In the wake of Australian online travel booking agency Fly365 going into liquidation, impacted travellers have questioned how they might be able to get thousands of dollars in missing funds back.
Sydney-based company Fly365 was put into voluntary administrator on Friday, closing down their website and Facebook page immediately afterwards causing mass confusion among holiday-makers who had paid the company for travel services.
Fly 365 has gone into administration.Source:Supplied
More than 1.7k Facebook users joined community page ‘Fly365 Liquidation – Support Group’ after news of the collapse started to spread, hoping to find answers about how they can claim back missing dollars.
Speaking to news.com.au, Scott Howell from The Insolvency Experts said there are four steps consumers should take in order to try and retrieve lost funds, however, he said it is “unlikely people will get money back” from the collapsed company.
CONTACT THE AIRLINE
Firstly, Mr Howell suggests making direct contact with the relevant airline to confirm if the Fly365 booking has been recorded and payment has been received.
REVIEW TRAVEL INSURANCE
This should have been taken out straight after booking the flight. Many Travel Insurance Policies have protection for an event of insolvency.
Travel insurance sometimes covers in the event of insolvency.Source:istock
“You would need to check the wording of the policy as sometimes it covers only an event of insolvency directly related to the airline and/or hotel and may not cover a “travel agent”,” Mr Howell explained.
MAKE CONTACT WITH LIQUIDATOR
Mr Howell said the next step should be to contact the Liquidator (in this case, Roger and Carson Pty Limited, who are acting for the company) and request they provide a Form 535 Formal Proof of Debt or Claim form.
“The former customers should complete the form and return it to the Liquidator, setting out the details of their claim against Fly365,” he said.
“They should also attach any supporting documentation such as tax invoices, remittance advices and confirmation emails.
Scott Howell, from The Insolvency Experts, said former customers should request a Form 535 Formal Proof of Debt or Claim form from the liquidator.Source:Supplied
“By lodging a claim the former customers will be entitled to receive all reports the liquidator will issue throughout the liquidation. The liquidator is there to assist creditors as best he/she can.”
Mr Howell said the liquidator was required to issue a statutory report to creditors within three months from the date of liquidation.
It should set out the reasons for the failure of the business, a summary of the asset/liabilities of the company, the likelihood of any return to creditors and whether there were any potential recovery actions against the directors/officers of the company.
CONTACT YOUR BANK
In an online service orientated type of business, such as Fly365, there would normally be very minimal assets and any return to creditors was “highly unlikely”.
“If customers paid by credit card, make contact with the credit card provider and seek a chargeback,” Mr Howell explained.
“Each credit card provider will have different policies as to how they deal with such disputes, so again the wording of the agreement with the relevant credit card provider should be reviewed.
“Lodging complaints with Fair Trading is generally a waste of time, as they will just review the customer to the liquidator in the first instance.”
Thousands of travellers are now confused about what they should do with their Fly365 booking. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Mr Howell said the message to take from this liquidation was for those paying for flights or accommodation through a travel agent – either online or otherwise – always pay with a credit card.
“Pay using a credit card that provides a chargeback system in the event you do not receive your good/service,” he said.
“Take out travel insurance as soon as possible that includes protection for an event of insolvency from airlines/hotels AND travel agents.”
In a statement sent to news.com.au, Roger and Carson said investigations into the collapse of Fly365 were in the early stages.
Hundreds of Fly365 customers were met with this website when they tried to access their bookings.Source:Supplied
“Given the immediacy of the appointment, the liquidator’s investigations are in their early stages but are directed at, among other things, examining the financial affairs of the company and identifying the circumstances that led to the company being placed into liquidation,” the statement read.
“The liquidator is also considering and assessing the claims of customers of the companies and any ability of customers to obtain refunds in relation to cancelled flights by other agencies and/or airlines.
“Importantly, the liquidator has not cancelled any Fly365 customers’ flights and is actively taking steps to minimise the risk of agencies and/or airlines cancelling or causing disruptions to flights of those customers.”
Fly365 is just the latest in a string of online booking companies to collapse. In January 2019, dozens of Aussies were outraged after Bestjet went into liquidation just before Christmas.
British travel firm Thomas Cook also collapsed in September 2019 leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded around the world.
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