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Calmac regarded as rubbish by EVERYONE in Scotland!

Summer holiday – this year a forced staycation (despise that word) as the UK Gov and indeed most other Gov’s have gone all fascist and are not allowing the ‘un vaccinated’ to go about their usual business.

This time of the year I should be in France, naked, sunning my bum either in a naturist camp or on a naturist beach… I usually go for six weeks, in the camper van, and come back all rested and brown and full of that essential vitamin, ‘D’.

But this year it was not to be and so I booked a ferry from Ardrossan to Cambletown and we made our way up north. We made a stop and parked up on route to the ferry then kicked our heals all morning (sailing scheduled for 1.40pm) then at 11.32am, just an hour and a half prior to check in, I received a text from Caledonian MacBrayne, the ferry company, that due to technical issues the ferry was cancelled. Here are the texts from them…

I then drove to the port, we were only a few minutes away and approached a member of staff. I started to speak, he looked at me and started to wander off. I called after him and he then acknowledged me and I asked him why was the ferry cancelled and when was the next. He said he didn’t know. I said that was very short notice for a cancellation and he said well, you can drive, can’t you?

I then called Calmac’s call centre and waited 35 minutes for an operator to answer. The operator did not know about the cancellation of the service and could offer no reason and she advised me to complete a claim form. Which I did. And which apparently is not applicable as in Calmac’s own words compensation ‘is not possible as you did not actually use one of our ferry services.’ WHAT!!! I kinda did but Calmac cancelled it so it was impossible for me to use the service!!!

Below is the messaging between Calmac and myself. It would appear that the only solution to this would be to take Calmac to court. Which I am not going to as life is too short. And that is what Calmac rely on as their sorry business is full of 1 star reviews and screaming clients all of whom have been disappointed, missed friends, appointments, missed opportunities.

I was thinking of moving to the Scottish Isles on the West Coast but no way now. Not until Calmac is refreshed and is able to provide a reliable, welcoming and decent service.

I put in a claim for costs instead of wasted time and this was the response, note no mention of rude staff member:

Thank you for your claim. I am very sorry to hear about the recent issues you experienced at Ardrossan and I regret that you were unable to travel with us as planned and had to drive to Campbeltown due to the recent disruption to our ferry service.

I have now assessed your claim. At Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries we have a passenger rights policy in place for customers who are delayed travelling by ferry or have to be re-routed by another one of our ferry services. A re-route is not actually possible for Campbeltown and this unfortunately means we are unable to consider claims for this route.

I have arranged for your booking to be refunded in full and this amount should credit the account or card used in the original transaction in the next few days.
I am sorry if you were under the impression that we would be able to pay any of your additional costs. This is not possible as you did not actually use one of our ferry services. I can supply a letter to your travel insurer explaining the disruption if this will help you obtain some of your costs.

Once again, I am sorry for the issues caused by the cancellation of our ferry service.

I responded thus:

As I’ve stated i am very prepared to take this to a small claim court and I will do this without further discussion if your next email to me is not conciliatory. 

I travelled up from Wales and overnighted near Ardrossan. I then waited all morning until Calmac deigned to state that the sailing would not be sailing. I recieved a text an hour or so before check in… 

I then had the cost and task of getting to Cambletown by road. 

As you can see, this cancellation caused me to waste a whole day of my trip. Further, Calmac’s response, as stated by the aggressive and very rude Calmac staff member at the port, was simply you can drive round. There was no comunication as to why the ferry was cancelled. There was no information offfered re the next sailing. There was no assistance offered to me at all. 

Further, it took 35 minutes for Calmac to answer the helpline number and no assistance was available via that route either. 

You response today would be laughable were it not so blatantly rude and not customer oriented. ‘This is not possible as you did not use one of our ferry services’ is a joke, right? I paid for the service. It was Calmac that cancelled at the VERY LAST MINUTE. You also have not apologised for your staff members appalling behaviour or in any way explained why your service levels fell so far short of acceptable. I await your comments on those matters with baited breath. 

I have noted the furious customers of Calmac’s reviews and messages and note that consistently across the internet Calmac is despised for it’s shoddy service and last minute cancellations. It would appear your sole mission is to mislead and dissapoint. 

Well you know what? I’ll be telling my clients to not bother going to the Scottish islands as to plan to do so will most likeky lead to dissapointment. 

If this goes to court this is what my claim will consist of:

1 day of my and may partners time at £20 an hour for a full working day so 7.5 hours each totalling £300
Claim as already made for accommodation costs and food costs £100
We’ll forget the mileage as that equates to about the same value as the original ferry ticket. 

I will accept a 50% discount on this if settled within 14 days, so £200

That’s it

I really don’t expect to hear anymore. They are a shower and absolutely BEST AVOIDED!

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Walk leader @ Wales Outdoors, life model @ Cardiff Life Models and poet @ Self Published I opened the first mountain bike hire business in the Brecon Beacons National Park in 1995. Since then my business, Wales Outdoors, has grown and morphed and is now the most active and most popular guided walks and adventure travel provider in Wales. Andy has been a volunteer co-ordinator, guided walks programme organiser and part time central area warden for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, chair of Brecon Beacons Tourism, a Duke of Edinburghs area co-ordinator, a Princes Trust social inclusion manager, the catalyst for the Brecon Beacons National Park Environment Charter and a key motivator for the inception of the outdoor activity peer group, SWOAPG. Join Me! for a walk or two :)