no reception we assumed later that ink run scribbled message was about check out times. As it turned out the note on the back of our door was in regard to keeping the room on a little longer in the event of evening flights (which applied to us) We could tell it was old as the additional cost was quoted in Drachma.

That would be the last time we saw 'Emma' until the day before our departure. When she arrived on her bike I suggested that we may have just seen a mirage. After enquiring as to where us notice board was she rudely snapped asking whether we had been to the 'Welcome Meeting' we told her we had then asked her again where the notice board was. She then (obviously embarrassed) pointed out an old scrap of plastic propped up on someone's patio at the front of the block.


Nobody did come to fix the toilet seat and door handle which we ended up screwing on ourselves with a makeshift screwdriver!

The day prior to leaving we asked the cleaner, whose English was poor, about keeping our room until 16.30 (check out was at 12.00) she nodded and told us 'Speak tomorrow'. At least we would not have to worry about stowing our luggage for the day if we had a room. It was at 11.00am on the day of our departure when we were told that we had to evacuate our rooms by noon.

This chain of events had become incredibly frustrating and more and more unbelievable as the holiday went on. The icing on the cake was on the final evening when around 300 sheep with bells round their necks came down to feed in the dry field which had been our view for the fortnight.

I look forward to your response on these issues.

Yours sincerely, Julie Howe

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