A COUPLE have been devastated after their dream vacation was ruined due to a tour operator mistake.
The couple ended up with just £20 spending money for a four-day stay in New York.
Michael Hulme had pre-booked a £1,168 holiday package through tour operator Hays Travel.
However, after he and his partner Kerry Barlow arrived in the Big Apple, they found their hotel hadn’t been paid for.
Michael was then forced to foot the $800 bill, and the couple were left with just $28 (£20) pocket money for the entire trip.
He contacted Hays Travel who told him he would receive a refund within 28 days – too late for the couple to afford some of the city’s top attractions.
The 59-year-old, from Stoke, was forced to ask Kerry’s brother to loan them some money so they could make the most of their ‘once in a lifetime trip’.
Michael told the Stoke Sentinel: “The trip was a surprise for my partner and a once in a lifetime break as it was somewhere she had always wanted to go.
“I paid for the vacation package in monthly instalments and it was all paid for in March 2021.
“But when we got to the hotel, they said our room hadn’t been paid for.
“I contacted Hays Travel and they said the holiday had been canceled and re-booked. But as far as I was concerned it had been paid for.
“If it had been cancelled, why were we still told we could still go on vacation?”
Hays Travel confirmed Michael’s money would be refunded, but it would take him up to 28 days to get his $800 back.
Michael said: “We were only there for four days and we couldn’t wait 28 days, it was our pocket money for the attractions. I only had $28 left on my card. Luckily I had $400 in cash that we could use for food.”
He added: “It was very stressful and I don’t want anyone else to go through the same thing. It just ruined the holiday.
“I was having panic attacks, I was suffering from a bit of depression and my anxiety set in.
“You come all this way not expecting trouble, but we were stuck in this situation and my partner was in tears. I was in real trouble, I didn’t know what we could do.”
Hays Travel reportedly apologized to Michael and Kerry and gave them £100 as a token of goodwill.
A spokesperson said: “We were extremely sorry to learn of the confusion over Mr Hulme’s hotel arrangements. We have arranged for him to receive a full refund, plus compensation, as soon as possible. .”
The tour operator blamed the hotel for the “confusion”, but the Gallivant Times Square Hotel said it was not its fault either.
A spokesperson said: “This booking was canceled by a third party website on March 22, 2021.”
Michael and Kerry aren’t the only ones to have their vacation plans ruined at the last minute.
A family of five’s first overseas holiday was ruined after easyJet canceled their flight after arriving at the airport.
Another family experienced a similar scenario after Ryanair canceled their flight 45 minutes before takeoff.
A family of four have won £2,000 after airline mistakes delayed their holiday by three days.