Ms Lin Peimin and her husband say they are put off by all travel agencies after a recent bad experience with one.
She wrote: "I am writing about a terrible service experienced at ASA Holidays which caused my husband and I great distress. On 22nd February 2010, my husband signed up for a tour package for four with ASA Holidays, departing for Tokyo on 4th April 2010.
"Two weeks prior to the departure date, my husband was unable to travel due to an urgent medical condition; he had to be hospitalised to undergo surgeries immediately.
"Without delay, we called ASA to enquire about how we could minimise our losses in any way, perhaps by cancelling the trip, or getting someone else to take my husband’s place.
"However, we were misled by the wrong information given by their staff on several occasions. One member of the staff who served me personally at the office, told me that we would not get any refund eight days before the actual departure date if we were to cancel our trip then.
"We were willing to pay an extra admin charge in order to replace my husband with another person, but she informed me that changing of name for our tour package at that point in time was strictly not possible.
"We found out later that that was not true, and that we could actually get 50% of our money back if we had done so at that time as stated in the "Terms And Conditions" of the signed agreement.
"My husband was seeking urgent medical attention at the hospital, and while he was there, he made many futile attempts to contact an appropriate officer in charge at the agency to clarify matters.
"All the staff who listened to our case agreed to call back to follow-up but none did. Finally, two days before the departure date, we managed to contact the tour leader for the trip.
"He assured us that he would get his GM to revert as soon as possible before the trip, but we were greatly disappointed that we did not receive any call up till the departure date.
"Throughout the whole incident, none of the staff advised me or my husband to document our requests for the changes in writing, and we lost many opportunities to mitigate my losses due to the failure to exercise due diligence by the staff time and time again.
"In the end, three of us went for the trip without my husband. During the trip, the tour leader, Peter asked the three of us if we would like to use one room instead of two.
"When I asked if it would help to mitigate any losses, I was assured by the tour leader that there was no difference at all and it was too late to make any claims for our case.
"After the trip, my husband finally managed to speak to the GM about the whole incident, and the fact that we could have gotten at least a 50% refund if we had not been misled by the staff.
"Instead of being apologetic about our mis-managed case, he kept emphasising that ASA agency had already incurred considerable costs catering for four persons, and that the costs incurred, including the additional hotel room used throughout the trip, could not be recovered.
"Even though my husband explained that we had called the agency two weeks in advance but did not receive any follow-up from the staff, he made a point to remind us that if they had been given more notice, perhaps some actions could have been taken by them to lower their costs.
"We were greatly disheartened that after several attempts to speak to him to explain our case, he still was more concerned about his costs incurred than our distressing experience. After some long-drawn exchanges, he finally agreed to refund us S$687.
"The whole incident was handled very poorly, with the staff not taking ownership and responsibility to help us out in any way, and the GM himself not being able to perform customer service recovery in an elegant manner.
"We were extremely disappointed by our experience. This incident has managed to scare us off from dealing with all travel agencies."
Looks like there is no way Peimin would give ASA a bouquet.