A year's supply of fruit cake, a book of stamps and a free meerkat adoption are some of the forms of compensation offered by UK companies, a survey has found.
A book of vouchers only redeemable in the US, £2.48 in return for loss of the internet for a month and a free meal at a restaurant where the diner caught food poisoning are some of the other "goodwill" gestures suffered by consumers, the poll for the online complaints service resolver.co.uk revealed.
Repentant companies have also offered a bottle of orange juice that was out of date and fermenting, 60p in return for not switching mobile providers, and a box of condoms after a customer submitted a bad review when one broke.
The owner of a holiday home in Spain returned to inspect his property after he had let it to a group of young people in their 20s for two weeks, to find that they had created an indoor beach including sand and water to emulate the sea. The youngsters explained that the local beach “hadn’t lived up to their expectations”.
A slightly oblivious swan didn’t see what was coming his way. It was flying happily through the air, completely unaware of a set of high voltage power cables in its flight path which it duly hit. The swan had the shock of its life and dived straight for the roof of a holiday home underneath, crashing through the roof and leaving a massive hole in need of fixing.
At a holiday home in France, a cow walked over a swimming pool cover. As the cow was considerably heavier than the cover could hold, the cover broke and the unsuspecting cow took an involuntary dip in the pool; resulting in considerable damage to the pool and the need for a winch to rescue the distraught bovine.
Holiday guests staying in a Spanish property moved items of furniture from inside the holiday home they were renting, including a sofa, single bed and chest of drawers, into the shallow end of the swimming pool. The guests had been under the influence of alcohol when they’d decided to rearrange the furniture in such a way and claimed they "couldn’t remember" why they had done it.
A particularly passionate couple managed to not only badly scratch the wooden floor of their bedroom by causing the bed to move vehemently, but also caused the bed to break, as well as the bedside lamp and bedside table. The couple explained that all damage had been caused during one session of lovemaking and they apologised profusely.
Following a rental, a holiday home owner made a gory discovery; he found blood splattered all over carpets and walls. After further investigation, he discovered a makeshift cardboard coffin containing a pig’s head in the bin, suggesting that a sacrifice had taken place at his property.
A young couple tried to pursue a claim against the owner of their holiday apartment in Spain on the basis that both bed sheets and towels were "too hard" and caused scratches and irritations on the skin, which prevented them from using the pool and sunbathing comfortably.
A holiday cottage in Devon needed completely redecorating after the holiday guests had decided to have an indoor barbecue on the flagstone floor, as ‘the weather didn’t allow for having it outside’.
One unsuspecting holiday property owner in Italy was shocked to find out that his house had been turned into a brothel by his guests during a four week rental period, resulting in the need for a deep clean and replacement of soft furnishings.
A lady in her late 30s from Manchester sought compensation from the owner of her holiday home in Marbella as the gravel on the driveway "had wrecked" four pairs of her designer stilettos and forced her to replace them with new ones.
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Asked to name what they considered to be the most bizarre or strange compensation offered by a company after making a complaint, others surveyed reported receiving a voucher for a new tyre from a scrapyard and a Cadbury creme egg.
Resolver founder James Walker said: "What this shows is that companies are not taking the consumer seriously.
"Complaining should be more prevalent and I urge consumers to seek redress if they experience poor customer service.
"We want companies to take compensation more seriously and hope that our service will highlight the good and the bad practices that are out there.
"Our plan is to work with these companies to show them the value of complaints - hopefully illustrating to them how they are valuable sources of feedback and essential information for helping them to provide a better service to the customer."