CUSTOMERS of Brittany Ferries have vented their frustration at how their cancelled bookings were handled by the company.
It’s been three weeks since the Pont Aven ferry suffered a hydraulic failure and caused havoc to thousands of people expecting to set sail between Cork and the French port of Roscoff.
Difficulties in securing parts for repairs to the ship means the vessel has been out of action longer than Brittany Ferries hoped for, with a return to normal service expected to resume on June 14.
In the meantime, Brittany Ferries are diverting the Connemara ferry, which normally travels to Santander this weekend.
By diverting the Connemara, it will allow for two crossings between Cork and Roscoff to take place.
The ferry is set to depart Cork at 10pm tonight, while a return voyage will depart Roscoff at 6pm on Saturday.
A second sailing will commence on Sunday, departing from Cork at 8:30am and a return crossing from Roscoff to Cork will take place at 12:30am on Sunday morning. This has been done primarily to help get people who are stuck, back home.
While Brittany Ferries have said they would be working with those affected in arranging alternative plans or refunds, some people have felt left in the dark and still waiting to hear from the company.
Jessica Whooley was set to sail on June 1 with her family and only found out days before that it was cancelled, forcing them to make alternative plans.
She told The Echo: “When Brittany Ferries rang on May 27 to confirm the sailing on June 1 was cancelled they didn't offer alternative travel arrangements and just said it would be better to arrange another way home when I asked about the sailing we booked for June 7.”
While Brittany Ferries have agreed to issue a refund for her cancelled trip, Jessica told The Echo that she hasn’t heard from them since asking for additional compensation for the extra amount they had to spend on short notice to get to France.
She said: “Brittany Ferries are to refund the full cost of our cancelled trips but have so far not replied to our request for additional compensation for the extra cost and hassle caused by the cancellation.”
When trying to contact the Cork office by phone or in person, customers were receiving an automated message over the phone while the office was closed. When alternatively calling the UK helpline, they were then told they can’t help Irish based customers.
Another customer, Siobhan McCarthy, has been waiting for a refund for over a week after being affected by the latest cancellations to the service.
She told The Echo: “We were meant to travel to Roscoff on Saturday the 1st of June. We got an email saying we would find out on Monday 27th and if we wanted to make alternative arrangements to go ahead.”
Ms Mc Carthy explained that she found it difficult to speak to anyone at Brittany Ferries: “No one would answer the phone. I called into their office on Friday May 24 and it was shut.”
A spokesperson for Brittany Ferries has told The Echo that all affected customers have been contacted now and there should be no issues in trying to contact the Cork office.