Lowcostholidays, an online travel agency, recently collapsed and affected approximately 140,000 customers, out of which 27,000 were stranded abroad; 55% of those affected were British; 110,000 of them now stuck with future travel bookings that have been deemed useless. Some of these customers are currently turning to crowdfunding for help. They’re hoping to raise the funds from relatives and friends to help salvage their holidays. Beverly Smith, one of the affected customers, created a GoFundMe.com page in order to save her sister’s family honeymoon; an all-inclusive vacation to Spain. “Every penny they received on their wedding day last year they saved and booked a family “honeymoon” for them and their two boys. The company have effectively stolen all the money and they have lost their honeymoon,” she wrote.
Melanie Lewis’ family lost their transfers and hotel reservations, even though their flights are still valid. She wrote, “Thanks to Lowcostholidays going into administration yesterday we have had to tell our beautiful babies this morning we can’t take them on the holiday we have had booked since Christmas Eve. Like most people these days we have no rainy day money put aside for emergencies.” Stacey Stevens is trying to raise the money to assist a person who is stranded in another country and unable to pay for hotel accommodations. Steph Leese set up a page saying that it took her family two years to save for their Lanzarote holiday.
Recently it was announced that customers might be able to get as low as $10.28 (£7.78) each for compensation. The travel agency was regulated and registered in Palma, Mallorca. The company is not part of Abta, the largest travel association in the United Kingdom, or the Atol protection scheme. Yet, Abta commented in a statement that they strongly remind their customers to check with their airline or travel provider. They also advise them to check independently with their accommodations to ensure that everything is secure and accounted for. Holiday Travel Watch, a consumer travel group, said that within 24 hours from the time Lowcostholidays collapsed, they had already received 120 phone calls. According to Frank Brehany, Holiday Travel Watch’s consumer director, the Balearic government must be held accountable. “We are calling on that government to detail how consumers can get their money back and produce a facility on their website to aide consumers,” he said.
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