TRAVEL company STA has collapsed, leaving hundreds of people without jobs and travellers wondering if they’ll get their money back.
The long-established agency, which employed around 500 staff in 50 high street branches and its central London HQ, specialised in cheap air fares and adventure tours for young people.
But after facing problems – much like the rest of the travel industry during the Covid-19 pandemic – they’ve shut up shop.
Thousands of customers are now expected to begin chasing refunds after the company collapsed last night.
Anyone who has buys a package holiday is covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme (ATOL) which guarantees you will get your money back.
STA is ATOL protected and you should have received a certificate when you booked.
However while ATOL protection may mean you get a refund for your flight and/or package holiday, it won’t cover you if you booked you flight or accommodation separately.
The number of travel insurance policies taken out in March shot up by 277 per cent in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to comparison site GoCompare.com.
But since then, most major insurers have stopped the sale of new policies altogether or removed cover for trouble caused by Covid-19.
Although many travel insurance policies don’t cover you if the company goes bust, it’s still worth checking your policy.
If you paid for a hotel or flights on your credit card then you can claim a refund using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
This law states that if the company you bought from goes bust, or they don’t deliver on the product or service they sold you, you’re entitled to a refund as long as you spent between £100 and £30,000.
If you paid on a debit card you may be able to claim the money back as a chargeback refund.
Chargeback means if you don’t receive the goods you bought, you may be able to get your money back but it’s up to your individual bank.
If you have paid a deposit and still have upcoming payments on a holiday it is best to keep paying as a failure to stump up the cash could result in you losing out on a refund in the long term.
On STA’s website, it says people with live bookings will be contacted in the new few days.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said if you are have flights back to the UK as part of your package, it should be still valid.
The flight itself won’t be operated by STA Travel as it’s not an airline, but you should check directly with the airline operating the flight to see if you can still fly home.
If you end up stuck, the CAA said arrangements are being made for ATOL protected customers to continue their holiday and return home as normal, so you won’t end up stuck.
If you only booked flights with STA, you’re probably not ATOL protected, so contact the airline that your flights are with and see what the next steps are.
STA previously came under fire for refusing holidaymakers’ refunds even if their trips were cancelled because of coronavirus.
Airlines also hiked up their prices by 1,000% as desperate Brits tried to get home before the French quarantine.
Meanwhile British Airways workers have vowed to strike during the half term holidays – sparking chaos for holidaymakers.