How to stop yourself from losing your holiday
Most of you will have heard about the demise of LowCostHolidays. Unfortunately it was still selling cheap holidays with up to 60 percent off trips, right up to the moment it went bust.
This has left over 100,000 customers without their money and without a holiday. Losing your hard earned money and not benefiting from a couple of weeks away to recharge your batteries must be soul destroying. I know I could not do without visiting different countries, to enjoy the local food, culture and most importantly the sun!!
Whilst its sad, I want to show you how we as consumers can spot the warning signs and prevent this from happening again.
No ATOL Protection
Firstly the company moved their headquarters to Spain and as a result were no longer part of the ATOL scheme. Atol is the scheme which protects UK customers. I spoke to ThatsInsurance.com (an insurance comparison website) to find out what the Atol scheme is:
Their website states the following:
“By law, every UK travel company which sells air holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
ATOL was originally set up in 1973. At that time there was a rise in the number of travel companies that went bust leaving people stranded and financially out of pocket.
The UK government had no choice but to regulate the travel sector, providing protection for consumers.
Originally the scheme incorporated charter flights and package holidays, because that was how most people booked a holiday and this worked very well. The government realised that in the forty years since the scheme was set up, the advent of the internet had seen a change in the way consumers shopped for holidays.
With access to the huge amount of information available online, a large number of consumers now book parts of their holidays separately to get the best possible prices”.
The ATOL scheme was amended in 2012 to cover all overseas air holidays where a flight and accommodation have been booked together.
The scheme covers
Flights and accommodation (including cruises), or flights and car hire or all three
This move outside of the ATOL protection was a major red flag. Whilst it’s easy to be tempted by the huge discounts, the old saying goes “If its too good to be true, it generally is”
Secondly, if you are purchasing anything online, always pay with a credit card. Section 75 of the consumer credit act, states the following. If you paid more than £100 and you paid all or even the deposit by credit card. The credit card company is as equally liable if a company goes bust.
Under the terms of your credit card, you will be able to claim back all of the money, whether the credit card company recovers the money or not.
Thirdly whilst this is normally last on people list. The moment you pay for a holiday, make sure you take out travel insurance. If you have an annual policy then make sure it is still in force. If you are just taking out a single trip policy, make sure your covered immediately.
When choosing Travel Insurance, make sure it is a comprehensive policy and one that includes end supplier failure.
” There are over 400 single trip travel policies from various providers to choose from and making the right choice can be daunting. We have taken the time to check every policy, in respect of the cover provided and the premiums they charge. Thats Insurance have given each policy a 1 – 5 star rating, to make the customers choice that bit easier.
We recommend going for a four or five star rated policy. Make sure that it includes End Supplier Failure as standard, or at least you have the option to add it.”
You can find more information on their website at www.thatsinsurance.com
I hope this article is a moral boost and does not put you off taking trips abroad. The chances of this sort of thing happening whilst dreadful, is very low. Provided you take the above precautions, you should continue to enjoy your holidays.