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Saturday, July 21, 2012
Hundreds of holidaymakers could be out of pocket on prepaid trips after booking agent Selfcatering.ie went out of business.
The online company, which offered self-catered accommodation in Ireland, Britain, Europe, and the US, sent automated emails to customers on Thursday to break the news.
The firm is understood to have taken payments for future holidays which may not now be honoured.
Its parent company is Power Management Ltd based in Co Wexford. Its directors are Thomas and Mary Power.
Ms Power is a regular travel contributor on TV3’s Ireland AM and chief executive of JustGo.ie.
Correspondence sent out by the firm to customers read: "It is with deep regret that after 14 years in business, Selfcatering.ie announces that it has ceased trading with immediate effect. We acknowledge that as a customer, you will be inconvenienced and also may be impacted financially as a result. We apologise for this unreservedly."
It said the move was "a last resort" and encouraged customers "to contact the relevant property owners or caretaker directly so that a solution might be arranged regarding your holiday".
Consumers’ Association of Ireland CEO Dermot Jewell said new laws may be needed to ensure compensation for customers facing similar problems in the future.
He said this could be possible by creating a compensation fund, or other measures. He stressed credit cards are protected under the Sale of Goods Act.
Fianna Fáil spokesman on tourism Timmy Dooley called on Transport Minister Leo Varadkar to intervene.
"The real concern here is that this company is not bonded and has not had an insurance policy in place to protect the funds accumulated on behalf of customers.
"I am calling on Minister Varadkar to regulate the online booking business, because some companies appear to operate in a haphazard fashion," he said.
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