A father revealed how he got Wizz Air to pay him £4,500 for canceling his family holiday to Portugal after months of chasing a refund by sending bailiffs to Luton airport.
Russell Quirk, a property expert from Brentwood, Essex, said the cancellations forced him to buy new flights for the following day.
He told MailOnline: “They blocked me. I think they thought I was going away.’
After months of waiting for Wizz Air to refund the money, Mr Quirk went to court before sending bailiffs to the airport.
Mr. Quirk added, ‘As an injured consumer, do I have to fight a legal entity for 7 months to get back what is rightfully mine?’
Russell Quirk, a property expert from Brentwood in Essex, said the cancellations forced him to buy new flights for the following day
Mr Quirk originally booked the flights from Luton Airport to Faro last January for a family holiday in May with his three daughters (two of whom are pictured) and wife
Wizz Air apologized for the cancellation and paid Mr Quirk his money, saying the airline ‘failed to meet our own aspirations and our customers’ expectations’
Wizz Air apologized for the cancellation and paid Mr Quirk his money, saying the airline ‘failed to meet our own aspirations and our customers’ expectations’.
Mr Quirk originally booked the flights from Luton Airport to Faro in January last year for a family holiday in May with his three daughters and wife.
On the morning of their flight, he received a message from Wizz Air that the flight had been cancelled.
“No apology was offered and no alternative was offered – which they are clearly obliged to do,” he told MailOnline.
He had to wake up his three daughters and break the news that they weren’t going on vacation.
As the £6,000 non-refundable hotel had already been paid for, Mr Quirk had to book another flight for the next day, which cost £2,500. His first flights had cost just £700.
The loss of money spent on transfers, two hotel rooms for the first night and the paid airport lounge, plus the new flight, left Mr Quirk £3,900 out of pocket.
After returning to the UK from his holiday, Mr Quirk said he was trying to get compensation from Wizz Air.
But it took a month for the cost of his original flights to be reimbursed along with other legal fees.
“They are required to pay back within seven days, which they failed to do,” he told MailOnline. That took a month to get a refund. That was shocking.’
Mr Quirk then found Wizz Air UK managing director Marion Joffrey on LinkedIn and messaged her about compensation. She replied, but it took two more emails hounding her to receive the £350 compensation per passenger that the family was entitled to under EU law.
He then approached the subject of his “consequential damages” – the costs incurred or lost due to the cancellation.
Wizz Air repeatedly failed to refund its claims for these costs, which amounted to £4,500 after court costs.
The airline did not respond and a default judgment was issued against them.
After returning to the UK from his holiday, Mr Quirk said he was trying to get compensation from Wizz Air
The low cost airline then ‘disregarded’ the judgment handed down against them after Mr Quirk took the case to District Court, so bailiffs were sent to the Wizz Air counter at Luton Airport
The budget airline then ‘disregarded’ the verdict after Mr Quirk took the case to District Court, so bailiffs were sent to the Wizz Air counter at Luton Airport.
“Malicious deliberate contempt of the UK justice system,” Mr Quirk described the situation to MailOnline. “They didn’t throw.”
The airline can hand over the money or its equivalent in goods, for example in the form of chairs, tables or computers. Wizz Air eventually paid Mr. Quirk the money.
The property expert said it cost about £180 to take his case to court and £60 to send the bailiffs.
Mr. Quirk said, “If they had sent me one or two hold responses. If they had communicated with me at all between July and December and said, “We recognize your claim, we’ll handle it, please give us 90 days.” I would have accepted that.
“Except they stopped me. I think they thought I was going away.
“These companies make the process so difficult, so restrictive that most people give up anyway. You have to fight your corner as a consumer.”
A spokesperson for Wizz Air said that due to unprecedented levels of disruption in Europe and the UK in summer 2022, “we fell short of our own ambitions.”
They added: ‘When something went wrong, we didn’t react quickly enough to manage the high volume of customer claims resulting from this disruption.
“We’re sorry and we’re working to make sure our customers’ experience with Wizz is better this year.”
The airline assured that it has paid all district court verdicts against the company since December and continues to settle claims.