A former performance manager at failed travel agency Gill’s Cruise Centre has dismissed suggestions that the agency collapsed because of high levels of discounting.

Gill’s ceased trading after cruise lines put the agency on stop sale. Industry observers have blamed the failure on excessive discounting.

However, Sonja Harris, who managed a team of around 30 agents at Gill’s London call centre, said: “Not at any time did we sell at a loss. If you are earning a flat commission rate of 5%, you can’t give another 10% or 12% discount.”

Before Complete Cruise Solution cut commission to 5%, Harris said the agency did price match its competitors, but not always. “If Thomas Cook or Bolsover was doing 12% we would match it. But we wouldn’t always match it if it meant selling at a loss – that’s not the way we worked.”

She said staff were unaware that the company was in trouble until a customer said they had a read a story on Travel Weekly on Thursday. A formal announcement was made to staff on Friday.

Harris denied any workers were escorted from the premises, as some reports have suggested.

She added: “Sales were good. We had an amazing, dedicated team. My only regret it that management didn’t talk to us as we would have done everything we could to help.”

Harris confirmed that the agency’s London office moved from Paddington to Edgware Road just under three weeks ago.