Episode 5 Rip Off Britain


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Episode 5

The Rip Off Britain team investigate viewers' holiday issues. A woman reveals how her break was ruined by bedbugs. Plus will a pricier sun cream provide superior protection?


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Transcript


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We asked you who's left you feeling ripped off

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when it comes to your holidays.

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And you came back with a catalogue of travel disasters.

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I was absolutely mortified. I'm upset, I'm angry and I'm frustrated.

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It's the inconvenience, it's the stress.

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It's upsetting.

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So whether it's a deliberate rip-off...a simple mistake or

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a catch in the small print...

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we'll find out why you're

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out of pocket and what you can do about it.

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Your stories. Your money.

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This...is Rip-Off Britain.

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Hello and welcome to Rip-Off Britain.

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Along with a little sunshine from the lovely island of Lanzarote,

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we'll be bringing you plenty of unmissable tips and advice -

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particularly when it comes to making sure that your holiday isn't

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interrupted by anyone or ANYTHING... that you didn't expect.

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And believe me - some of the, how shall we put it,

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"uninvited guests" you've been telling us about

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are the last thing you'd want to be hosting wherever you are -

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but especially when you've gone away for a well-deserved break.

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You'll see exactly what we're talking about in a minute -

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but just to give you a little hint,

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-a few of the holiday gate-crashers are living creatures!

-Oh!

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And you don't have to be holidaying abroad to come across these

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particular critters - you could actually run into them

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in the UK as well.

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But fortunately, not everything that we're investigating today can

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move or crawl...!

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Because we're also going to be having the low-down on a

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holiday essential that we guarantee you take whenever you go away.

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But I bet the chances are that you're not actually using it properly.

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Coming up... The seaside gets scary -

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but are our favourite resorts REALLY under attack from above?

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They're actually quite threatening large birds

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-when they just come upon you out of nowhere.

-We see them

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as a flying pest - sort of the same as rats.

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And it's a summer holiday essential - but is there ANY

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benefit in splashing out on a more expensive sunscreen?

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If we have two SPF products that retail at different price points,

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the SPF protection that you receive from them would be identical.

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Now, let's be absolutely honest - one of the most unwelcome

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intrusions on what should be a lovely, peaceful holiday is noise.

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And when it's so bad that every moment by the pool is going

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to be ruined by the distinctive drilling and banging

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of building work, you might expect that you'd be warned in advance,

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especially if you've splashed out to stay at a five-star hotel,

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as the family in our next story had done.

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When taxi driver Gary Griffiths decided to take his wife

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and two daughters on a fortnight's holiday back in August 2015,

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he was determined to do it in style.

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And after saving up for two years, he found the perfect Florida break -

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combining ten days' hectic activity in Orlando

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and then a peaceful stay at a luxury beach resort in Miami.

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The kids were so looking forward to going to the theme parks

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and everything that goes with it all, the nice weather

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and then going down to Miami for the last four days, to relax.

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I was looking forward to sitting by the pool relaxing,

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the kids would be in the pool and I could sit there

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and read a book... and pass the time of day.

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Sounds absolutely perfect!

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And the first part of the holiday certainly lived up to the

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family's expectations.

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Orlando was fantastic - it's out of this world.

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The hotel we stayed in was fantastic.

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That had eight or nine swimming pools and we had all

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the theme parks to choose from, all the different rides to go on.

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After all that excitement, lazing around the pool was what the

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family was anticipating from the rest of their trip.

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And that's why they'd chosen the five-star Eden Roc hotel in Miami.

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But when they arrived, I'm afraid things weren't quite what they'd expected...

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When we came into the foyer of the hotel, the ceiling to floor

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was covered in dustsheets and there was building work going on,

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grinding noise. And we were just, like, "What is going on here?

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"What have we let ourselves in for?"

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We just looked at each other as if...

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"Are we really in the right hotel?"

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You know, cos this is a five-star hotel to finish a holiday off on.

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But there was no mistake. This WAS the correct hotel.

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The receptionist told the family that it was undergoing

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a major refurbishment programme, that indeed had started three months previously.

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What's more, Gary says the hotel claimed that his

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tour operator, Thomson, had been

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informed about the extent of the building works MONTHS beforehand.

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That was news to us, cos we'd actually booked the holiday

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a year before, so they've had plenty of time to let us know.

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Four days before we went on holiday, we went into the local travel agent's

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to upgrade the room in Miami. They said we couldn't do it

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because it was a package deal

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but they never once mentioned about the building work going on.

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The family had no choice but to try and make the best of it,

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hoping that the building works might not be as bad as they first appeared.

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But as Gary was soon to find out, that would not be easy.

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We got the keys to the room, we went up to the room, which was

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fantastic - the views. And then, when we opened the patio doors,

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the noise that hit us was amazing.

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LOUD GRINDING

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It was a grinding noise

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coming from down below, but we were 17 floors up and it was just

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really, really loud.

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The noise was piercing, really, it was constant grinding noises

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and there was pressure washers going off, stone cleaners.

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Everywhere you turned, there was noise at different levels

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but constant.

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Me and my wife spoke to each other and thought we best film it

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and take pictures, cos no-one will believe

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the level of noise that is going on, on such a luxury five-star hotel,

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that they could put you there and expect you to be happy with it.

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But the disruption wasn't just confined to their room.

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The main swimming pool was closed - leaving only two smaller pools open.

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And in any case, the noise from the building works meant

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relaxing by the pool - indeed the whole point of staying at this

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hotel in the first place - was looking highly unlikely...

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Well, we went down to the pool and the noise was unbearable.

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We were just, like...

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And in between the pools they were doing building work as well.

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Gary went down to reception to speak to the manager to complain.

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But all the hotel could offer was eight drinks tokens for the bar...

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Incidentally, by the pool.

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Basically, "Go and sit there with the noise

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"and have a free drink on us." Which is just a joke.

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It was far from the relaxing end to the trip that they'd been hoping for.

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We were annoyed and angry and the girls were upset cos they wanted to

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sit by the pool and play in the pool all day. It was just an inconvenience

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for everyone, you couldn't relax there, so it was a case

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of going out of the hotel to get away,

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which defeated the whole object of

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coming to stay and relax by the pool.

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It ruined the holiday, to be honest.

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Once back in the UK, Gary got in touch with the holiday company, Thomson,

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asking why he had not been told about the building work in advance -

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as travel industry guidelines say he should have been.

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The company replied saying it does TRY to advise holiday-makers

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about building work and regretted not doing so in this case

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but that such works are something over which they have limited control.

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None of which washes with our travel expert, Simon Calder.

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Here's a fact of holiday life, if you're going to a resort, well,

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there's going to be some building or renovation work going on somewhere,

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that's just the nature of the travel industry. But the crucial point is

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how much is it going to affect your enjoyment of the holiday?

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In cases like this, where there's building work going on,

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there are two very simple tests -

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does the holiday company know about it in advance and

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is it likely seriously to impair the holiday?

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This poor family did exactly the right things -

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they took it up with the hotel, they took it up with the

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tour operator, but they are still a long way from getting satisfaction.

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A long way, indeed.

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Thomson did offer the family £460 in holiday vouchers.

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But Gary doesn't feel that makes up for the disastrous end to the trip.

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Extremely disappointed that such a major holiday company

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can wash their hands of a major complaint as if it's nothing.

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It might be nothing to them, but they've ruined our luxury holiday

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that we were so looking forward to.

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Now, what should happen in a situation like this is not simply that

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you're TOLD about any works... But if they're major ones you're

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offered the opportunity to transfer your booking somewhere else.

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So, in this case, what went wrong?

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We asked Thomson exactly that, and it told us that it relies

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on its resort partners advising on any building work, but that, in this case,

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despite what Gary was told at the time...

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The company told us that it does...

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the progress of work to the hotels it works with.

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And said that...

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Thomson said it's...

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caused to Gary and his family

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and it's offered them £1,500

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as a further gesture of goodwill, which Gary HAS accepted.

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But despite that, Gary would still have preferred -

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however late in the day - to have been warned about the building work

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so that the family could have changed its plans.

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Even if we would've got told in the travel agent's four days before

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we went, when we were in there, "There's building work,"

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we would've stayed in Orlando and enjoyed the luxury there

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of the five-star hotel, and all the theme parks were on our doorstep.

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So, we had no reason to drive 250 miles to a building site.

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Now, if the stories in last summer's papers are to be believed,

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something synonymous with the British seaside that we've

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tended to regard as little more than an occasional nuisance has

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now become a dangerous menace.

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We're talking about seagulls.

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They've been known in the past for stealing the odd chip here

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and there, but stories in the tabloids recently

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have accused them of attacking dogs and even people.

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So - how worried should we be?

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Is this just a silly-season exaggeration or are these

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birds more of a pest than perhaps we'd realised?

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SINISTER SCORE

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It's like a scene from a Hitchcock movie,

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rather than the coastal resorts of Britain.

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Tourists ducking for cover,

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protecting their fish and chips and shading

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their ice creams - all because of a terrifying threat from above...

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I've had a couple of ice creams stolen within five minutes before.

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They're actually quite threatening large birds

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when they just come upon you out of nowhere.

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We see them as a flying pest, sort of the same as rats.

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If there's food everywhere, they're bound to come down and attack you.

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The summer of 2015 saw reports of seagulls swooping down onto

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people or animals all around the coast.

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Most attacks were to steal food, but in the most serious ones

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the birds killed a pet tortoise and a Yorkshire terrier in Cornwall.

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Seagull panic in the county reached fever pitch and during a summer visit,

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even the Prime Minister had something to say on the subject.

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Reading the papers this morning about how aggressive the seagulls

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are now in St Ives, for instance, I mean, we do have a problem

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and I was listening to the MPs about this last night and I think

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it's the start of a conversation about something needing to be done.

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St Ives, nestled on the northern tip of the county,

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has had its fair share of problems with gulls, but whilst

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the council says things are no worse than they've been in previous years,

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some of the town's business owners - such as Gordon Mackie,

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who runs a fish-and-chip shop on the harbour front - disagree.

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Well, I've lived with them now for over 30 years in St Ives

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and I'm finding now that the increasing amount of attacks

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can have a detrimental effect, particularly on businesses.

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Gordon says the gulls have become a real pest for his customers.

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I've seen my customers affected on various occasions.

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It's more fixed on attacking food items rather than trying to

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injure animals or humans.

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There has been a lot of distress caused,

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particularly to younger children

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when they do lose an ice cream, or some chips or a pasty.

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Because all gull species are protected,

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there's a limit to what the council can do to combat the problem.

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They've turned to some innovative solutions,

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like broadcasting seagull distress calls through loudspeakers to

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put them off, pricking seagull eggs so they don't hatch,

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and even releasing birds of prey to scare them away.

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But locals like Gordon still think this isn't enough.

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There are a multitude of businesses around the town that have issues with seagulls,

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right from people trading onto the street to people trading onto the beach.

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There's no measure been put in place so far that has had any

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real effect on problems with seagulls in the town.

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MUSIC: Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen

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Gull expert Peter Rock has been studying the birds for over

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30 years, and in 2014 counted around 240 breeding pairs in St Ives alone.

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Numbers are growing,

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and as a consequence of that we are seeing more and more incidents.

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Peter has spent years painstakingly monitoring the birds by putting

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rings around their legs, and as of 2015 he recorded 498 colonies

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on the British mainland, with one numbering almost 3,000 pairs.

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Up and down the country there is certainly a large problem,

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particularly in places where the colony size is very large.

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Here in St Ives, the colony is only 240 pairs.

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Bristol, for instance, is ten times that number.

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Local authorities nationwide are keen to stop the gulls posing

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a problem, but Peter's research has helped explain why many

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deterrents don't seem to be having the desired effect.

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We have a load of so-called tried and tested methods,

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weird and wonderful things - and they don't really do very much.

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We're dealing with birds which are at the high end

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of avian intelligence, not the low end, which means

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because they're smart they are quite easily able to overcome

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most everything that's been thrown at them,

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spikes and tension wires and plastic eagle owls.

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Plastic eagle owls - for goodness' sake.

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Whoever thought a plastic eagle owl was ever going to scare anything?

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It's a piece of plastic.

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True. Well, that deterrent is even less effective

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when a gull is trying to protect its young,

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something Peter blames for attacks

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that have injured people and killed pets.

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In the end, we're talking about parents

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protecting their offspring, that's the be-all and end-all of that.

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And they have no desire whatsoever to do anything aggressive to

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human beings except for that reason.

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Baby seagulls start to hatch at the same time as the tourist season

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begins to peak, and this is when their parents will start

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to target people who might look like they're posing a threat.

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The birds will swoop at you but come to only about six feet away.

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And it looks very, very aggressive

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and lots of people think that's an attack. Actually, it isn't.

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That's another way of them saying more forcefully that you need to go.

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If you're not going, the next stage is

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they will defecate all over you with surprising accuracy and...

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Or regurgitate, or both at the same time.

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Lovely(!) Well, nobody wants that on a day at the seaside, do they?

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So, if you think a gull attack is imminent,

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Peter has one key piece of advice.

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Get up against a wall,

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because in order to hit you they'd really have to do some majestical flying.

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But rather than being an aggressive attack, it's usually

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the case that a swooping seagull simply wants to snatch food

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out of the hands of unsuspecting tourists.

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And that's a message that St Ives Town Council

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is keen to reiterate.

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It told us that, short of banning people from eating

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in the street - which it cannot and would not wish to do - and tackling

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the problem of food litter, with solutions such as specially designed bins,

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it has to rely on education and awareness among the public.

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The council also urged food outlets to consider the amount of food

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they sell as takeaways, and to warn their customers about taking

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care about how they eat and dispose of their rubbish outside.

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So, while it seems there's no sudden need to panic -

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and certainly no reason to be put off going to the seaside -

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if you'd rather not have to protect your pasties from greedy gulls,

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then Peter has some common-sense advice.

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Don't buy any food out in the open.

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HE CHUCKLES

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But if you're going to do that, then protect it.

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Make sure that you don't wave it around a lot.

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If you're going to eat it out in the open air,

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why don't you get up against a wall?

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Why don't you, if you're going to sit on the beach,

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sit up against the sea wall?

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In order to grab your food, the gulls would have then to do some

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amazing flying.

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Still to come on Rip-Off Britain... the holiday-maker who found herself

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both the bed AND breakfast for some unwanted guests...

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When I woke up, I was really itchy, covered in bites all up my arms and legs.

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There was just loads of black bugs crawling on me and on the sheets.

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I was just like, "Oh, my God, what are these?"

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Once again, we're ready to open up our

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Rip-Off Britain pop-up shop.

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Now this time we've come to one of the busy shopping centres

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right in the heart of Nottingham.

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For two days only, we've brought our team of experts out on the road

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so that we can give advice face-to-face.

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We've got a terrific team here that are ready to give you all

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the tools and all the information you need

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to ensure that the next time you

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hand over your hard-earned cash you won't be ripped off.

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Paul Mann came to see travel journalist Lisa Francesca Nand

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after a family holiday was ruined due to the airline

0:18:340:18:37

cancelling their flight.

0:18:370:18:39

We could have gone with another airline but because it was

0:18:390:18:42

school holidays, the cost of the flight had trebled, quadrupled.

0:18:420:18:47

Give me a ballpark figure, what kind of sum are we talking about?

0:18:470:18:49

£2,500, £3,000 for the flights...

0:18:490:18:51

-Just for the air tickets?

-Yes.

0:18:510:18:52

And you'd paid how much for the accommodation?

0:18:520:18:55

I'd paid £1,000 and my daughter had paid just a bit more,

0:18:550:18:57

cos there was more of them.

0:18:570:18:59

And the owner, quite rightly, had said cos it was so close

0:18:590:19:03

to the departure date, he couldn't resell the apartment.

0:19:030:19:07

So we cancelled it, we never bothered.

0:19:070:19:08

-Cancelled everything?

-Yep, the whole lot.

0:19:080:19:10

Did you get any money back at all off this?

0:19:100:19:13

We got money for the flight tickets, but we didn't get any

0:19:130:19:17

compensation for the apartment that we'd already bought.

0:19:170:19:20

-Did you take out any kind of insurance?

-We certainly did.

0:19:200:19:23

So you would have expected then to have, what,

0:19:230:19:26

something back for the accommodation you'd paid, but you didn't?

0:19:260:19:29

-No.

-It's a tale of woe, Lisa, isn't it?

0:19:290:19:31

It is, and unfortunately this is one of the things when you don't

0:19:310:19:34

book a package holiday, which, by the way, I completely agree with.

0:19:340:19:37

I love booking things separately myself.

0:19:370:19:39

But unfortunately, one of the issues is your contract is

0:19:390:19:42

directly with the owner and you've got no backup if things go wrong.

0:19:420:19:46

I have had a look through your insurance policy and unfortunately

0:19:460:19:49

this one has a clause saying,

0:19:490:19:51

"We are not responsible if this happens."

0:19:510:19:53

The one thing I do have to ask you is,

0:19:530:19:56

how did you pay, on what sort of card did you pay for this?

0:19:560:19:58

-It was on a credit card.

-Now...

-Ha!

-Bingo.

0:19:580:20:02

You should, under the Consumer Credit Act,

0:20:020:20:05

have the right to claim anything between £100

0:20:050:20:08

and £30,000, you should have the right to

0:20:080:20:11

claim that back through your credit-card provider.

0:20:110:20:14

So that's your next course of action, contact your credit-card people

0:20:140:20:17

and hopefully they'll be able to sort it out for you...

0:20:170:20:20

Well, I'm about to book next year's holiday already this year, so...

0:20:200:20:23

-What lessons have you learnt?

-Book it on a credit card.

0:20:230:20:25

And have a wonderful holiday this time.

0:20:250:20:27

Thank you very much.

0:20:270:20:29

Outside the shop, we set up our gripe area, where you came along to

0:20:300:20:33

tell us about all the things that really get you steaming!

0:20:330:20:37

And holiday expert Simon Calder

0:20:370:20:39

couldn't resist sharing what winds HIM up, too!

0:20:390:20:43

It's a fantastic time to be a traveller but there's

0:20:440:20:48

some things I get really cross about!

0:20:480:20:50

First thing - roaming charges.

0:20:500:20:53

Sure, the European Union is very good at saying

0:20:530:20:56

you can't charge more than really a few pence a minute

0:20:560:20:59

or a few pence per text, but once you get outside Europe...

0:20:590:21:03

And that could just be as far as Turkey, suddenly you could be up to

0:21:030:21:07

£1 a minute or even more.

0:21:070:21:09

And it's worse still if you're downloading stuff from the internet,

0:21:090:21:13

so make sure you know how much you're going to be paying.

0:21:130:21:17

Goodnight, sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite.

0:21:200:21:23

Well, we've probably all had that said to us

0:21:230:21:26

at some time in our lives.

0:21:260:21:27

We might have even said it ourselves!

0:21:270:21:29

But while most of us will then go on to have a very peaceful,

0:21:290:21:32

insect-free night, some people, I'm afraid, aren't so lucky

0:21:320:21:34

and end up sharing their beds with some VERY unwanted guests.

0:21:340:21:39

Now, that would be bad enough if it was at home,

0:21:390:21:42

but it's certainly not what you expect to find in the hotel beds

0:21:420:21:45

that you've booked for your holiday.

0:21:450:21:47

Fuerteventura - the second-largest of the Canary Islands,

0:21:480:21:52

and one that enjoys near year-round sunshine.

0:21:520:21:55

It's a popular choice for those wanting a slightly lower-key holiday

0:21:550:22:00

than on neighbouring Tenerife.

0:22:000:22:02

And it's the destination of choice for the Lorenz family -

0:22:020:22:04

mum Tracey, dad Karl and 12-year-old Sophie.

0:22:040:22:08

Ready!

0:22:090:22:11

Their most recent trip - in October, 2014 - was a seven-night

0:22:130:22:17

all-inclusive stay at the two-star Alisios Playa, a complex

0:22:170:22:21

of apartments. They'd booked through online travel agent On The Beach,

0:22:210:22:25

paying £780 for flights, transfers and the accommodation.

0:22:250:22:30

Situated just 300 metres from the beach,

0:22:300:22:33

the family couldn't wait to relax and enjoy their holiday.

0:22:330:22:36

We unpacked. Went up to the beach.

0:22:400:22:45

A few hours later, come back,

0:22:450:22:47

I was a bit tired, thought I'd have a lay down in the room.

0:22:470:22:51

But things were about to go rapidly downhill...thanks to some

0:22:510:22:54

particularly unwelcome visitors.

0:22:540:22:57

When I woke up, I was really itchy, covered in bites all up my arms

0:22:570:23:02

and legs, I had bites up my face, in my ears, where my face was on

0:23:020:23:07

the pillow, across my back, my front, literally covered in bites.

0:23:070:23:13

And it wasn't just BITES that Tracey was covered in.

0:23:150:23:18

I lifted up the sheets, and there was bugs all in the bed,

0:23:180:23:22

it was just black bugs crawling on me

0:23:220:23:25

and on the sheets.

0:23:250:23:26

There was loads, too many to count.

0:23:280:23:30

I was just like, "Oh, my God, what are these?"

0:23:300:23:33

And sort of got up, sort of

0:23:330:23:35

brushing them off of me, called my husband in. He came in, he went,

0:23:350:23:39

"Oh, my God, what are they?"

0:23:390:23:41

I said, "I don't know, but they've bitten me all over."

0:23:410:23:44

Tracey was convinced that the unwanted visitors

0:23:440:23:47

to their apartment were bedbugs - small, bloodsucking insects

0:23:470:23:51

that TEND to come out at night.

0:23:510:23:53

And not wanting to spend another minute in their company, she headed

0:23:530:23:57

to the hotel reception to see what could be done to get rid of them.

0:23:570:24:00

They came in, stripped all the bedding off, took...

0:24:000:24:04

Put it in plastic bags and took it away,

0:24:040:24:07

took the whole bed unit away and put in a new bed.

0:24:070:24:11

But it seemed that the uninvited roommates were determined to

0:24:120:24:16

stick around.

0:24:160:24:18

Later that night, just as Tracey

0:24:180:24:21

and her daughters were about to drop off to sleep...

0:24:210:24:24

We started seeing the bugs coming out from the headboards

0:24:240:24:27

and the sockets, and behind the pictures on the walls and everything again.

0:24:270:24:31

And we just said, "We can't stay in that room, you know,

0:24:310:24:34

"get more bites, we just can't."

0:24:340:24:37

By this time, it's nearly ten o'clock,

0:24:370:24:39

there's no-one on reception again, there's nothing we can do at that

0:24:390:24:42

time of night...

0:24:420:24:44

So there's no holiday reps for On The Beach there, so we

0:24:440:24:47

ended up, all three of us, sleeping on the sofa in the front room.

0:24:470:24:52

The following morning, the family were moved to another apartment.

0:24:520:24:56

And in the cold light of day,

0:24:560:24:58

it became clear to see the extent of the damage the bugs had caused.

0:24:580:25:02

It was terribly uncomfortable because of the itching and burning.

0:25:030:25:08

And the heat wasn't helping, because it made it,

0:25:080:25:12

you know, more irritating.

0:25:120:25:14

It was very upsetting because we, you know,

0:25:140:25:16

go on holiday to enjoy a break, get a bit of warmth from the winter weather,

0:25:160:25:22

and it just wasn't enjoyable at all.

0:25:220:25:27

Tracey was prescribed a steroid cream and injections to help relieve

0:25:270:25:31

the itching, but she couldn't get the bedbugs out of her mind...

0:25:310:25:35

It spoilt it completely, you know, it ruined the holiday for all of us.

0:25:350:25:40

But was Tracey right in thinking that the insects that had bitten her

0:25:400:25:43

were bedbugs?

0:25:430:25:45

Determined to get to the bottom of what had caused her

0:25:450:25:48

so much irritation,

0:25:480:25:50

she brought TWO of the undesirable bedfellows back to the UK.

0:25:500:25:54

These are the bugs that were in the bed when I woke up

0:25:540:25:58

and was itching.

0:25:580:26:01

Martin Harvey is the president

0:26:010:26:03

of the British Pest Control Association.

0:26:030:26:06

He knows a thing or two about creepy-crawlies.

0:26:060:26:08

So we asked him to take a look at the specimens that Tracey had

0:26:080:26:11

brought back.

0:26:110:26:12

Bedbugs are around six millimetres long.

0:26:140:26:17

Their abdomen, which is their hindquarters,

0:26:170:26:20

is like a shield shape and they're rust red, brown type of colour.

0:26:200:26:25

There are certain signs that you can look for to spot a bedbug problem.

0:26:250:26:30

And those would be there's a characteristic smell

0:26:300:26:34

when there's a very heavy bedbug problem.

0:26:340:26:37

And that smell is a sickly-sweet, almondy smell.

0:26:370:26:40

You normally see blood spots around the headboard of a bed

0:26:410:26:46

but also around the buttons that hold a mattress together and around

0:26:460:26:51

the joints of a bed where the bed is actually bolted together.

0:26:510:26:55

These are small gaps where this very flat insect can hide and can breed.

0:26:550:27:01

So, was Tracey's hunch correct?

0:27:010:27:04

In my opinion, having had a good look at these samples,

0:27:040:27:07

there is no doubt in my mind that Tracy's been bitten by bedbugs.

0:27:070:27:11

After being virtually eradicated in the developed world

0:27:120:27:15

in the 1980s, the bedbug population is once more on the rise.

0:27:150:27:20

Though still rare, it's thought an increase in travel and movement

0:27:200:27:24

around the world, and the possibility that the bugs have grown resistant

0:27:240:27:28

to chemicals used to treat them, are to thank for their growing numbers.

0:27:280:27:32

And Dr James Logan from

0:27:320:27:34

the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

0:27:340:27:37

says they're not in the slightest bit fussy

0:27:370:27:39

about the standard of accommodation in which they find themselves.

0:27:390:27:43

It doesn't matter whether it's a five-star hotel or one of the cheapest hostels that

0:27:430:27:47

you can find, bedbugs can invade pretty much anywhere like that.

0:27:470:27:52

The best thing you can do is just be aware, when you're travelling,

0:27:520:27:55

especially in tropical countries, that there might be

0:27:550:27:59

bedbugs around and minimise the risk of them getting into your luggage

0:27:590:28:02

and you bringing them home. Make use of the luggage racks,

0:28:020:28:04

because that keeps your luggage off the ground. And one of the classic ways that

0:28:040:28:08

bedbugs can be transported is that they climb inside your luggage that's

0:28:080:28:12

on the ground or in your clothes, so the key is to be neat and tidy,

0:28:120:28:16

keep your luggage off the ground and zipped up, so the bedbugs can't get in.

0:28:160:28:20

Those are certainly good tips for the rest of us,

0:28:210:28:24

but I'm afraid they're too late for Tracey.

0:28:240:28:26

She complained to On The Beach when she returned to the UK

0:28:260:28:30

and was offered a refund of £173 - half the cost of the accommodation.

0:28:300:28:35

But as far as she was concerned,

0:28:350:28:37

this really didn't make up for what happened.

0:28:370:28:39

It did ruin the holiday.

0:28:390:28:41

Because we wanted to go and relax, and we couldn't do that.

0:28:410:28:45

You know, having to spend twice a day

0:28:450:28:48

traipsing up to the doctor's to get injections,

0:28:480:28:50

three times a day putting cream on,

0:28:500:28:52

couldn't go in the pool, couldn't sunbathe.

0:28:520:28:55

When we contacted On The Beach,

0:28:550:28:57

the website Tracey used to book her break, the company told us that,

0:28:570:29:01

on the rare occasions customers experience problems on holiday, it

0:29:010:29:05

always advises them to get in touch while they're still at the resort.

0:29:050:29:09

As Tracey didn't do this,

0:29:090:29:11

it was unable to help resolve the situation at the time.

0:29:110:29:15

But after we got involved, On The Beach liaised with the

0:29:150:29:18

hotel provider it used to arrange the accommodation,

0:29:180:29:22

and this provider has now offered Tracey

0:29:220:29:24

a full refund of the hotel cost.

0:29:240:29:26

And on top of that, On The Beach has offered a further £220

0:29:260:29:31

as a gesture of goodwill.

0:29:310:29:33

We also contacted the Alisios Playa Apartments,

0:29:330:29:36

who told us that this is the first time a situation like this

0:29:360:29:40

has occurred, and the affected areas were cleaned with steam

0:29:400:29:43

and a high-pressure vacuum following the complaints.

0:29:430:29:46

The management also pointed out it had covered

0:29:460:29:48

the cost of Tracey's medical treatment while on holiday.

0:29:480:29:52

But for Tracey, while the bites have now gone, the memories

0:29:530:29:57

of her trip to Fuerteventura will last a lot longer.

0:29:570:30:01

Never in my life have I experienced anything like that.

0:30:010:30:05

I wouldn't wish it on anybody, it's horrible.

0:30:050:30:08

Our travel expert Simon Calder is sharing his top tips

0:30:170:30:21

on favourite destinations across the globe.

0:30:210:30:24

This time, Copenhagen,

0:30:240:30:27

a city where Simon knows how to start saving money

0:30:270:30:30

as soon as you arrive.

0:30:300:30:32

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.

0:30:330:30:36

The Danish capital is a real beauty,

0:30:360:30:38

best seen from the canal that cuts through the city.

0:30:380:30:42

You could take an expensive harbour tour,

0:30:420:30:45

or hop aboard one of the little yellow water buses

0:30:450:30:49

that run every 10 or 20 minutes.

0:30:490:30:51

And the best time to do that is as soon as you arrive.

0:30:510:30:55

That's because a ticket from the airport into town

0:30:550:30:59

is valid for two hours.

0:30:590:31:00

The train ride only takes 12 minutes, giving you bags of time

0:31:000:31:04

to get more value out of the ticket. Best invested in boat transport.

0:31:040:31:09

With one of the longest pedestrianised shopping streets

0:31:110:31:15

in Europe, Copenhagen is retail heaven.

0:31:150:31:18

But there are also plenty of places to wander for free

0:31:180:31:21

and give your credit card a well-earned rest.

0:31:210:31:23

Like the trampolines built into the walkway on the Havnegade promenade.

0:31:230:31:30

Both children and adults can bounce for free.

0:31:300:31:34

And if you get tired of jumping, cross the bridge

0:31:340:31:37

and go for a free swim instead.

0:31:370:31:40

Open-air swimming with the city's skyline in view is a real experience.

0:31:400:31:45

The harbour baths of Copenhagen open all summer long

0:31:450:31:49

and are completely free.

0:31:490:31:50

The water's sparkling clean

0:31:500:31:52

and there's everything from diving towers

0:31:520:31:54

to pools dedicated entirely to children.

0:31:540:31:57

You might be reluctant to leave this European highlight,

0:31:590:32:02

but when you do, there's one final way to save a few Danish kroner.

0:32:020:32:06

Have you noticed that at airports worldwide,

0:32:060:32:09

the price of eating and drinking tends to treble

0:32:090:32:11

compared with outside?

0:32:110:32:13

Well, at Copenhagen airport, terminal two, middle of the ground floor,

0:32:130:32:18

there's a supermarket selling food and drink at normal prices.

0:32:180:32:22

And they provide tables and chairs for you to enjoy a drink

0:32:220:32:27

and something to eat before your flight.

0:32:270:32:29

Possibly the best budget airport bar in the world.

0:32:290:32:33

Saving money is a piece of kage.

0:32:350:32:39

That's Danish for cake.

0:32:390:32:40

Well, as you can see, lots of people

0:32:450:32:46

are having a wonderful holiday down there on the beach.

0:32:460:32:49

But coming up, a holiday essential that I guarantee

0:32:490:32:51

you don't know quite as much about as you think you do.

0:32:510:32:55

Or at least not yet.

0:32:550:32:56

Sun cream is something you may think you've got the measure of,

0:32:560:32:59

but get ready for some surprises.

0:32:590:33:01

Not just about how you should use it,

0:33:010:33:03

but especially when it comes to what you pay for it.

0:33:030:33:06

Because if you reckon you're getting better protection by slapping

0:33:060:33:09

on all the stuff you've splashed out more for,

0:33:090:33:12

well, that's not generally the case.

0:33:120:33:15

If I could offer you only one tip for the future,

0:33:150:33:19

sunscreen would be it.

0:33:190:33:22

We've been told for years that, before hitting the beach,

0:33:230:33:26

we need to slap on the sunscreen.

0:33:260:33:28

And it's estimated that UK consumers spend over £180 million a year

0:33:280:33:34

on the white stuff.

0:33:340:33:36

But although we've got the message that we need to put it on,

0:33:360:33:39

even back in Blighty, how much else do we really know about sun cream?

0:33:390:33:43

And are we getting as much protection as we should do?

0:33:430:33:46

The Trafford Synchronised Swimming Club spends a lot of time

0:33:510:33:55

with their bodies on show.

0:33:550:33:56

So keeping their skin in tiptop condition is always a priority.

0:33:560:34:00

But how well do they look after it when they're out in the sun?

0:34:000:34:04

-WHISTLE

-OK, that's great, guys. Well done.

0:34:040:34:07

I've been burnt in the past, and obviously it's painful,

0:34:070:34:10

it doesn't look very nice.

0:34:100:34:12

So, yeah, I always make sure I put sun cream on.

0:34:120:34:14

It's very important to protect your skin,

0:34:140:34:16

especially because sometimes you don't realise how strong the sun is.

0:34:160:34:20

OK, good. Shoulders out, everybody.

0:34:200:34:22

The swimmers may think they know their onions

0:34:240:34:26

when it comes to sunscreen, but are they using it properly?

0:34:260:34:30

Hi, girls!

0:34:300:34:32

We asked sun-protection expert Professor Brian Diffey to test

0:34:320:34:35

them on the areas that he thinks most of us typically get wrong.

0:34:350:34:39

Starting with that all-important number on the front of the bottle.

0:34:390:34:43

Can anyone tell me what that number stands for?

0:34:430:34:46

How much protection it gives for your skin from the UV?

0:34:460:34:50

So, what number do you have on your bottle?

0:34:500:34:53

-50+.

-50+.

0:34:530:34:54

OK, but you don't know what the 50 really refers to?

0:34:540:34:58

Not really.

0:34:580:35:00

The SPF, or sun protection factor,

0:35:000:35:02

is the key thing most of us look at.

0:35:020:35:04

It's the measure of how well a cream prevents UVB rays

0:35:040:35:08

from damaging the skin, in comparison to using none at all.

0:35:080:35:11

If you take an SPF 20, for example, and you put it on your skin,

0:35:130:35:18

you would end up with a 20th of the exposure

0:35:180:35:20

to the sun's ultraviolet, burning rays

0:35:200:35:23

that you would get if you hadn't applied the sunscreen.

0:35:230:35:27

But the SPF is not the only thing you need to understand.

0:35:280:35:32

Turn to the back of the bottle and you'll see a star rating.

0:35:320:35:36

Now, what's that all about?

0:35:360:35:37

Is it the quality of the SPF in the product?

0:35:390:35:43

No, not at all, no.

0:35:430:35:44

So nobody really knows what the star rating means?

0:35:440:35:48

-No.

-No.

0:35:480:35:50

What it does is to give a measure of the spectrum of protection.

0:35:500:35:54

That is, how broad the protection is

0:35:540:35:56

across the ultraviolet region of the sun's rays.

0:35:560:36:00

The higher the number of stars,

0:36:000:36:02

the greater the spectrum, or width, of protection.

0:36:020:36:05

The star rating acts as a guide to how widely the cream protects

0:36:060:36:10

you from all types of rays - including the ones that can

0:36:100:36:13

cause ageing and even lead to cancer.

0:36:130:36:16

To add to the confusion, there's no relation between the SPF

0:36:160:36:20

and the star system.

0:36:200:36:22

Some bottles with really high SPF

0:36:220:36:24

don't come with the best star ratings.

0:36:240:36:27

And that means that when you're choosing sun cream,

0:36:270:36:29

the SPF shouldn't be your first and only priority.

0:36:290:36:32

The first thing to do is to turn the bottle over,

0:36:340:36:38

and look for the star rating.

0:36:380:36:40

Choose one that has four or five stars.

0:36:400:36:43

That way, you're getting good spectrum, or breadth of protection.

0:36:430:36:48

And then turn it over and choose one...

0:36:480:36:50

Make sure it's at least medium, high or very high protection,

0:36:500:36:54

so you're getting good power of protection.

0:36:540:36:57

Seena Seka has been working in the sun-cream industry

0:36:580:37:02

for something like 20 years.

0:37:020:37:04

As chief product developer at this factory in Manchester, he's

0:37:040:37:07

the brains behind the formulation of over 12 brands of sun-care products.

0:37:070:37:12

And while there may be differences in the way they feel on the skin

0:37:120:37:15

and their exact composition,

0:37:150:37:17

fundamentally, they're all made the same way.

0:37:170:37:20

In a bottle of sun cream you have sun filters,

0:37:210:37:24

you have moisturisers, water-resistant ingredients.

0:37:240:37:28

Maybe one or two skin-conditioning ingredients.

0:37:280:37:32

And when you combine them all together with water and energy,

0:37:320:37:37

you have a sun cream.

0:37:370:37:39

All the brands of sun cream made at the factory have unique

0:37:390:37:42

formulations - and widely differing prices in the shops.

0:37:420:37:46

But the difference in cost rarely has anything to do with how

0:37:460:37:49

effective they are at blocking out those harmful rays.

0:37:490:37:53

This one sells for £1,

0:37:530:37:56

this one will retail for between £3-£5,

0:37:560:38:01

and this one will retail for £8-£9.

0:38:010:38:04

The difference in prices in sun-care products is

0:38:040:38:08

based around the things that you add in to the base material,

0:38:080:38:14

as well as the brand scope of the product.

0:38:140:38:19

But however much you pay, there's one thing that will not change.

0:38:190:38:22

If we have two SPF products that retail at different price points,

0:38:230:38:28

the SPF protection that you receive from them would be identical.

0:38:280:38:32

You won't get better protection by buying a more

0:38:320:38:36

expensive SPF 20 than a cheaper SPF 20.

0:38:360:38:40

So while you can save your pennies

0:38:410:38:43

and still get exactly the same protection, the one crucial thing

0:38:430:38:46

that does affect how well your sun cream works is how you put it on.

0:38:460:38:52

Back at the swimming pool, Professor Diffey's finding

0:38:520:38:54

out that that's where things can get really messy.

0:38:540:38:58

Excellent.

0:38:580:38:59

You'll only get the level of protection promised by SPF

0:39:010:39:04

if you apply a certain thickness.

0:39:040:39:06

So if you're not putting enough on,

0:39:060:39:08

it simply won't do the job you think it will.

0:39:080:39:11

I'd like you to take some sunscreen in the way you normally would,

0:39:110:39:15

and just put some on.

0:39:150:39:17

Brian has calculated how much sun cream our swimmers need to apply

0:39:170:39:20

on one arm to get the full protection promised on the pack.

0:39:200:39:23

And he's given them that exact amount in these little pots.

0:39:230:39:27

But we've only asked the swimmers

0:39:270:39:29

to apply as much as they think they need.

0:39:290:39:31

If you were about to go sunbathing now,

0:39:310:39:33

everybody would feel comfortable with that amount, is that right?

0:39:330:39:36

-Yep.

-Yeah.

0:39:360:39:38

In fact, not one of our six swimmers

0:39:380:39:40

applied all the sunscreen we gave them.

0:39:400:39:43

April applied the smallest proportion - just 28% of what

0:39:430:39:46

she would need to apply to get the SPF on the bottle.

0:39:460:39:49

Jill was next - she applied a third of the sun cream.

0:39:490:39:53

Danielle and Sarah both put on around half

0:39:530:39:56

of their allotted sun cream.

0:39:560:39:57

And Jehan put on just a little bit more, at 60%.

0:39:570:40:01

Only Abi - who told us she burns easily,

0:40:010:40:04

and so is particularly careful -

0:40:040:40:06

came close to putting on the full amount, with 86% applied.

0:40:060:40:10

It means, in the end, that none of our swimmers

0:40:100:40:13

would be getting as much protection as they'd assumed.

0:40:130:40:15

Roughly, it worked out that they put on

0:40:160:40:18

about a half of what was in the pot.

0:40:180:40:21

What this means is that if the sunscreen was labelled SPF 30,

0:40:210:40:26

in reality, they'd only be getting protection equivalent

0:40:260:40:30

to about an SPF 15.

0:40:300:40:32

And if they'd used an SPF-labelled 20 sunscreen,

0:40:320:40:35

it meant they would have ended up with about only tenfold protection.

0:40:350:40:38

-Are you surprised by that?

-Yeah.

0:40:380:40:40

-Did any of you know that before?

-No.

0:40:400:40:43

To see how much they'd need to use to get full SPF,

0:40:430:40:47

Brian asks the swimmers to apply the rest of the cream in their pots.

0:40:470:40:51

April, tell me, how does that feel?

0:40:510:40:53

It's horrible, it's really thick.

0:40:530:40:55

-And if you were on the beach would you put that much on?

-No.

-No?

0:40:550:40:59

The swimmers might be surprised by how much cream they really

0:40:590:41:02

need to put on, but the result is exactly what Brian had expected.

0:41:020:41:07

When people use a high-factor sunscreen

0:41:070:41:09

they will often get sunburnt, simply because of inadequate application.

0:41:090:41:15

People aren't putting on, and don't wish to put on,

0:41:150:41:18

the amount of sunscreen that is used in the laboratory.

0:41:180:41:22

So the SPF numbers that we see on the bottle really don't

0:41:220:41:26

reflect reality in the numerical value of protection that

0:41:260:41:30

people think they might be getting.

0:41:300:41:33

Regularly reapplying thin layers of cream will usually mean

0:41:330:41:36

you'll build up thicker layers of protection.

0:41:360:41:39

But for our swimmers, this has been an eye-opening experiment.

0:41:390:41:43

I was quite shocked at how much sun cream you have to put on to

0:41:430:41:46

just get the SPF that it says on the front of the bottle.

0:41:460:41:49

It's made me think. For many, many years

0:41:490:41:52

I've not been putting the right amount of sunscreen on myself,

0:41:520:41:55

and I've not really given myself as much protection as I should be doing.

0:41:550:41:59

If you've got a story you'd like us to investigate,

0:42:040:42:07

you can get in touch with us via our Facebook page -

0:42:070:42:10

BBCRipOffBritain -

0:42:100:42:12

our website - bbc.co.uk/ripoffbritain -

0:42:120:42:16

or e-mail...

0:42:160:42:19

Or if you want to send us a letter,

0:42:210:42:23

then our new address is...

0:42:230:42:25

I don't know about you, girls, but I am still itching all over

0:42:370:42:40

from seeing those bedbugs earlier on in the programme.

0:42:400:42:43

Not, by the way, the souvenir you hope to bring back from your holiday.

0:42:430:42:46

So remember that advice -

0:42:460:42:47

do not leave your luggage on the floor of the bedroom.

0:42:470:42:50

Yes, another of those little gems of advice we've heard today.

0:42:500:42:54

So whether you're trying to avoid seagulls swooping on your food,

0:42:540:42:57

or working out if it's really worth shelling out for that

0:42:570:42:59

more expensive sun cream,

0:42:590:43:01

let's hope some of the tips we've heard today turn out to be useful.

0:43:010:43:04

They always are, Julia.

0:43:040:43:05

And, of course, you may have some holiday hints and tips of your own

0:43:050:43:09

so please do feel free to share them on our Facebook page.

0:43:090:43:12

But I'm afraid that's where we have to leave you for today.

0:43:120:43:14

We'll be back investigating more of your stories very soon.

0:43:140:43:17

But until then, thanks for joining us today, from all of us on the team,

0:43:170:43:21

-bye-bye.

-Bye.

-Bye.

0:43:210:43:22

Holidays disrupted by unwelcome guests and surprises are under the spotlight in this edition of the consumer investigation series, presented by Gloria Hunniford, Angela Rippon and Julia Somerville. A woman reveals how her longed-for break was ruined by bedbugs, and a family explains why they were horrified by what they were greeted with on arriving at their five-star hotel. Plus how worried should we be by reports of marauding seagulls around British seaside resorts? And a sun cream test reveals surprising facts about the products we rely on to keep safe, as well as how we use them. Will a pricier cream provide any better protection? Plus Simon Calder has tips on how to save money in a favourite European destination.