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Published on Friday, August 2, 2019

Confusion over Super Break bookings after company ceases trading



Agents are calling for clarity from ABTA over Super Break bookings after the operator's parent company went into administration.





ABTA has told the public to contact the travel agent they made the booking through for more information, yet agents say they are confused about what information they should give clients.


Andrew Earle, managing director of Andrew Earles Travel, said: "Do non-refundable cancellations still apply? Does pipeline money still need to be paid? What constitutes a package?


"We need some clarification. Is accommodation-only strictly accommodation-only or, if it comes with a meal, is that a package? Does transport and a hotel equal a package?


"It's a nightmare. I have got a fairly good understanding and I still don't know the answer."


Malvern Group, the parent of Super Break and LateRooms.com, ceased trading yesterday.

In a statement, it said it had been starved of funding due to the financial problems of one of its shareholders, Cox and Kings in India.


ABTA said the majority of holidaymakers' package bookings are covered by ABTA financial protection, while a significant proportion of other arrangements are covered by other types of protection including ATOL and credit card arrangements, depending on the type of booking.


"These customers will either be entitled to a refund, or, if they've booked through another travel company, they should contact them to discuss options which may include continuing with their booking, re-booking or alternative arrangements," ABTA said.


However, Super Break's hotel-only bookings were not protected by ABTA, despite the operator's brochure and website prominently displaying the logo.


Earle added: "We need clarity as to who will cover costs. It does ask an awful lot of questions as to what the trade body is doing. Agents have worked through the night and we're being hung out to dry on a technicality."


Earle, who is also director of Travel by Design in Cleethorpes, added: "The whole thing is just a mess. We are sat here looking at a £9,000 loss.


"I find it incredible that, since 1992, we have had directives in place as to what constitutes a package, yet issues such as this just seem to highlight loopholes.


"From an agency perspective, we have to understand and learn from it. TTA and Travel Counsellors agents say they are covered by alternative protection for Super Break's hotel-only bookings, but it seems ABTA members are having to take a hit."


Agent members have posted on Travel Gossip about the situation, with one saying: "It's a minefield and will be very difficult explaining to customers."


Another, referring to ABTA's advice to customers to speak to their agent, said: " Not great that they don't give us advice as an agent."


Another posted: "Be nice to get clarification from ABTA ASAP."


KPMG has been appointed administrator of Super Break, LateRooms.com and Malvern Travel Technology Limited following the collapse of the group.


 

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  • Hotels and Bedbanks hiking prices

    The same happened when Low Cost Beds went. One hotel, a popular choice in London automatically cancelled my group booking, all booked separately, despite my assurance they would be paid. They were really unhelpful and said I would have to rebook using rack rates. To do so would have meant roughly a £400 loss from my own pocket as a homeworker. Eventually shopping around I managed to make 3 bookings (only one with any profit) with a bedbank and after that the prices went up by about 30% so then I used a tour operator for another 3 bookings and the same thing happened to them. It really sticks in the throat that I am just about breaking even after a frustrating afternoon trying to reprotect my clients and still giving this hotel the business.

    By Cathie O'Dea, Friday, August 2, 2019

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