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Holidaymaker sues after contracting cholera on dream trip
A Devon holidaymaker has launched legal action against Thomas Cook after his romantic getaway was ruined when he contracted the potentially fatal disease cholera.
Tim Warner, 47, and partner Amanda used the tour operator when they decided to book a dream 12-day break to sun-kissed Tunisia in September 2013.
However the couple’s £1,488 all-inclusive trip soon turned into a holiday nightmare when Tim fell ill only days after his arrival at the four-star resort.
When his symptoms failed to subside a week after he returned home Tim was taken into hospital and stunned to discover he had contracted sewage-born disease cholera.
Tim, an architect from Ashburton, Devon, said: “I can’t believe a company the size of Thomas Cook would send paying customers to a holiday resort that was in such a dreadful state.
“It was without doubt the worst hotel I have ever had the misfortune to be a guest and the smell was something you had to experience to believe.
“However even at a poor hotel you don’t expect to fall ill with something like cholera. It was so serious the doctors told me I could have died from it.”
Tim and Amanda decided they wanted to go on a sunshine break and were sold by the promise of soaring temperatures in Tunisia.
The couple booked the holiday with Thomas Cook and paid total of £1,488 for the 12-day trip to the Solazur Hotel in Hammamet. However their holiday dreams were quickly shattered when they arrived at the hotel and were greeted by a strong odour of sewage.
Tim said: “The smell was the first thing we noticed when we arrived, it was dreadful and so potent it was overpowering. All the guests were very unhappy. We taken to our rooms but couldn’t escape the stench so we asked to move and were relocated to a room in the other side of the hotel.
“When we complained about the smell we were told it was a temporary problem with the drains and that it would be sorted out in a day or so but it lingered around for our entire trip.”
The couple were determined to make the most of their holiday and decided to book a number of trips and tours as well as make the most of the parts of the hotel not effect by the smell.
However only a few days into the trip Tim began to feel unwell suffering with vomiting and diarrhea forcing him to spend most of the time in his room.
He said: “We had already been having a bad holiday but then it got even worse when I began suffering from what I thought was a stomach bug. I have never been so unwell. I couldn’t be away from the toilet for any extended periods as I was so ill so I was basically trapped in a hotel room for nearly the entire time.
“I had only eaten in the hotel as it was an all-inclusive so I thought I must have eaten something that disagreed with me but I had no idea how ill I really was.”
When the couple returned home Tim made an appointment to see the doctor as he was still feeling ill and was shocked when he was diagnosed with cholera and sent to hospital.
He said: “I was still feeling very poorly when we arrived home and I knew I should have been feeling better if it was just a bug so I went to visit my doctor.
“He did some tests and sent me home only to call me a few hours later and urging me to go straight to hospital as I had contracted cholera. I was stunned and very worried.
“When I went into the hospital they told me I could have died had I not been in such good health. I can’t believe a holiday company would send customers to such a terrible resort.
“The hotel was clearly not fit for purpose so I can only assume they do not check where they are sending people. It is not acceptable. “
Tim says he complained to Thomas Cook but was unhappy when the company didn’t take his complaint seriously. He has now instructed law firm Slater & Gordon to launch a civil case.
He said: “All I really wanted was a sincere apology and a refund on the cost of my holiday but they just ignored me and didn’t treat my complaint at all seriously. I don’t want other people to suffer the same way I have.”
Mark Montaldo, specialist travel lawyer with Slater & Gordon, said: “'This was meant to be a relaxing and romantic getaway but instead the holiday was ruined when Tim was left severely ill with a potentially life threatening illness.
“The accommodation for the guests was clearly not of an acceptable standard which ultimately resulted in Tim becoming very ill. The cholera not only ruined the holiday but has already left him with a severe case of irritable bowel syndrome which persists to this day and is making his life very difficult. It is simply unacceptable that any holidaymaker should have to suffer this way.”
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