Agent pays Mark Warner’s £850 surcharge for clients

Agent pays Mark Warner’s £850 surcharge for clients

An agent has paid £850 to cover the cost of surcharges levied on 23 clients by Mark Warner.

Kelly Stanley, owner of Worcester-based Kelly’s Travel, said she swallowed the cost of the levy rather than pass it on to clients to maintain customer loyalty and because she thought the surcharge was “morally wrong”.

Her clients – including members of her own family – had booked and paid to travel with Mark Warner to Les Deux Alpes in France in the February half-term.

“I cannot afford for these clients to have bitter feelings towards me. Most are new and it takes time to restore faith,” said Stanley, who added the customers were all members of a local rugby club.

The goodwill gesture means she has broken even on the bookings but not made any money.

“It’s disappointing,” she said. “If I knew I was going to do seven bookings and not make a penny I wouldn’t have done it.

“But I felt some might not book with me in future if they think I bumped up the price, even though they understand it is not me. When it comes to their summer break they might think of coming to me.”

“If I knew I was going to do seven bookings and not make a penny I wouldn’t have done it.

Mark Warner is the only major operator to have announced a surcharge this winter, understood to be due to fluctuating exchange rates following the Brexit vote.

Stanley said: “It’s not about the £50 when you are paying £4,000 or £5,000 for a holiday, it’s the principle. It’s the fact you have booked and paid in good faith.
“I would be apprehensive with booking with them again.”

Funway managing director Stephen Rhodes was among those in the industry who was charged £150 extra for his family’s half-term holiday and struggled to get answers from the operator.

Under the Package Travel Regulations, companies can surcharge up to 30 days before departure and must absorb the first 2% of the total holiday cost.

Mark Warner declined to comment. It is previously said to have told customers the surcharge was “necessary and unavoidable”.

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