Mum furious after popular water park refused to move £72 booking when son fell ill

A popular water park has been slammed by a mother after she refused to move a booking she made for her son’s birthday after he fell ill and couldn’t go.

Emie Di Marino splashed out £72 to book tickets online to Alpamare Park in Scarborough for her son Tyler Stringer’s 10th birthday – a treat she hoped would be extra special as he has been hospitalized and out all year.

Unfortunately Tyler fell ill with a stomach virus the night before and Emie, who lives in the North Yorkshire village of Lealholm between Guisborough and Whitby, contacted the park to see if they could move her booking to another day. She says they refused and they would not refund her either.

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Emie, 30, the general manager of a construction company, has since discovered another family in a similar situation whose booking has been changed, she says. She now plans to contact Trading Standards Officers to see if they can help her.

“Management emailed us back, and they hadn’t taken any consideration. They wouldn’t even offer her a voucher. Nothing. They said they don’t offer refunds or rebookings,” Emily said.

“How can a company be so cold hearted to treat a child who has been hospitalized and on his birthday it’s just amazing. I wasn’t even bothered with the money, I would have been happy if they had at least been prepared to move the date of our reservation to a later date.

“A water park as big and crowded as this would definitely not be missed! We’ve been going and been there for years. Right now it seems wacky that they can’t accommodate families with kids.”

Alpamare, on Burniston Road, is a popular tourist attraction in Scarborough.

The water park includes slides, a wave pool, a spa and a sauna. Its reservation policy is available on its website and states that admission tickets are valid on the day of purchase and are non-transferable.

“Admission tickets purchased are only valid for the day and time indicated and cannot be transferred. Once purchased, tickets are not cancellable or refundable and no refunds or refunds will be given for tickets not used,” the policy says.

“Refunds will only be given if an overpayment has been made to your account.”

Alpamare Water Park in Scarborough

Tyler has been at Sheffield Children’s Hospital since the age of two for various medical conditions, including a form of colitis which left him with “horrible” symptoms, Emie said. Her last admission for endoscopies and colonoscopies was in March this year and, she says, a stomach virus can be a whole different ball game for someone with bowel disease.

She booked a visit to the water park for his 10th birthday because he loves going there, booking online rather than risk showing up. There was no option to take out insurance to cover the booking in the event of an unexpected cancellation, she said.

“Because we were told the morning of the reservation that nothing could be done, and we were about to lose the reservation. The lady we spoke to on the phone advised anyone on the reservation who could go, go anyway before and leave She then gave us the management email and said they could offer vouchers etc. My partner decided to take my youngest son who is three. It was unbearable to lose the whole £72, and my youngest son was also very upset,” she said.

“Tyler wanted them to go anyway, but he was very upset for him and his friend who couldn’t go. It ended up being a very expensive and not very pleasant swimming trip for them anyway in the circumstances.

“My son got so sick that we had to call the doctor. Instead of at least trying to enjoy their time at the pool trying to get something out of it, they were constantly on the phone telling me about their concerns about our son deteriorating, and they ended up having to leave early. Like I said, it’s just an absolute nightmare of a situation. If we could have moved the booking, everyone would have passed a good time. Instead, no one had a good time at all.”

Slides at Alpamare Water Park, Scarborough
Slides at Alpamare Water Park, Scarborough

As she has now discovered another client who has been offered a refund, she thinks she has a case to take to Trading Standards. “I had gone to google reviews to write a review about our very bad experience, and I actually noticed that someone else on the same day we booked had experienced the exact same situation as us.

“However, unlike us, Alpamare had offered to change their booking. I was absolutely outraged by this, took a screenshot, called Alpamare again and also emailed them again I was told management would phone but they never did, nor did they respond to my email I was initially told it was their policy not to modify or refund a reservation.

“If that’s the case, surely you have to follow the policy for every reservation? This has made us even more upset about this already awful situation. What’s really silly is that I didn’t even bother to pick up the money. All we really wanted was to move the date. My son was and still is desperate to go,” she said.

Teesside Live has contacted Alpamare for comment.

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