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Thomas Cook customers paid over £500m for worthless holidays

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Holidaymakers had shelled out more than a half a billion pounds when Thomas Cook went bust, latest documents reveal.

The Insolvency Service revealed that at the time of Thomas Cook Group’s failure in September, customers had shelled out £585m for package holidays, flights and other services.

Overall, the group’s total liabilities come to £9bn, including £5.7bn in debts to other companies, £1.7bn to banks and other lenders, £885m for trade creditors such as airline businesses and tour operations, and £45m to employees.

However, asset realisations are estimated at between £176m and £244m, so it is not known how much money will be paid back to creditors.

When the renowned travel business went bust in September, 150,000 holidaymakers were stranded abroad and 300,000 future holidays were cancelled.

These customers were protected by the ATOL financial scheme and to date, 250,000 claims have been settled (around 75% of all claims), with more than £200m being paid out.

Earlier this month, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) admitted thousands of refund claims had been delayed beyond a 60-day deadline it had set.

It said a third of the 67,000 claims submitted on 7 October – when the refund scheme opened – were still outstanding, though it had already paid out £160m.

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said: “We understand that those consumers that have not been paid yet have had to wait longer than we had hoped and we are doing all we can to process these claims as soon as possible. Unfortunately, our operation has had to include extra checks and processes owing to the quality of the information we received from Thomas Cook’s systems and the potential threats of scams and fraud.

“We will continue to make as many payments as possible each day and contact consumers that need to provide us with further information in order to validate their claims.”

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