What should I do if my holiday company goes bust?

It’s a shock to find out your holiday provider is no longer in business – especially if you’re on your trip when it goes bust. Here are some steps you can take if this happens to you.

It’s a shock to find out your holiday provider is no longer in business – especially if you’re on your trip when it goes bust. Here are some steps you can take if this happens to you.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
3
minute read
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Posted 20 NOVEMBER 2019

Steps to take if your holiday provider goes bust

Each summer as the warmer weather comes, on cue, another story arrives about an airline failing or a travel agent shutting up shop. If your holiday provider goes bust, it can be a stressful time. But it may be possible to salvage your hard-earned break, or at least get your money back. Your first steps will depend on whether you're yet to travel or are already on holiday.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

You’ve not travelled and your holiday provider goes bust

Call your holiday provider’s customer services and seek immediate advice. If you don’t get an answer, check if the firm has said anything on social media, such as Twitter or Facebook. Then try to get in touch with your airline and accommodation provider. Check if your payment’s been taken and whether or not they can honour your booking. If your airline is ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) protected, you should either get a refund or be found alternative flights.

If you’ve booked a package holiday, you should be able to claim a refund through ABTA, which is the Association of British Travel Agents. While ATOL covers flight-based holidays, ABTA tends to deal with rail, cruise and driving package holidays.

If you’ve arranged your accommodation yourself and the provider – such as the hotel – goes bust, you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. This is why it’s always good idea to buy insurance when you book your trip.

Your provider goes bust while you're on holiday

Start by checking if you have ATOL protection. Having this cover in place can stop you losing your money, or being stranded abroad, if the company you booked a package holiday with goes bust. Under UK law, every travel company that sells holidays and flights needs to hold ATOL.

If you booked a package without ATOL protection, you’ll need to get in touch with your travel insurance provider to find out if you can start a claim.

Did you book with a credit card?

If you booked your trip with a credit card – call your credit card provider, as you may be able to get a refund thanks to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. To make a claim, you’ll need to have paid more than £100 (and less than £30,000) for your holiday and/or flights and booked directly with the package provider or airline.

If you paid by debit card, you might be able to reverse the transaction through the Mastercard and Visa Chargeback scheme, which most high-street banks are part of.

Check if you’re covered by travel insurance

If you’ve booked independently of a holiday package provider, and have a travel insurance policy with End Supplier Failure, you may be able to claim back the cost of your holiday if, say, a hotel or airline goes into administration.

If you’re going on a package holiday, you’d typically fall within the scope of the ATOL scheme.

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