Yorkshire-based Air Parade Ltd (which traded as Villa Escapes and Villa Parade) closed last month, leaving up to 10,000 customers stuck without a holiday and having to find last-minute alternative accommodation. According to sources the holiday firm was still taking bookings up until it entered liquidation, causing thousands to book summer holidays they were never going to go on.
Figures gathered from insolvency firm, O’Hara & Co, show the company owes £6.5 million to creditors, including £3.3 million to customers.
Villa Parade was a member of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and specialised in villa holidays around the Mediterranean (including Mallorca) and Florida.
Some customers realised there were problems in April when it was revealed by competitor, Travelopo, that the villas booked had not been paid for by Villa Parade, therefore customers’ bookings were invalid. However, Villa Parade successfully won an injunction at the High Court in May over Travelopo’s actions, leading to the competitor being taken off ABTA.
This, however, could not help Villa Parade stay afloat as more and more customers discovered the villa owners had not been paid for by the troubled firm. What’s more worrying, official statements leading up to the liquidation highlighted there was no need for concern.
Those customers who booked flights and accommodation can apply for refunds through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), via the ATOL scheme. Customers who booked accommodation (flights separately), can call ABTA’s Consumer Helpline on 020 3117 0599 and can claim any money back through an ABTA bond. There is also a change to apply for refunds through credit card companies.
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