A MUM was left in shock after being charged a whopping $2,950 (£2,287) for a facial treatment on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
Furious Michelle Crack claims that she had been told the spa treatment would cost $29.50 (£22.87) before she was handed the staggering bill.
The 53-year-old from Milton Keynes was travelling on board Allure of The Seas with her son from August 18 to 25.
She booked an 8am back massage, which was after a long and night at the casino.
Upon her arrival at the spa, a member of staff, who Michelle says claimed to be a doctor, pitched her a one-time “special offer” for a facial treatment.
The woman then pulled her into a back room, pointed to a special machine and told Michelle the treatment cost “twenty-nine fifty”, a one-time promotional price.
Not interested in the deal, Michelle went for her back massage and proceeded to leave the spa.
However, she claimed the doctor was waiting for her outside and said she was incredibly “insistent” on selling her the facial.
Feeling overwhelmed, Michelle decided to give in and opt for the treatment – but was left in horror after she received the bill.
Michelle says she signed several documents agreeing to the initial proposed price of US$29.50, but claimed the final figure was changed to $2,950 without her knowledge.
She also claimed the form was signed on her behalf for the payment and she only “initialled” it.
Michelle said: “I never got any of this paperwork until the morning I left the ship, even though I’d asked for this on my second day on board the ship.
“I was told they never give out any paperwork, now I understand why as they doctored my paperwork that I’d initialled on the day of the treatment.”
She later checked the spa menu on the cruise ship but did not find the facial indicated on the price list, which only showed treatments costing between US$100 (£77.53) to US$300 (£232.59).
Michelle won some money on board the cruise ship’s casino the night before, and claimed the spa knew about her earnings and even made a note in the form.
She added: “You will see that on one bit of paperwork she puts I won at the casino and the amount. How did she know this?
“Did the casino tell the spa as I was going there? ‘This lady won some money’. Why is this relevant to my treatment? None of it adds up.”
Michelle has since sent complaint letters to the cruise line.
She wrote: “The lady did not at any time state it was two thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars.
“This figure is an enormous amount of money to me (single mother) and would have struck a chord immediately and alarm bells would have started ringing.
“I did sign several pieces of paperwork. I can assure you there were no point 00 after the 29 50 which I initialled. It just read as one figure of 29 50, with nothing after this amount.
“Subsequently, I asked for copies of the documentation, only to discover the amount charged had been amended in the paperwork to include .00.”
She added in her complaint: “Obviously, I tried to complain to a number of staff on the ship but nothing was done.
“I was also very concerned after stating I did not wish to speak to the doctor that during my complaint, I was put on loud speaker by the spa manager, which I believe is in breach of data protection regulations.
“Despite stating clearly I did not want to speak to the doctor again, after what I felt was a breach of trust, the doctor then rang me in my cabin 5 mins later.
“I would also point out that all 4 guest services personnel were shocked that there was something of this excessive price at the spa and knew nothing about it.”
The cruise ship’s duty manager reimbursed Michelle US$590 (£457.43) of the total amount, but she wanted to be refunded in full.
Michelle explained: “The spa services team dealt with me appallingly and I believe even found my distressed state amusing.
“During this whole shambolic and distressful situation, your duty manager offered me a ludicrous and pitiful amount of compensation in the sum of $590.00.
“I was on holiday with my son, so chose to minimise the amount of upset caused to us both and verbally acknowledged it on the basis I would make a complaint upon my return to the UK.”
She said she felt so “aggrieved” at her treatment that she “felt duty bound to complain at the highest level”.
Michelle added: “Since returning I have been to see a beauty therapy specialist, very experienced and well respected within her field, who said treatment was not even required.
Royal Caribbean Cruises have since credit US$2,360 back into Michelle’s account as gesture of good will.
The cruise line told Michelle: “We’re so sorry to learn of the confusion surrounding the pricing for your Medi-Spa Service.
“Our company policy is to confirm the price verbally and twice in writing (on the consent form and receipt) prior to administering the service. We’re sorry to learn that this may not of happened.
“As a result we’ll be happy to refund your spa service as a courtesy. We’ve attached your spa receipts. As you can see the charge of $2950.00 was refunded on board and then charged again at the discounted price of $2,360.00.
“The refund will be posted to your credit card by Royal Caribbean. Please allow 4-5 weeks for the refund to show on your credit card statement.”
Two tourists recently received a shocking £400 bill for two plates of spaghetti and fish.
Another was charged £72 for just eight soft drinks.
We previously rounded up some tips on how you can avoid getting ripped off while on holiday.
Sun Online Travel has contacted Royal Caribbean for comment.