A mum says she has lost £3,000 and a “precious” family holiday because Low Cost Holidays has gone into administration.
The firm ceased trading last week, leaving some 27,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad and another 110,000 out of pocket.
As Low Cost Holidays wasn’t part of the government-backed Atol scheme, there is no guarantee that customers will be compensated.
Indeed, administrators Smith & Williamson have warned that claimants could end up with a refund of just a few pounds.
Melissa Constant was due to fly off to Majorca on 14 August with her husband Andy Martin and children Anya, 9, and Pascale, 10, and admits it didn’t cross her mind to check whether Low Cost Holidays was Atol protected.
Mrs Constant said she only saw the news about Low Cost Holidays on social media. “I’ve not been contacted at all,” she told Bilgo. “I should imagine some people are turning up at airports none the wiser.
“Initially I wasn’t too concerned – it genuinely didn’t occur to me that it might not be Atol protected.
“I’m not a catastrophist so I’m doing my best to chalk it up to experience, but there is no way we can afford to go elsewhere and my kids are tweens – it won’t be long before they won’t want to be dragged around by boring old mum and dad as teens, so it was precious.”
Mrs Constant said that as she paid for the holiday by debit card, she isn’t expecting any sort of compensation.
Paying for a holiday – or other goods – costing between £100 and £30,000 using a credit card gives you extra legal protection if something goes wrong.
Lena and Ben Heather, from Woodgate, Chichester, say Low Cost Holidays going into administration has cost them more than a thousand pounds.
The couple had booked a hotel in the Portuguese resort of Tavira through the budget tour operator.
But despite them handing £1,000 over to Low Cost Holidays back in May, the firm’s demise meant the hotel was never going to gets its money – leaving the Heathers without a booking.
“We’ve used Low Cost Holidays for the last three years and had successful holidays,” said Mrs Heather.
“We got a good deal on the same hotel we stayed in last year so booked and paid on 19 May. We thought ‘that’s all done and dusted’ and were all set to go next Tuesday.”
She said that, as the couple had bought flights separately through British Airways, they have now rebooked a room at the hotel – costing them around €1,300.
Mrs Heather said she, too, only saw the news about Low Cost Holidays on Twitter.
“The hotel said they were only given our names and dates of birth by Low Cost Holidays, so they had no way of contacting us.
“Out of 140,000 people, how many know? A lot of people are already on holiday, what about them?”
She added: “When I first booked with them three years ago, I checked and they were registered with Atol but it turns out that two years ago they left the scheme when the company moved to Spain.”