Topic : Problems with Coast & Country Cottages booking for Merlin Week

We, in common with many of the Salcombe Merlin Week entries, have an accommodation booking with Coast & Country Cottages. Final payment will be taken automatically on 31 May. As soon as I knew that Merlin Week was cancelled I emailed CCC requesting a refund of my deposit, or, failing that, a rebook to 2021. I have had no reply to that email but today I have been sent an SMS message from CCC indicating that I can amend my booking date online but their website does not allow me to do that and their phone lines are closed.
Has anybody had the same issues? Was a remedy found?  
I found this - not hopeful!  From The Guardian

Posted: 23/05/2020 10:06:56
By: Keith_Callaghan

Morning Keith

Yes I'm trying to change the dates of the booking using their website, but get this message:

Sorry, we are unable to change the dates of your holiday at this time.
We're currently receiving an unprecedented volume of calls and change of dates requests. While our team is working tirelessly to support our customers and owners we ask that you please only call us in regards to bookings taking place over the next thirty days.  
There phone line is closed and they are only working through email contact. So I guess the question is whether they will take money on the 31st or not. Worst case cancel your card before that date so they can't 

Posted: 23/05/2020 10:26:11
By: Ross
Hi Keith,
Similar issue here although I did get a response to my first email where I requested a 2021 rebook and their refund policy. Their reply stated that if I so wished then they would ask the property owner if the 2021 rebook was acceptable and there would be a £30 booking fee. They also basically stated that if I choose to cancel I will lose my deposit (£300) if outside of six weeks and be liable for the whole lot (£900) if within 6 weeks. My six weeks is 30th May rather than 31st so watch out for that in case you’re one day out.....
No reply yet to my reply saying yes - please ask the owners about the 2021 rebook. 
I think they’re pretty snowed under as I’m sure you’re aware it’s Sykes we’re dealing with, but that’s no help to us at all. 
Kind regards,

Posted: 23/05/2020 10:26:50
By: Frances Gifford
PROBLEM SORTED! I sent another 3 emails to Coast and Country Cottages this morning and the result is that I received a phone call from them and they have amended our booking to next year's Merlin Week (3-10 July 2021). I trust that you all get the same result!

Posted: 23/05/2020 10:29:50
By: Keith_Callaghan
Fran, it seems that you have to keep at them. They waived the £30 rebooking fee in my case.  The weekly cost is also a bit lower for 2021 (because it's a week earlier?) and we don't have to pay the balance until May 2021.
Yes, good old friendly Coast and Country is a different beast under Sykes.

Posted: 23/05/2020 10:35:01
By: Keith_Callaghan
I emailed Coast and Country Cottages as soon as Salcombe was postponed.  They rang me by return and said they would approach the owner to see if we could have the same house next year.  That was last Saturday.  I was surprised therefore to receive the email this morning from Sykes.  I emailed Coast and Country Cottages in Salcombe and got an immediate phone call.  Our house is not available next year so they will be looking for alternatives in due course.  They are still friendly in the Salcombe office!

Posted: 23/05/2020 11:17:21
By: John Cooper
Thanks Keith and John. 

That’s all good to know. I’ll start chasing again today!


Posted: 23/05/2020 11:56:55
By: Frances Gifford
Thanks Keith, that all worked a treat. All sorted, no amendment fee thanks to you suggesting I asked to not pay it, price of house cheaper next year. I wonder if we’ll be neighbours again. 

Posted: 23/05/2020 17:24:55
By: Frances Gifford
Does anybody have an email address for coast And country

Posted: 23/05/2020 19:03:29
By: Rich
Hi Rich,
[email protected] has proved successful. (I missed a couple of calls from them and emailed them to ask them to try again and they rang back within half an hour). 
Hope that helps. 

Posted: 23/05/2020 22:24:14
By: Frances Gifford
Hi Fran, that is very helpful. Many thanks. Rich

Posted: 24/05/2020 06:47:51
By: Rich
This has been really helpful, as I'm struggling to get a response from them.

Posted: 24/05/2020 14:35:59
By: Caroline
I sent one email, received a phone call the next day explaining they had to contact the house owner before confirming the 2021 booking, they then rang back the next day to confirm, and it was even slightly cheaper for 2021

Posted: 24/05/2020 19:40:03
By: Andy Bines
Hi Andy which e-mail address did you use for them?

Posted: 24/05/2020 21:04:54
By: Martin Smith
Morning all, we booked with Sykes. Emailed them to explain the situation.  Had a call 5 days later to tell me there was no issue and that next years booking is actually cheaper also.  No admin charges and I now have a year to pay the remainder.  

Posted: 26/05/2020 07:41:36
By: Scallywag
Hi Scallywag which e-mail did you use please.

Posted: 26/05/2020 11:22:40
By: Martin Smith
I logged on to my C&C account and then  used a link which was for:

Posted: 26/05/2020 12:05:56
By: andyb
So despite sending multiple emails to Sykes and talking to Coast and country to get agreement to change booking, Sykes still took payment today. Now waiting for them to confirm a refund of full amount, not minus £400 deposit

Posted: 30/05/2020 10:40:19
By: Ross
Having finally managed to speak to someone from the Salcombe office I can confirm that we have also managed to amend our booking to 2021.
I have been charged an admin fee.

Posted: 01/06/2020 20:34:11
By: Martin Smith
Glad you got it sorted out Martin.
we did speak with a Millie there and she was very helpful and quick.
good luck all.

Posted: 02/06/2020 19:46:33
By: Scallywag
Hi everyone
Have sent a total of 9 emails now to both the info email address and the customer relations email address.  Have had absolutely zero contact from them except for the standard "we are currently experiencing a high amount of emails......" although they have been quick enough to take the balance due and send us the key collection email.  Furthermore I note from their website that the property we booked this year has already been booked for Merlin week next year!!!!! so what the hell are we meant to do now?
I also note from their key collection email that it states that they will no longer accept priority bookings.  I really don't like Sykes.  My neighbour who rents out her cottage through them in the lakes has had terrible trouble with them and has given them notice to stop acting on her behalf.

Posted: 03/06/2020 12:46:21
By: Joanne Haworth
Quick up date.  Have now managed to speak with someone from Sykes after waiting 55 minutes on the line.  Our property has definitely been booked for next year by someone else.  Apparently if we cancel we lose everything and if we wish to transfer to another week this year we incur a £30 booking fee.  We cannot transfer to another property at all as this one is all paid for.  At the moment they are working up to the 4th July with regard to government travel restrictions.  If the government moves restrictions to the 11th July we can request a refund.  So basically all we can do is to sit tight and see what happens.
Very frustrating  

Posted: 03/06/2020 14:18:02
By: Joanne Haworth
Hi Joanne, did you send them an email before the payment was taken? If so they should give you a refund. I was told our refund should take about a week. Given how hard it has been to get hold of Sykes (they never responded to any of my emails, I had to talk to Coast and Country in the end), it is a shame the decision to cancel the week was taken so close to the payment date. I hope others aren't in the same situation.

Posted: 03/06/2020 14:35:12
By: Ross
Hi Ross.  Yes sent them about 3 emails before the payment was taken.  In one of them I requested that they contacted me before payment was taken.  I rang the Coast & Country number but went through to someone at Sykes.  They say we cannot claim a refund until our date falls into the government restrictive travel dates.  It is so frustrating as they seem to be giving different answers to everyone.  If the government doesn't extend the restrictions we are basically stuffed.  Don't really fancy going to Salcombe with no restaurants or pubs open and no Merlin Rocketers.  From what I can tell, they don't really want anyone there yet anyway.

Posted: 03/06/2020 15:43:30
By: Joanne Haworth
Hi Jo
We called after no reply to e-mails and got someone in the Salcombe office, we were already paid in full and as our accommodation was available next year once the property owner agreed it was rolled over (£30 admin fee) so you are basically the same as us as in paid in full, I would try again and try to speak to someone from the Salcombe office and not Sykes head office.
Kieron Mason had the same issue with his property already being taken for 2021 (Perils of the Pimm's Party in nice accommodation) but was able to cancel and book a different property, I think its down to speaking to the local office who understand what Merlin Week is all about.

Posted: 03/06/2020 22:03:11
By: Martin Smith
Hi Martin. Thanks for the advice trouble is you ring the Salcombe office number but after a while it  is diverted to Sykes. Tried again yesterday and got Sykes again but luckily a very very helpful lady called Sophie. She asked me to explain about merlin week then agreed to speak with the liaison person at Salcombe to request a refund from the owners. Just heard today that they have agreed to a refund. Phew. Thanks for the advice. Was ready to give up 👍🏻😄👍🏻

Posted: 05/06/2020 19:25:09
By: Jo Haworth


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