An Irish couple have told how they lost out on a dream holiday to Rome - because they missed the final payment deadline by a day.
Elaine Fyffe-Harper and her husband Gordon had already paid £900 for the £1,200 luxury weekend away, but accidentally missed the deadline to pay the last £300.
Elaine, from Omagh, had already paid a total of £3,300 for two holidays, and were on their Disney Mediterranean cruise with their daughter when they missed the 4 June payment deadline.
Thomson extended the deadline to 16 June, but the couple say they were not informed and received one warning letter on 16 June, which was not opened until 17 June because it was addressed to Gordon and he was away on business.
Elaine contacted her local Thomson branch, where she booked the holiday, but was told it was too late.
She told the Ulster Herald: "They said you're too late, your deadline was yesterday, it has all been cancelled. I asked could we re-book, but they said we had lost our £900 deposit.
"I am disgusted that when my husband didn't answer his phone or e-mail they didn't consider that there was a problem. Why would someone pay £900 for a weekend away and not pay the last £300? It was an extravagant weekend, the treat of a lifetime."
She added that she we would never book a holiday with Thomson again.
In a statement, Thomson told the Ulster Herald: "Our staff tried to make contact with the couple on numerous occasions, as well as extending the deadline for payment.
"We understand from the couple that they did receive the third balance payment reminder but did not open it. Unfortunately, as we acted solely as a booking agent for a third party tour operator, we are bound by their terms and conditions and are therefore unable to offer a refund or reinstate the holiday.
"All Thomson customers are given clear information on the payment dates upon booking, as well as being sent regular reminders to ensure payment is made by the required date – as a result, situations such as this are extremely rare."
Best value European holiday destinations 2014
Irish couple lose dream holiday after missing final payment deadline of £300
The Black Sea Coast resort of Sunny Beach in Bulgaria has been named the best value holiday destination for 2014 by Post Office. Ten typical holiday items including a bottle of water, suncream, insect repellent, a three-course meal and a cup of coffee cost just £43.26 in Sunny Beach, compared to £102 in Sorrento, Italy, which a Post Office survey found the most expensive destination for tourists.
In Marmaris, Turkey, a cup of coffee, bottle of beer, can of Coke, glass of wine, bottle of water, suncream, insect repellent, English newspaper, two-course lunch and three-course evening meal will cost you £54.11, making it the second best value holiday destination.
On Spain's popular Costa del Sol, holidaymakers will pay an average of £1.02 for a cup of coffee, £1.70 for a bottle of local beer, £1.02 for a bottle of Coke, £1.49 for a glass of wine, 32p for a bottle of water, £5.43 for suncream, £1.49 for insect repellent, £1.66 for an English tabloid newspaper, £15.28 for a two-course lunch and £25.47 for a three-course dinner, bringing the total to £54.88 and making the sunny southern Spain one of the most affordable places for a holiday. The Costa del Sol was also recently named a top holiday home rental spot, along with Dubai, Cyprus and Paris.
Fancy hitting the beach in Benidorm? According to Post Office research, ten typical holiday items in Costa Blanca will cost you £55.18. The affordable Costa Blanca is also home to Alicante, but if you're looking to escape the crowds, Guadalest, Elche and Algar are the spots to check out.
With easyJet, Monarch and Thomson offering cheap flights to the Algarve and the cost of ten typical holiday items at just £56.44, the coastal region of Portugal offers great value, beaches and plenty of activities.
Resort costs in Paphos are £62.35 for ten holiday items and while this might be considerably higher than Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, Paphos offers better value than Bodrum in Turkey (£95.58), Nice in France (£96.33) and Tuscany in Italy (£100.52).
Crete is the place to head for fantastic food, gorgeous beaches and pretty mountain villages. The Greek island has emerged as 14 per cent cheaper than Corfu at £66.47 for typical holiday items, compared with £77.34, a reversal of results for the two holiday hotspots last year.
The Istrian Riviera offers a mix of ancient towns set high above vineyards and secluded bays. Often compared to Italy and France, this lovely part of Croatia is still relatively undiscovered by Brits and boasts affordability at £71.86 for usual holiday items, while popular Split in the south of the country costs £80.57.
With its world-famous theme parks, shopping and outdoor activities, Orlando is a favourite holiday destination for families, couples and friends. Travellers to the sunny destination in Florida can expect to pay £76.21, making it the most affordable destination outside Europe and retaining its place in the top 10 at ninth place.
Ionian island Corfu may be 14 per cent pricier than Crete but this lush spot in Greece offers sparkling seas, olive groves and family-run tavernas for £77.34 - less than Ibiza (£97.23), Sliema in Malta (£82.63) and Palma in Majorca (£77.45).