NI couple 'left high and dry in sun' after holiday firm fails to pay up
A Northern Ireland couple who cut short their sun holiday after an internet company let them down are warning others to beware.
Paddy and Margaret Toner from Magherafelt said they were left "high and dry" in Spain.
They had paid upfront for a nine-day holiday in Torremolinos via alpharooms.com. But when they got there, the hotel had not been paid.
In a statement on Monday alpharooms.com blamed a "technical issue."
"Owing to a technical issue on Friday 14th October, some of our customer's bookings were mistakenly cancelled," the company tweeted.
"We are in the process of contacting all affected customers and would like to apologise for any disruption caused."
For the Toners, it is too late. They cut short their sun holiday because they did not want to pay their bill twice over.
"I booked and paid £391.05 on 30 September," said Paddy Toner.
'Please pay again'
He printed off his accommodation voucher from alpharooms.com and presented it to the staff at the MS Agua Marina hotel when the couple arrived last Thursday 13 October.
On Friday evening at 21:00 BST, the receptionist rang their room and asked to speak them.
"She told us that our hotel had not been paid for. I said that we had paid, She gave me back our accommodation voucher and asked me to contact alpharooms.com."
When Mr Toner rang the number, he could not get through.
The following day, the hotel talked to him again about the lack of payment.
"I felt they were putting a bit more pressure on," he said.
"We were told, 'If you want to stay, you are going to have to pay'. But there was no way I was going to pay again."
"We managed to book return flights back on Saturday and that cost us an extra £123.
"There were four or five other people who had also booked and whose accommodation had not been paid."
"We just said, 'Let's get home'. It was very disappointing and we are annoyed."
When Mr Toner got back to Northern Ireland, he rang alpharooms.com again.
"The man on the other end of the phone apologised and offered to re-imburse us," he said.
"But here we are, off work this week and sitting at home rather than Spain."
He said he wanted to highlight what had happened so that other people would not fall into the same trap.
No-one was available for comment at alpharooms.com.