More on the Goldtrail Collapse

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Over the weekend, there has been lots of coverage of Goldtrail, the plight of those abroad and the efforts by the CAA to get them home. Holidaymakers affected are quoted as saying things like they are angry, everything was fine when they checked the website, why wasn’t there some notice and so on. Because Goldtrail had appeared on BBC’s Watchdog programme last year, some holidaymakers have suggested the writing was on the wall for the company then. The same program said that ABTA had fined them. Barrhead Travel in Scotland said that they didn’t sell Goldtrail holidays unless someone came in to their travel agencies and deliberately asked for one, suggesting they were concerned about the company.
So how can the holidaymaker know the company they have bought a holiday from is safe?
The answer is that they can’t. But there are some ways that might help.
Goldtrail sold holidays at the cheap end of the market. If when you look for a holiday and the price from one company is very different from the others you have looked at then be wary. It could mean that they have a great deal on offer but it could mean they are scrabbling for cash and are using that cash to pay old bills. That could be a sign that they are living from day-to-day. I ‘m not talking about a price difference of £10 or £15 per person but say over £75 per person
Ask your travel agent what they think of a company. If they are owned by a tour operator that you are consider travelling with then ask someone else,- another travel agent for example. The trade knows the gossip and they will want to help so that you come back to them next time.
Goldtrail is claimed not to have paid its hoteliers for 2 months and some say this should have been a warning. It is common in travel for bills to be paid even later than this. One I know, tried to negotiate 120 day payments. It is cash flow and if they can hold on to their money longer they will do so. This is no guide as to how strong or weak a company is.
That a company has been on Watchdog is no guide. Just about every travel company has at some stage from the biggest to the smallest. That there are comments on websites about them is no guide either. How recent are the comments? Do the bad comments-or the good ones- have the same language. In that case distrust it because there are certainly some fake comments that exist.
Finally, companies do go bust and there will be people who suffer. Company directors have a duty to trade until they recognise that the company is insolvent. Which means they will trade until the last minute in the hope that they can trade the company out of the crisis. So, we the holidaymakers, will always be the last to know-just after the employees who will be made redundant.
The one thing I am sure about is that there will be other tour operator collapses. The thoughts above may help. By that time, better consumer protection might finally come in

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: ,