28 JUN 2012: Thomson Holidays in the UK has been rapped by advertising watchdogs for misleading customers after (OMG!) children were found to be staying at a hotel it had sold as "adult-only".
The operator featured the Atlantica Grand Mediterraneo Resort & Spa in Ermones in Corfu in its Exclusively for Adults range but one grouchy customer complained that there were children booked into the hotel for five out of eight days of her holiday.
Thomson admitted it could not prevent children staying at the property, but said it was only a small number as the hotel had a total of 267 rooms.
The company also said it is clear in its A-Z guide that it cannot guarantee there would not be any children at the hotel, even though it was sold as "adult-only".
Now that’s a bit iffy. Either you are adults only or you are not adults only – adults only with maybe kids is (I don’t think) adults only.
Especially as Thomson says on its website that its Exclusively for Adults programme "offers you the chance to find total tranquility in a resort free from the bustle of families and young people".
However, now the operator says it is impossible to completely control the presence of children at the hotel, because even though Thomson will not sell the property to a child under 16, the hotelier sells rooms to local families following warnings from the local authority that it could not exclude children.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint, because, reasonably, "We considered that "Exclusively for Adults" and "An adults-only hotel" were absolute claims which were contradicted by the information in the A-Z guide.
"Because Thomson had not substantiated the claim, and because the information in the A-Z guide contradicted it, we concluded that the claims were misleading."
Thomson says it had since reached an agreement with the hotel that, because all its rooms were allocated to tour operators, they would not be obliged to take bookings from local families.