A COUPLE were devastated after their dream holiday was ruined due to a tour operator mistake.

The pair were left with just £20 spending money for a four-day city break in New York.

Michael Hulme had pre-booked a £1,168 package holiday through tour operator Hays Travel.

However, after he and his partner Kerry Barlow arrived in the Big Apple, they found their hotel hadn't been paid.

Michael was then forced to pay the $800 bill, and the couple were left with just $28 (£20) spending money for the whole of the trip.

He contacted Hays Travel who told him he would receive a refund within 28 days – which was too late for the pair to afford some of the city's top attractions.

The 59-year-old, from Stoke, was forced to ask Kerry's brother to lend them some money so they could make the most of their "once-in-a-lifetime trip".

Michael told the Stoke Sentinel: "The trip was a surprise for my partner and a once-in-a-lifetime break as it was somewhere she had always wanted to go.

"I paid for the package holiday in monthly instalments and it was all paid up by March 2021.

"But when we got to the hotel they said our room had not been paid for.

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He was forced to pay out $800 on arrival at the hotel, which he believed had already been paidCredit: BPM
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He and his partner couldn't afford to do some of the top New York attractions on their "once-in-a-lifetime" tripCredit: BPM

"I got in touch with Hays Travel and they said by the looks of it, the holiday had been cancelled and re-booked. But as far as I was concerned it had been paid for.

"If it had been cancelled why were we still told we could still go on the holiday?"

Hays Travel confirmed Michael's money would be refunded, but that it would take up to 28 days for him to receive his $800 back.

Michael said: "We were only there for four days and couldn't wait 28 days, that was our spending money for attractions. I only had $28 left on my card. Thankfully I had $400 in cash that we could use for food."

He added: "It was very stressful and I don't want anyone else to go through the same thing. It just spoiled the holiday.

"I was having panic attacks, I suffer a bit with depression and my anxiety kicked in.

"You go all that way expecting no problems, but we were stuck out there in this situation and my partner was in tears. I was in a right mess, I didn't know what we could do."

Hays Travel has reportedly apologised to Michael and Kerry, and given them £100 as a gesture of goodwill.

A spokesman said: "We were extremely sorry to hear of the mix-up regarding Mr Hulme’s hotel arrangements. We arranged for him to receive a full refund, plus compensation, as quickly as possible."

The tour operator blamed the hotel for the "mix-up", but The Gallivant Times Square hotel said it was not their fault either.

A spokesman said: "This reservation was cancelled by a third-party website on March 22, 2021."

Michael and Kerry aren't the only people to have their holiday plans ruined at the last minute.

A family of five's first holiday abroad was ruined after easyJet cancelled their flight after they got to the airport.

Another family experienced a similar scenario after Ryanair cancelled their flight 45 minutes before take off.

A family of four won £2,000 after an airline's mistakes delayed their holiday by three days.

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