Travel agency steps in to pay back customers for Sunwing trip without power

She called it the worst vacation of her life but a Yarmouth County woman, her husband and two friends have been fully reimbursed by their travel company for a trip to the Dominican Republic.

However they're still waiting for any response from Sunwing Vacations, the company that was responsible for the trip.

"They [Sunwing] never contacted me. I never heard a word," Michelle Murray told CBC News.

"I still can't believe they didn't call me. No email. No nothing."

Murray's group went on the Sunwing Vacations all-inclusive trip to the Playa Dorada Beach Resort in Puerto Plata in late February, only to have power go out the second day of their trip.

Murray says she never had hot water once and the power outage meant the resort was dark at night, forcing them to eat by the faint glow of their cellphones.

Murray said the power would occasionally come on, but only for about 20 minutes before it would go out again.

The couples booked their vacation through the Yarmouth office of Maritime Travel. When she returned, Murray contacted her agent in Yarmouth who filed a formal complaint with Sunwing.

At the time, Sunwing spokesperson Rachel Goldrick apologized, saying the company was negotiating compensation directly with the hotel for its customers.

Sunwing says customers have been compensated

When contacted again by CBC News last week, Goldrick said: "We remain extremely apologetic for this negative impact on our customers' vacation experience.

"Following our discussions with the hotel's management, customers have been financially compensated depending on their individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis." 

When asked how much compensation was given to customers and what type, Goldrick said it's Sunwing's policy to "not disclose specific details around our client bookings."

She said there have been no further problems at the resort.

'The right thing to do'

Alan Pink, vice-president of operations with Maritime Travel, said the company usually hears only a small number of complaints such as unstocked mini-bars or travel delays caused by weather and seldom gives refunds.

However, he called this an "exceptional circumstance" and the company gave the full refund because it was "the right thing to do."

"It was a cut-and-dry case where the client went four days without a major necessity," he said.

"I suspect it ruined their whole entire holiday."

Pink said he's not sure what Maritime Travel will get back, if anything, from Sunwing. 

"But we didn't want to see the clients out of pocket."

Another trip booked

Murray can't say enough good things about the travel agency.

"I think that they were very supportive and they were amazing and I've already booked another trip through Maritime Travel. They're just amazing in Yarmouth and I totally recommend them," she said.

Murray is advising travellers to do their homework before they book a trip, suggesting people check out online reviews of their destinations from other vacationers.

Maritime Travel did not publicize the refund. CBC News only learned about it when we contacted Murray to see if Sunwing had reimbursed her.