Administrators for collapsed travel chain STA Travel say they will not offer refunds to customers who cancelled their holidays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
STA Travel appointed administrators from Deloitte on Saturday after weeks of refund claims from angry customers forced to ditch their travel plans amid domestic and international border closures.
The chain, which currently employs about 180 full-time staff, has closed its 27 stores amid the administration, with administrator Jason Tracy assessing company finances with an eye towards restructuring or a potential business sale.
In the meantime, Deloitte has told customers they will not be able to get cash refunds for cancelled trips.
“Due to the current circumstances we are not currently in a position to offer any cash refunds for cancelled trips,” the administrator said.
“Customers holding bookings should contact their airline, hotel or travel operator regarding the status of those bookings. You can also consider contacting your credit card provider if travel bookings were paid by credit card.
Founded in 1971 by two Aussie students, STA has grown into a global operation of more than 200 stores over the last 49 years, now owned by publicly traded Swiss company DKSH.
STA Travel’s UK arm has already shut down as the global travel industry grinds to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, with a note now posted to the British website reassuring scorned customers they will be contacted about derelict bookings.
Tourism-reliant businesses have been slammed by the coronavirus crisis in Australia and around the world.
While some travel agents have caved and begun paying customers refunds for holidays they’ve been forced to cancel, others have neglected to do so, leaving thousands of Aussies out-of-pocket and seeking redress.