Windsor man not happy with vacation compensation offer from Sunwing
Published Wednesday, March 9, 2016 4:59PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, March 9, 2016 6:32PM EST
Nearly two dozen people are seeking compensation from Sunwing Vacations for their recent hotel stay in Havana, Cuba.
It was a stay that was allegedly so bad, the Canadian Consulate got involved.
Richard Foster reached out to CTV News last week to share what he calls his vacation horror story.
He's part of a group of people who were removed from the Cuban resort by the Canadian Consulate, after they alleged health violations.
Sunwing Vacations has now responded to at least one of the complaints.
But Foster, and at least one other person who is now speaking out, say it's not enough.
“The whole thing was terrible," says Foster.
Havana's Club Acuario is rated as a three-star resort by Sunwing.
Foster booked the trip for he and his brother and traveled from Feb. 12 – 19, for $2,400.
He says online it looked great, but upon arrival, Foster says conditions at the resort were appalling.
“There was water running through the ceiling from the light fixtures down the wall,” says Foster. “The main corridor, the women's bathroom was backed-up."
CTV News tracked down other Canadian guests, who were at the hotel at the same time, with similar stories.
Nick Thomas, from New Brunswick says "everywhere you went around the resort, it was just dirt, on top of dirt on top of dirt and the dining room wasn't any better."
Michael Morris from Tecumseh says "the toilet was overflowing, and it was overflowing into the hall. The manager, she said, just walk around it."
They say the pool was filthy, rooms had cracked tiles, mirrors and fixtures and there was no running hot water.
Disgruntled guests eventually called the Sunwing rep asking to get moved to a more suitable hotel. Thomas says he and his wife were charged a moving fee.
“We actually paid $1,496 to get out of that place,” says Thomas. “I've never seen anything, anywhere, never mind Cuba, to that degree of dirt and disgust."
Just a day later, citing health concerns, Foster called the Canadian Consulate.
“When I called the consulate, right away, they ordered Sunwing to move us,” says Foster. “And they deemed it unsafe for Canadians to be there."
Foster says there are at least 22 other guests, who are now seeking financial compensation from Sunwing.
Sunwing acknowledged foster's complaint and notified CTV News it would be launching a full investigation into the hotel. Just a few days later, they've offered Foster a settlement.
The offer was a $700 refund, for the hotel portion of his vacation booking.
In an email, Sunwing also apologized to Foster saying: "We understand how unsettling and upsetting it is when your much anticipated vacation to Cuba was not everything you had imagined or expected, and we apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced."
They also asked him to sign a confidentiality agreement to, quote, "avoid and prevent publicity regarding the settlement."
Foster said no.
“I declined,” he says. “I told them my whole vacation was ruined."
Foster wants his full trip refunded and for others who paid a fee to get moved before the consulate stepped in to get their money back as well.
“I'm trying to do the right thing, not only for myself, but every other traveler that's going to go there and go through the same mishap. How many people do they do this to? Somebody needs to stand up to a corporation like that."
Sunwing did respond to CTV News on Wednesday, saying:
"We have investigated the matter and have offered [Mr. Foster] a full refund for the hotel portion of his stay as well as his companions based on the inconvenience they experienced. While he was in Cuba our local representatives acted swiftly (and absorbed all related costs) to transfer his reservation to another hotel in order that he could continue his vacation. We strive to exceed our customers' expectations and we are sorry to hear about Mr. Foster's experience, we have however been advocating on his behalf and do feel that 100% reimbursement of the hotel costs is a fair offer."