Abta member ceases trading following code of conduct fine

Abta member ceases trading following code of conduct fine

Scunthorpe-based French Freedom Holidays has ceased trading with more than 400 advance bookings.

A member of Abta, French Freedom Holidays sold coach and camping holidays and had previously held an Atol.

It was fined for breaching the association’s rules two months ago and went into administration last Friday (April 5).

The company sold to holidaymakers in the UK and Ireland trading as Camping France 4 Less, Holiday France 4 Less, Ski Drive 4 Less, Ski France 4 Less, Welcome France and Welcome Holidays.

Administrator Begbies Traynor said the firm had no customers overseas but confirmed it had 422 advance bookings - about 70 with Republic of Ireland customers and the remainder from the UK.

However, Abta revealed some clients were due refunds following cancellation of holidays before the company entered administration.

The association’s code-of-conduct committee fined French Freedom Holidays £2,500 in February for breaching Abta rules on misleading advertising.

An Abta spokesman said: “The firm was advertising a campsite it did not have a contract with. Essentially, they were advertising holidays they could not provide.” He described the fine as “hefty”.

The company subsequently informed Abta it could not honour some bookings. “Clearly it had issues with its suppliers,” the spokesman said

Abta confirmed it was dealing with 340 bookings of which 25 involve clients due refunds from before the cessation of business.

The spokesman said: “They were a fully bonded company.” The firm was also bonded in Ireland.

French Freedom Holidays held an Atol until last year, when the licence was allowed to lapse. However, the Atol logo and licence number remained displayed on the French Freedom Holidays site yesterday.

A CAA spokesman said: “French Freedom Holidays did have an Atol but stopped needing one because they were not selling flights. They should have removed the logo.”

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