Bed banks insist they may still leave ABTA as a result of the ruling on liability and have pledged to make their positions clear within weeks if not days.
The ruling made it clear ABTA bed banks are liable for accommodation-only bookings if the ABTA agency the consumer books through collapses.
It is understood hotels4u.com and Med Hotels, which operate under one ABTA membership as agents not principals, are seriously weighing up whether to stay in the association, while rumours suggested the Thomas Cook-owned bed banks would alter their payment terms with ABTA agents.
But sales and marketing director Teresa Walsh said no decision had been taken. “It is still under review,” she said.
Somewhere2stay, which trades as both a principal and an agent depending on the retailer’s preference, said a decision would be made “in the next week or so”. Options include leaving ABTA or changing payment terms to get ABTA agents to pay customer money over earlier.
Managing director Stuart Jackson said: “We are still considering our position and have a number of options, but I am not going to prevaricate for too long on this.”
If bed banks change their payment terms with ABTA agents, there could be a concern it would “play into the hands” of non-ABTA bed banks, he added.
Youtravel.com is also in talks with ABTA and is reviewing its membership, despite the fact it acts as a principal on all bookings rather than as an agent.
Sales and marketing director Paul Riches said: “We are still in talks with ABTA to fully understand the implications as a principal.”
Advantage chief executive John McEwan said the consortium was giving its bed bank suppliers two weeks to hand over details of their policies and would then let members know its policy on which bed banks to work with. It has already indicated it could not work with non-ABTA bed banks that refuse to accept liability in the event of an agency failure.
Speaking as ABTA chairman, McEwan added that the ruling would only be tested when another agency collapses. “In many respects it will force the issue when we have the next major failure.”
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