Travel company’s ‘insult’ to grieving widow
KATIE and Glen Badger and their two young children were gearing up for a big family holiday in Spain when the unexpected happened.
Weeks out from the family's trip to the resort of Costa Dorada, which they booked through travel company TUI, Mr Badger, a traffic management worker, was hit by a truck on a major highway and suffered severe brain trauma.
As he lay dying in hospital - his life support was switched off on August 10, two weeks after the accident - his distraught wife desperately tried to make arrangements to cancel the holiday, due to start on August 28, from his bedside.
But adding further insult to the pain of watching her husband die, Mrs Badger said she was ignored by TUI. And in a final act of desperation, the grieving widow left a scathing Facebook message for the company, calling them out for the way she felt she was treated.
The 39-year-old from Wolverhampton, in central England, said in her post she followed instructions to send a letter from the hospital to TUI's exceptions team.
"I had been in touch several times while he was critically ill in hospital and you wouldn't speak to me," Mrs Badger said in the post.
"I got a letter from the hospital and sent it to exceptions but you were still difficult. So there I am in hospital tending to my dying husband battling with your 'customer care' team.
"I explained he has died, and you say we need the death certificate by X date ... sorry it was inconvenient timing so close to when we are going away."
Mrs Badger then explained the company told her via email she could re-book the holiday for free or cancel the trip and get a refund of the cost, minus $178 per person.
"This is an insult," she said of the offer. "I can't go because my husband has just died, not because he broke a leg."
She said she spent three days trying to get through to the company before she received another email telling her she could re-book her holiday, but it had to be done by 6pm that day.
The situation left her feeling "more and more stressed and upset".
According to her account, she called the company again and was put on hold to speak to a manager - who ended up not being available.
Eventually, it was suggested Mrs Badger put the holiday on hold for six months.
She said the way the company handled her predicament was a "disgrace".
"Why they couldn't have done this (put the holiday on hold) in the first place, I don't know," she said.
"Your company's total lack of compassion is disgusting. The fact that you won't help in looking for an alternative destination is a disgrace.
"That you want to charge me for a holiday I would've loved to have gone on and can't due to horrific circumstances, the fact that you can never get through to anyone in the exceptions team, that they only seem to deal with people via email - where is the personalisation!
"I'm so angry and upset by the way I have been treated. I have used (TUI) for years because of the good reputation but I really don't think I would again."
Mrs Badger told The Sun the company should review its procedures for grieving families.
"No one ever bothers to call and no-one seems remotely concerned," she said.
"For me, I just feel their exceptions team should be more hands on. They should call and actually speak to people.
"I don't expect a refund. I don't want money thrown at me.
"I simply want their processes reviewed and re-looked at. Many people must go through similar distressing processes but they just fob you off."
In a statement, a TUI spokesman said: "We are very sorry to hear about Mrs Badger's experience with us following the loss of her husband.
"We have extended the deadline for her to change her holiday and apologise for not doing this originally.
"We would like to thank her for bringing this to our attention and will be making direct contact with her to resolve the matter."
Katie and Glen Badger were childhood sweethearts who married in 2009. They have two children, aged six and two.
A crowdfunder campaign to assist Mrs Badger and the children after the tragedy has raised more than $27,000.