An online campaign has been launched to spark debate on consumer financial protection and highlight how it claims consumers are misled by travel agents.
A new website, Ismymoneysafe.co.uk, is the brainchild of Travel Counsellors chairman David Speakman and is intended to cause a stir, not least among industry bodies such as Abta, of which he is an outspoken critic.
The site also proposes a radical solution to consumer financial protection that would see customers’ money paid into a cloud travel bank until after their holiday. Speakman has released a white paper on the proposal to coincide with the launch of Ismymoneysafe.co.uk.
Speakman has collaborated with Alan Bowen, legal adviser at the Association of Atol Companies and a former Abta head of legal services.
The website features comments about financial protection from unnamed travel agents asked about financial protection that, Speakman said, underlined how little the issue is understood, even among travel professionals.
It also contains a chart stating what is and is not covered by Abta and the Atol scheme, contrasting this with Travel Counsellors’ trust which, it claims, provides full protection.
In the wake of recent collapses such as that of Goldtrail Holidays, Speakman said he had been angered by what he believed were repeated inaccurate claims about what protection exists.
He said although neither Abta nor the CAA offer full, unconditional protection, people booking with Abta or Atol agents assume they are protected.
“It’s not just consumers who should read this but travel agents and the press. I don’t mind being controversial. What we are trying to do is kill some of the myths,” Speakman said.
Bowen added: “I hope this will fuel debate. We can’t go on struggling from one crisis to another. If we go on like this the consumer is just going abandon the industry and book direct.”