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The collapse of Thomas Cook has sent shock waves through the holiday industry.

More than 21,000 people have lost their jobs and holidays for thousands of people have been wrecked after a last-ditch rescue bid failed and the holiday giants went under.

Could some people have seen it coming?

How can you avoid being caught in any similar or future disaster?

Here Gillian Jones, a partner in the company and commercial department of Devon solicitors Wollens, gives some sound advice.

Gillian, who is based at Wollens’ office in Barnstaple and has been practising since the early 1980s, says: “If you booked with Thomas Cook, unfortunately, t’s too late  to salvage your holiday  and all you can do is wait for any compensation or insurance money to come in.

“But  there are a few, simple steps to take before you book your next holiday  to give you extra peace of mind.”

They include:

  • If you have heard rumours that the holiday company  you plan to use is in financial difficulties then  it is worth checking out the situation. All may be fine, or  you may not be able to get an answer, but some people would have booked with Thomas Cook in the few days before it went under and  rumours were rife then.
  • Pay as late as you can, so if the company fails, you could still have your  cash in your bank account not theirs
  • Pay be credit card if you can as you will have extra rights against your credit card company
  • Even though package deals usually have protection schemes covering them,  travel insurance that provides  cover for company failure  is also a good idea
  • If you are booking a package deal,  check to see if it is covered by ATOL or ABTA (or both) . Just occasionally  companies claim to be ATOL or ABTA  registered when they are not . You can check on the ATOL and ABTA websites to see if the company really is registered
  • ATOL protection is run by the Civil Aviation Authority and only covers package deal holidays involving flights
  • ABTA protection is run by the Association of British Travel Agents  and only covers package holidays booked through travel agents when the booking has been made from within the EEC. Both protection schemes have good websites that explain how they work for your benefit and protection
  • If you are booking your own separate components eg, flight then arranging your own car hire and accommodation,  you are not going to be covered by the scheme so insurance is essential if you don’t want to take the risk
  • Check what cover you get with your travel insurance and do consider when you want the cover to run from. If you plan to buy it on the day you fly out for your holiday , you won’t be covered if the company fails just before you leave home to go to the airport
  • And, in case the worst happens,  and your company goes bust whilst you are away , make sure you have access to some emergency money to cover unexpected extra expenses, and either get receipts for  or make a note of  everything you pay out


Wollens and their team of experts deal with a vast array of matters, including contractual disputes, in their company and commercial department.

If you are looking for advice go to our website www.wollens.co.uk