More Than a Thousand Stranded as Sun4U Goes Bust
August 13, 2010
(ChattahBox) – UK company Sun4U has gone bust, and while more than 1,200 customers are on holiday on all-inclusive packages that are now not recognized by the hotels or airlines that originally provided them.
The company lost a great deal of business after the Icelandic volcano eruption, which cut off air travel in several countries. The collapse of the popular Goldtrail attraction – their most popular destination – also added to their financial woes.
Despite knowing they would likely have to default, they continued booking vacations up to 24 hours before announcing that their company had folded, and that customers who bought packages would not be getting their money back.
As for those already gone, many are trapped abroad, mostly in Spain. While Sun4U announced that they should be able to get their packages covered under Abta – The Travel Association, Abta has said that they only cover some of the customers, as many were booked by the business under third party sources not covered under the insurance package.
Those vacationers that were not covered are now facing a big problem…they are being billed for double what they originally paid, sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Since they booked all-inclusive, they don’t have the money to pay those bills, or even to get a flight home.
One hotel made the rather distasteful move of announce over the speaker system that all those who paid all inclusive were no longer covered, and would have to pay bills in the thousands before being given any more food or drinks, or would have to get out immediately.
“People were saying, ‘Well, we just can’t afford that. We paid all-inclusive so we didn’t have to spend any money while we’re away’,” Nigel Barnes told the BBC.
“[Atol] was saying if you’d booked as a complete thing it was Atol-protected, if you hadn’t it wasn’t. So, I don’t know where we stand money-wise.”
Sun4U is now saying that those who are stranded will have to file a claim with the Civil Aviation Authority, or pay on credit and then file a dispute with their card company when they get home.