Collapse of online accommodation company leaves thousands of tourists stranded

The collapse of an online accommodation booking company specialising in Gold Coast holidays has left more than 2,000 holidaymakers stranded and facing a battle to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out for hotel bookings.

Gold Coast-based company Accommodation 1 collapsed on May 19 and was placed in the hands of liquidator Jason Bettles and Ivor Worrell of insolvency firm Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants.

The company traded through two online portals: the website (which has since been taken down) and through on the auction site eBay Australia. The site focused on Gold Coast apartment blocks such as Circle on Cavill, the Q1 and Chevron Renaissance.

According to a letter to customers sent by Bettles and seen by SmartCompany, customers who booked accommodation for after May 19 have been cancelled, with the liquidator saying the company “is not in a position to refund any payments made by customers”.

The liquidators have advised customers who booked accommodation through eBay to seek refunds through PayPal or through their credit card provider.

However, if those avenues are unsuccessful, the outlook is grim.

“If you are not able to arrange a refund through those parties then we enclose a Formal Proof of Debt form for you to complete and return to us to formalise a claim in the liquidation. However, at this stage it appears unlikely that there will be a return from the liquidation.”

Customers on eBay caught out by the collapse have left angry messages in feedback and forum areas and it appears few have had much luck in getting a refund from PayPal.

“I made a booking for July 2010 and stand to lose hundreds,” wrote one disgruntled customer.

“Pretty annoyed they continued to trade and take our money as well as many others! I think many are still unaware and they have taken thousands.”


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