Tour operator Holidays 4 U has gone bust with almost 13,000 UK travellers overseas and many more in the UK unable to go on booked holidays. Here’s our easy-to-use guide on what to do if you’re affected.
What has happened?
Holidays 4 U, which also traded as Aegean Flights, went into administration on Wednesday, August 3, 2011.
The Brighton-based tour operator sold package holidays and flights to Turkey.
All trips and flights booked through the Brighton-based operator have now been cancelled and customers are advised not to travel to airports.
If you are abroad
Customers of Holidays 4 U are protected under the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) protection scheme, so the advice for those abroad is to stay in your accommodation until the end of the trip as normal.
The CAA is organising return flights to the UK for customers as close to your original departure time as possible. So customers are advised to arrive at the airport in time to check-in for their flights home as normal, unless instructed otherwise. If there are any flight changes, information will be placed on the CAA website.
If you do need to pay for extra nights, transport and other outgoings, the CAA will refund you provided the cost is reasonable. Make sure you keep any receipts.
Some hoteliers do not understand the ATOL scheme and there have been reports of customers being asked to pay for their accommodation again.
The CAA say if customers are forced to pay again for accommodation, they should send a completed claim form to the CAA on their return home for a refund.
If you are due to travel
Passengers who booked package holidays with Holidays 4 U should complete a CAA claim form and they will be eligible for a refund under the ATOL scheme.
Passengers who booked flights only with Holidays 4 U are also ATOL protected and are also entitled to a refund.
But this refund does not extend to accommodation or excursions booked separately. In such cases, customers are advised to contact the travel agent they booked with to ask about refunds or see if alternative arrangements can be made.
I paid by credit card. Is there any protection here?
If your package holiday or flight is ATOL protected then you are due a refund from the CAA under the ATOL scheme.
However, if you paid for your booking on a credit card and the total cost of the booking was more than £100, then you are equally entitled to pursue a refund from your credit card company.
This applies even if you only paid part of the cost of the booking on your credit card – as little as a penny, for example. As long as the total booking was more than £100, no matter how much or how little of this you paid on your credit card, you can seek a refund of the whole amount from your credit card issuer.
The CAA advise that if you paid by credit card you should pursue a refund from your card issuer in the first instance.
Make it clear that you are asking for a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
I paid with a debit card. Is there any protection?
isa debit cards are covered by its Chargeback scheme, which offers similar protection to Section 75. To make a claim, contact your card issuer and say you want to make a claim under the Visa Chargeback scheme.
If you have a claim you believe is legitimate but that is rejected under either the Section 75 or Chargeback scheme, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
What about my travel insurance? Will that cover me?
Some travel insurance policies do cover tour operator failure so have a read of your paperwork and see if you are eligible to make a claim. But be aware that insurers will not pay out on claims that have already been paid through the ATOL scheme.
I’m still worried. Who can I contact?
The CAA is providing information to all Holiday 4 U customers who are currently overseas and may be experiencing difficulties on 0044 (0) 161 444 5810.
Those with forward bookings requiring general advice about refunds under the ATOL scheme can contact the CAA on 08444 933037.
Have you been affected by the Holidays 4 U collapse? Or any of the other tour operator collapses in recent years? What was your experience? Did you find it straightforward to obtain a refund? We’re keen to hear from you. You can use the comment form below.