Online travel company Freedom Direct Holidays ceased trading on 16th April. This immediately affects around 200 holidaymakers currently abroad and a further 10,000 who had advance bookings with the company.
Freedom Direct was a Newcastle-based tour operator and travel agent, mainly organising trips to the Mediterranean, Turkey and the Canaries. Its other trading names were snowdeals.co.uk and holidaysyoulike.co.uk.
Customers abroad should be able to complete their holidays with no problem. If they do have any problems, they should contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). If they have to re-book any of these arrangements, they should lodge these as claims with the Atol scheme, which is run by the CAA.
All advance bookings of Freedom Direct holidays are cancelled, although scheduled airline flights booked through the company may still be usable. However, the CAA advises those on a package not to travel but to claim the cost through the Atol scheme.
Those not covered by Atol
Where payments were made direct to airlines, and not to Freedom Direct, the Atol scheme does not apply. But under the Consumer Credit Act, purchases between £100 and £30,000 can be claimed from card providers. Purchases made on a Visa debit card may also be refunded, although this is not enshrined in law.
Customers who used Freedom Direct only as a travel agent are not covered by the company’s Atol bond. They should check with the suppliers concerned or with travel organisation Abta‘s claims handling partner Cega.
Customers may also be able to claim under their travel insurance, although most policies do not cover tour operator or travel agent insolvency.
Jonathan Mitcham of Which? Holiday says “Since last year’s collapse of XL Leisure, thousands of customers who had paid for their XL holiday by credit card have struggled to get refunds due to confusion over who should pay out. So we welcome assurances from the CAA that this time they will definitely consider refunds from holidaymakers who paid Freedom Direct by credit card.”
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Call the CAA for advice on 0207 453 6477 or 0207 453 6394.
Cega can be contacted on 01243 621500 or at ABTAClaims@cegagroup.com
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