Travel agency asks pensioners to pay, then liquidates
FIVE Bundaberg women have lost almost $15,000 after the company they were planning a holiday with went into liquidation.
Bundaberg woman Judith Hayhoe is one of the five local pensioners left looking for answers after she made a final payment on a trip before receiving an email informing her their nine-night Kimberley escape was off.
Mrs Hayhoe said it had been hard saving for the trip and said she was giving herself the holiday as a present for her 75th birthday.
But both the trip and the money now look to be gone as their travel agent, Victorian based Australian Specialty Tours Pty Ltd went into liquidation.
Mrs Hayhoe said it wasn't the first time she and her friends had used the travel company to book a holiday.
"There was a trip organised last year to Tasmania with them through a Probus Club," Mrs Hayhoe said.
The pensioner said after a great trip to Tasmania she and her friends did not think twice about using the company when they were emailed with the Kimberley offer.
"We were sent an itinerary by email which we downloaded and printed off," Mrs Hayhoe said.
She said they were told to have their deposit on the holiday by June 30.
"So we all paid $1000 (deposit)," she said.
The final payments were due by August 15 - the same day the company went into liquidation.
"They emailed and requested the payment be made on that date, due to 'Qantas might be increasing their fares'," she said.
"So we all had to pay no later than the 15th of August.
"So we all took our money out and paid."
Mrs Hayhoe said they were shocked to have just made their final payment only to receive an email on Monday to say the trip was off.
"It said they had received notification that the company had gone into liquidation and the tour was off," Mrs Hayhoe said.
"We felt that they knew."
Now just two days from when the women were due to leave, Mrs Hayhoe said it looked unlikely her birthday wish would come true.
"We just hope we can possibly do something about getting our money back," she said.
"Five single women, all pensioners, we were so looking forward to it."
Australian Speciality Tours Pty Ltd company is now in the hands of receivers Philip Newman and David Charles Quin of PCI Partners Pty Ltd in Victoria.
A representative from PCI Partners Pty Ltd was unavailable for comment.