In February, the Norwegian tour operator Go International announced to its clients that it had cancelled all departures to holiday destinations in Northern Cyprus from the evening of Friday 13 February 2015. In Finland, Go International holidays have been sold by at least Groupon, Top 10 Matkatarjoukset and TravelBird. The following week, on 18 February 2015, Go International filed for bankruptcy.
Of the companies that had sold Go International holidays, TravelBird announced immediately that it will reimburse the clients the payments made to the company. Groupon has also reported that it has begun the processing of the reimbursements for payments made regarding February departures, and it has announced that it will endeavour to ensure that all its clients are refunded.
At the moment, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) is investigating the liability of Top10 Matkatarjoukset on the matter. A statement has been requested from the company covering the subject of on what grounds it deems itself to be released from the legal liability of travel agents.
The European Consumer Centre Provides Assistance in Unclear Situations
If you have not received any information on reimbursement of payments from the party that sold you the holiday, do the following:
- Send the following email message to the seller:
“The holiday I reserved and paid for has been cancelled due to the bankruptcy of the tour operator Go International. I kindly request that you return to my account, number xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, the sum I have paid. Under the Package Travel Act, you are liable for reimbursement of the payment in the same manner as the tour organiser.”
The email addresses of the companies are: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If the company does not respond to your request or if you are dissatisfied with the answer, you can contact the European Consumer Centre either by filling in the online contact form or by calling the number +358 29 553 9500 on weekdays between 10 am and 1 pm.
If you have purchased your holiday using a credit card, you can also ask the credit provider – the credit card company or bank that issued the card – to refund the price of the cancelled holiday. Consumers who paid for their holiday using a debit card should also contact their bank in such cases.
Contact Information for the Bankruptcy Estate
Go International lacked the guarantee from which consumers who had purchased a package tour could ask for refund for the price of the cancelled holiday. According to preliminary information received by the European Consumer Centre, if they so wish, consumers who have receivables from the company can contact the bankruptcy trustee.
Contact information: Go International konkursbo, v/Adv. Kjell Steinsbø, Postboks 43, 5401 STORD, website.
However, you should be prepared for the process taking some time even if the bankruptcy case proceeds normally, and does not expire due to, for example, lack of funds. It is also unlikely that, in the end, the bankruptcy estate would have any funds left to be distributed to unsecured creditors, which is the status of consumers who have ordered a package tour in case of bankruptcy.
According to as yet unconfirmed information, consumers should contact the bankruptcy estate by Friday 20 March 2015. The European Consumer Centre is still investigating the matter more closely because, from a Finnish point of view, the time to react is very short and it is likely that many Finnish consumers who have reserved and paid for the trip are unable to present their case in Norwegian, Swedish or English.
We will also confirm whether supervision of receivables causes costs to customers or not, and provide more information on the matter as new information becomes available.