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Bestjet fiasco said to affect ‘over 10,000’ travellers

January 2, 2019 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email


The travel industry has entered the New Year with perhaps 10,000 Australian travellers affected or left out of pocket following the collapse of Bestjet Travel Pty Ltd, with a creditors meeting due to be held today.

In most cases, consumers are no longer covered against such collapses, following the termination of the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) in 2014. The AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS), which succeeded the TCF, does not provide consumer compensation. Besides, Bestjet was not a member of ATAS.

Bestjet and its subsidiaries, Wynyard Travel Pty Ltd and Brooklyn Travel Pty Ltd, went into voluntary administration on 18 December 2018. Nigel Markey and Bradley Hellen of Brisbane-based accounting firm Pilot Partners have been appointed as administrators.

Reports on 9FinanceBusiness News over the holiday break quoted industry insiders saying “more than 10,000 travellers” were affected by the collapse of Brisbane-based Bestjet.https://www.centarahotelsresorts.com/cosihotels/?utm_source=e-global&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=cosi-firstlaunch&fbtrack=CUST-cosi-firstlaunch-e-global-banner

According to Perth-based industry publication BTN News, Bestjet creditors, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are “said to be owed more than AUD 10 million”.

While the administrators have yet to confirm the amount involved, Bestjet creditors are already grouping together to fight for their rights.

Over 600 people have joined a Facebook group set up to help Bestjet victims and “demand accountability” from the failed online travel agency and its administrators.

The Bestjet Fiasco Action Group, created on Facebook on 21 December 2018, is led by NSW registered nurse and author Kate Ryder, who says she is owed more than AUD 3000 after booking two return flights to Europe through Bestjet.

An email circulated on behalf of Ryder on 27 December 2018 said people “formally or informally” represented the Bestjet Fiasco Action Group could be categorised into five identifiable groups: 

  1. Those that have cancelled their flights, sought and been promised a refund by Bestjet, but have not as yet received the refund; 
  1. Those like myself [Ryder], who have paid for their flights, received a ‘booking’ confirmation informing us that the e-tickets would be issued within 72 hours (which conflicts with the company’s website that states that e-tickets would be issued within 42 hours), but have neither received the e-tickets or a refund for the tickets; 
  1. Those that received their e-tickets and a confirmed booking, and have since learnt that these flights have been cancelled and the money refunded to ‘Bestjet’ or a consolidated ticketing purchase company that appears to have purchased the tickets on behalf of Bestjet; 
  1. Those that have received e-tickets and confirmed bookings, have been informed by the airlines that these bookings still exist despite Bestjet’s collapse, but fear that they will be cancelled before they have a chance to fly; and finally 
  1. Concerned family or friends.

Ryder said Bestjet customers were still travelling to airports and only at the last minute finding that their flights had been cancelled.

She warned of “a lot of false information on social media platforms and in the media” which was giving false hope and scope for opportunistic secondary scammers to start operating. She also warned of the “false and misleading information” being sent to Bestjet’s customers. Bestjet’s administrators have warned of the same thing.

Ryder said that many of Bestjet’s customers were elderly and from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds, so might have difficulty navigating the complaints process.

Ryder is pressing for administrators Pilot Partners to register all of Bestjet’s customers who have lost money as actual or potential unsecured creditors and conduct all their meetings via satellite link-up.

MEANWHILE, on Christmas Eve, the administrators warned Bestjet customers to ignore unauthorised information “that appears to have been distributed to them by the company through an email alert sent yesterday”.

The administrators confirmed they had no knowledge of, and did not authorise, a communication advising Bestjet customers that bookings made prior to 11 December “should not be cancelled”.

Administrator Nigel Markey of Pilot Partners said the current director and owner of Bestjet, Robert McVicker Jnr, notified the administrators that the travel company’s servers, systems and website were still under control of the previous owner of the business.

“The administrators have no control over notices and statements issued from the company’s server, bestjet.com, and customers are advised to ignore them,” Markey said.

“These acts of interference in the administration of Bestjet must stop. I will not hesitate to seek an urgent injunction to recover the company’s servers and other books and records, and prevent any further unauthorised communications being sent.”

Markey reiterated the following steps for any customers affected:

Flight booked with the Company and flight ticket received

 Contact the airline to confirm your booking.

Flight booked with the Company and flight ticket not received

 1) Contact the airline to confirm your booking. If your flight has not been confirmed, please proceed to step 2.

2) Contact your financial institution or travel insurance provider and request a refund for your flight. If your financial institution will not refund you the amount, please proceed to step 3.

3) You may rank as an unsecured creditor of the Company. Please complete the Proof of debt or claim form (Form 535) https://www.pilotpartners.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Circular-to-Customers.pdf along with supporting documentation and email to bestjetgroup@pilotpartners.com.au

Written by Peter Needham



Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    wasn’t this organisation set up by a well known failure in the flight industry , already sent an airline broke 100 mill ??

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