Thomas Cook faces consumer backlash

Thomas Cook faces consumer backlash

Thomas Cook faces the prospect of a customer boycott and a sell-off of shares over its handling of the deaths of two children at a hotel in Corfu.

About £75 million was wiped off the value of the company’s shares as investors, anxious at the damage to its reputation, dumped stock, the Times reported.

More than 2,600 people have endorsed a ‘Boycott Thomas Cook’ page on Facebook.

Others took to the travel company’s own page on the social network to air their criticisms ahead of Cook issuing half-year results tomorrow (Wednesday).

A comment on Cook’s Facebook page said: “After the appalling way you've treated this poor family. I will no longer use your company to change my currency let alone book a trip overseas with you. Your company should be thoroughly ashamed of itself.”

Robert and Christianne Shepherd died from carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday with their father and step­mother at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in 2006.

An inquest in Wakefield reached a verdict last week that they had been unlawfully killed because of an incorrectly maintained gas boiler, and accused the travel group of breaching its duty of care.

Cook agreed yesterday to make a £1.5 million donation to the children’s charity Unicef to reflect the amount of compensation it received from Greek hotel operator, Louis Group.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser also issued a belated apology

“I believe this is the right thing to do and I apologise to the family for all they have gone through,” he said.

But Jonathan Coad, a partner at the law firm Lewis Silkin, described the saga as playing out “like a slow-motion train crash”.

He told the Times: “Often in these situations there is a tension between your relationship with your insurer and the right thing to do. It’s impossible to overvalue the importance of reputation to a company like this.”

Stewart Travel director, Willie Stewart, said: “This tragic story gives Thomas Cook no credit whatsoever and will have long ongoing consequences for them. Also the political system has failed the family concerned and us all in that ten years on there is no legislation to cover such a tragedy happening again.”

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