Failed online agent investigated for breach of consumer protection rules

The CAA will continue to investigate an alleged breach of Atol rules after online retailer Express Bookers ceased trading this morning due to insolvency.

The authority was looking into the activities of Travel Experts, the parent company of Express Bookers, when it collapsed having been alerted about the Isle of Man-based firm.

A CAA spokesman confirmed the company was previously an Atol holder but that it did not have a current licence when it failed.

“We will still be looking into it to see if there was any breach of the regulations and if they were selling holidays in a way that they should not have done,” he said.

The firm, which specialised in cheap summer packages to over 100 destinations in 26 countries, was a member of Abta.

Although the website displayed at Atol logo, no mention of this protection was included in its ‘about us’ section. All it stated was: “ are ABTA bonded for your financial protection.”

On its site the company claimed: “With our huge range of contacts in the travel industry with airlines, hotels, accommodation suppliers and transfer companies we have managed to negotiate some fantastic deals which we pass on to you.

“So we keep prices low, giving you huge savings, leaving you with more money to spend on holiday. Our business plan is simple, to offer you exactly the same flights, hotels and transfers available but for less, so you can create you very own perfect holiday cheaper, with the same quality and service you would expect.”

A statement from Abta said: “Customers due to travel should have their airline tickets and if so will be able to use them.

“If they have accommodation booked they will need to rebook and contact Abta’s claims handling partner on 01243 218 412 who will help to arrange a refund.

“Customers whose cards were debited twice for the same booking who have not already received a refund from the company should contact their bank or credit card company as the second transaction will be treated as an unauthorised debit.”

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