Friday, 2 August 2019

Major shock as SuperBreak and Late Rooms fall into administration

Consumers and the UK travel industry have been left reeling after the seemingly successful SuperBreak and Late Rooms holiday firms have gone into administration.

The Malvern Group, which owns Late Rooms, which is based in Manchester and SuperBreak mini holidays, which is based in York has ceased trading, causing holiday misery for more than 50,000 customers. 

The troubled Indian travel specialists Cox & Kings part-owned The Malvern Group, faced increasing trouble after it defaulted on debt payments last month, which saw its credit ratings slump in recent weeks. The collapse of SuperBreak and Late Rooms has also caused greater speculation within the industry of the continued viability and stability of Cox & Kings. 

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority's ATOL scheme, of which SuperBreak was a member, could help many customers that booked packages with the firm.  On Thursday afternoon offered the following information:

"Superbreak Mini-Holidays Ltd - ATOL 10518 has ceased trading on 01 August 2019.
The company based in York traded under the names Superbreak Mini-Holidays Ltd and website(s) and 
The following information is for ATOL protected bookings.  You can tell if your booking is ATOL protected by the documents issued to you at the time you booked.  ATOL holders are required to issue ATOL Certificates and ATOL confirmations (for package bookings).
Package booking flight arrangements for consumers currently travelling
If you are currently on an ATOL protected package and you hold a schedule flight e-ticket, the flight remains valid for the return journey. You are advised to check-in with the airline as per your existing flight ticket. 
Accommodation and other tourist service arrangements for consumers currently on an ATOL protected package.
The CAA is speaking to the service providers to guarantee the services you booked.  If you are made to pay again for the services that were part of your original trip, please ensure that you retain a clear receipt showing, the method of payment; as this is required for your claim. If you pay in cash, you must obtain a cash receipt as you cannot make a claim without this.
There is a helpline for any consumers' currently overseas and experiencing difficulties. The telephone no is 0333 103 6350. Costs cannot be refunded for calling the helpline."
The full statement from the CAA can be found here.

ABTA - The Association of British Travel Agents has also offered some help to some customers that had booked packages with the firm,  more details of help available can be found here.  It said, "The company was a travel company based in York and Manchester, with around 250 employees, specialising in city breaks both in the UK and overseas. 

ABTA’s immediate aim is to help customers to navigate through the process of either continuing with their holiday arrangements if they are away, or, for those yet to travel, recovering their money or rebooking their travel arrangements. 

The vast majority of holidaymakers’ arrangements will be covered through one of a number of different types of financial protection.  

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."

SuperBreak hotel-only holidays would be cancelled and were not covered under ABTA and customers already on holiday would most likely have to pay again for their accommodation.

Late Rooms was not a Member of ABTA or ATOL as it was mainly a hotel room only booking service and it is understood that payments were made directly to the hotels and therefore bookings should go ahead as planned. Customers should double-check with the hotel or the travel agent they booked with. 

Customers that had purchased travel vouchers, tickets for entertainment, attractions or the Incredible North Iceland Charter were no longer valid. 

The firm released a statement, "The senior team at Malvern Group have worked tirelessly to look at all available options to protect our employees, customers, trade partners and suppliers, whilst simultaneously working with regulatory bodies such as ABTA and the CAA to ensure minimum disruption to our customers in the event that the business could not continue."

"This is a devastating blow for all of our wonderful employees who have invested so much time and effort into building Malvern, its brands and trips technology platform."

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