Holidaymakers hit by travel agents collapse

Holidaymakers hit by travel agents collapse

Holidaymakers hit by travel agents collapse

Holidaymakers hit by travel agents collapse

Holidaymakers hit by travel agents collapse

Holidaymakers hit by travel agents collapse

First published in News
Last updated
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A WESTCLIFF travel agents has shut up shop, leaving holiday makers’ travel plans in tatters.

Airflights.co.uk has called in administrators Valentine & Co.

The business had traded from offices in Halmet Court Road for 18 years, but got into financial difficulties after travel agent Robert Oppenheimer took over in July 2012.

Paul Napper and partner Julie Brown told the Echo they flew to Egypt last Thursday to celebrate her 50th birthday.

When they got to the Sea Breeze resort at Sharm El Sheikh, they found their hotel had not been paid for, despite paying Airflights in full.

Steven Lamb, a friend, has been trying to deal with the problem back home as they are still away.

He said: “The transfer was as booked, but they had to pay for the hotel again when they got there. I have tried to contact Airflights, but it goes to answer phone and no one rings back.”

The website was down yesterday and when an Echo reporter visited the office, he was allowed in by a receptionist from a separate company on the floor below.

She had no idea the travel agents had closed.

The office of Airflights on the second floor was still fully furnished, but completely deserted.

An announcement about the administration was posted on its website yesterday afternoon.

The Echo spoke to a senior employee, who would not be named, who confirmed the around ten staff, including an accountant, had not been paid for the month of September.

She said: “Robert told us over a week ago we may go into administration and that was the last anyone saw of him.

“Next we heard was from the administrators asking for the list of all customers.”

The business was set up by Peter Cole, 72, of Hayes Barton, Shoebury, but he allowed Mr Oppenheimer to take over last year due to family illnesses.

Mr Oppenheimer set up a new limited company for the takeover, but kept the same trading name and Mr Cole was also a director until resigning at the end of August, as he claimed he could see what was coming due to financial problems. Mr Cole spoke of his shock at Mr Napper’s hotel not being paid for.

He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it.

“I wanted to retire last year, but wanted the business to continue with its staff and client base, so allowed Robert to have all the office equipment.

“When I was running it at one stage we turned over £30million.”

The Echo tried to contact Mr Oppenheimer via the office number of a London travel firm he runs, plus we tried his e-mail and mobile number, but got no reply.

If you are a client or employee affected by the closure e-mail, jon.austin@nqe.com or call him on 01702 321152.

Comments (20)

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7:27am Fri 4 Oct 13

sensiblelos says...

you would think with the fact that 100's of thousands of people are flying into Southend to see the delights of the area, there would be plenty of business for local travel agents.......... i guess not.............
you would think with the fact that 100's of thousands of people are flying into Southend to see the delights of the area, there would be plenty of business for local travel agents.......... i guess not............. sensiblelos
  • Score: -14

7:44am Fri 4 Oct 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

Now thats one place judgeing by the photos that i would not be going to to book and pay for a holiday.
Now thats one place judgeing by the photos that i would not be going to to book and pay for a holiday. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 8

7:46am Fri 4 Oct 13

tricklesthegreek says...

Feel really sorry for all of those who have booked holidays and it brings uncertainty BUT ABTA should be able to back them and sort them out.
In the mean time to all the staff that have lost their jobs getting close to Christmas, you have our sympathies. Horrible times. Good luck to you all and I hope you can find work quickly.
Feel really sorry for all of those who have booked holidays and it brings uncertainty BUT ABTA should be able to back them and sort them out. In the mean time to all the staff that have lost their jobs getting close to Christmas, you have our sympathies. Horrible times. Good luck to you all and I hope you can find work quickly. tricklesthegreek
  • Score: 17

7:46am Fri 4 Oct 13

Dan-Hockley says...

I was going to say that everyone's holiday is covered by ABTA but then realised that sticking a logo on a website and letter paper doesn't actually mean you are covered by ABTA.

I must admit, I've never double checked the validity of a travel agent....maybe a word of caution to us all.
I was going to say that everyone's holiday is covered by ABTA but then realised that sticking a logo on a website and letter paper doesn't actually mean you are covered by ABTA. I must admit, I've never double checked the validity of a travel agent....maybe a word of caution to us all. Dan-Hockley
  • Score: 11

7:50am Fri 4 Oct 13

Baker-Boy says...

sensiblelos wrote:
you would think with the fact that 100's of thousands of people are flying into Southend to see the delights of the area, there would be plenty of business for local travel agents.......... i guess not.............
Far easier for people to nip online book a flight and job done. Valentines are a good firm of insolvency practitioners I'm sure anyone effect will dealt with
[quote][p][bold]sensiblelos[/bold] wrote: you would think with the fact that 100's of thousands of people are flying into Southend to see the delights of the area, there would be plenty of business for local travel agents.......... i guess not.............[/p][/quote]Far easier for people to nip online book a flight and job done. Valentines are a good firm of insolvency practitioners I'm sure anyone effect will dealt with Baker-Boy
  • Score: 4

7:55am Fri 4 Oct 13

Baker-Boy says...

One glaring error the report says calling in the administrator however the the website state liquidation. Two total different process and should not be confused
One glaring error the report says calling in the administrator however the the website state liquidation. Two total different process and should not be confused Baker-Boy
  • Score: 4

8:02am Fri 4 Oct 13

pembury53 says...

the place bombed after oppenheimer took charge......
the place bombed after oppenheimer took charge...... pembury53
  • Score: 5

8:29am Fri 4 Oct 13

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

The way customers of failed businesses are treated is appalling. People are so often left with no goods having paid for them and left stranded in foreign countries when their holiday companies come unstuck.
The least companies can do is make contact with their clients rather than leave them high and dry.
The way customers of failed businesses are treated is appalling. People are so often left with no goods having paid for them and left stranded in foreign countries when their holiday companies come unstuck. The least companies can do is make contact with their clients rather than leave them high and dry. Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: 5

9:46am Fri 4 Oct 13

rayleigh123 says...

He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it".

Did this not raise alarm bells - if not illegal it smells very fishy and then to say in August this year " i looked at the books -saw we were in financial difficulty so i resigned my directorship".
Beyond belief !!!! I fell sorry for all the people who have last their money



.
He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it". Did this not raise alarm bells - if not illegal it smells very fishy and then to say in August this year " i looked at the books -saw we were in financial difficulty so i resigned my directorship". Beyond belief !!!! I fell sorry for all the people who have last their money . rayleigh123
  • Score: 7

9:55am Fri 4 Oct 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

rayleigh123 wrote:
He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it".

Did this not raise alarm bells - if not illegal it smells very fishy and then to say in August this year " i looked at the books -saw we were in financial difficulty so i resigned my directorship".
Beyond belief !!!! I fell sorry for all the people who have last their money



.
Very good point..and that makes Mr Peter Cole equally responsible, well i hope he and Mr Robber Oppenhiemer has got some sort of plan to pay back all their customers in full.
[quote][p][bold]rayleigh123[/bold] wrote: He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it". Did this not raise alarm bells - if not illegal it smells very fishy and then to say in August this year " i looked at the books -saw we were in financial difficulty so i resigned my directorship". Beyond belief !!!! I fell sorry for all the people who have last their money .[/p][/quote]Very good point..and that makes Mr Peter Cole equally responsible, well i hope he and Mr Robber Oppenhiemer has got some sort of plan to pay back all their customers in full. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 6

10:12am Fri 4 Oct 13

Ineverknewthat says...

If you want anything done properly, your better off arranging it all, ones self.
If you want anything done properly, your better off arranging it all, ones self. Ineverknewthat
  • Score: 4

3:40pm Fri 4 Oct 13

abd123 says...

The abta website does not list them as members.
The abta website does not list them as members. abd123
  • Score: 4

10:45am Sun 6 Oct 13

runwellian says...

What is a southend story doing in Basildon news, are the Echo getting short of items to report on?
What is a southend story doing in Basildon news, are the Echo getting short of items to report on? runwellian
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Sun 6 Oct 13

Hate_fraudsters says...

They are still ripping off people under the airholidays.co.uk site and flightline-Essex.co.
uk site.
Both Facebook sites are advertising holidays, even today,Sunday 6th.
The posts are being made by Maria cole, daughter of the fraudster Peter Frederick cole, of hays Barton,Thorpe bay.
Cole is still listed on companies house as a director.
They are illegally using an abta number,
They are still ripping off people under the airholidays.co.uk site and flightline-Essex.co. uk site. Both Facebook sites are advertising holidays, even today,Sunday 6th. The posts are being made by Maria cole, daughter of the fraudster Peter Frederick cole, of hays Barton,Thorpe bay. Cole is still listed on companies house as a director. They are illegally using an abta number, Hate_fraudsters
  • Score: 3

5:48pm Sun 6 Oct 13

Hate_fraudsters says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
rayleigh123 wrote:
He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it".

Did this not raise alarm bells - if not illegal it smells very fishy and then to say in August this year " i looked at the books -saw we were in financial difficulty so i resigned my directorship".
Beyond belief !!!! I fell sorry for all the people who have last their money



.
Very good point..and that makes Mr Peter Cole equally responsible, well i hope he and Mr Robber Oppenhiemer has got some sort of plan to pay back all their customers in full.
Peter Frederick cole has bankrupted over 20 companies,call fact, check companies house.
He needs to be arrested.
Taking people's money and not providing the holidays.
His lesbian daughter is still posting on Facebook for airholidays.co.uk today, Sunday 6th October, even thought the company is bankrupt,has no abta.
The whole cole family are fraudsters.
Visit them in hays Barton Thorpe bay to get your money back.
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rayleigh123[/bold] wrote: He said: “I was not a shareholder and only remained a director so Robert could get his ABTA registration because he could not afford it". Did this not raise alarm bells - if not illegal it smells very fishy and then to say in August this year " i looked at the books -saw we were in financial difficulty so i resigned my directorship". Beyond belief !!!! I fell sorry for all the people who have last their money .[/p][/quote]Very good point..and that makes Mr Peter Cole equally responsible, well i hope he and Mr Robber Oppenhiemer has got some sort of plan to pay back all their customers in full.[/p][/quote]Peter Frederick cole has bankrupted over 20 companies,call fact, check companies house. He needs to be arrested. Taking people's money and not providing the holidays. His lesbian daughter is still posting on Facebook for airholidays.co.uk today, Sunday 6th October, even thought the company is bankrupt,has no abta. The whole cole family are fraudsters. Visit them in hays Barton Thorpe bay to get your money back. Hate_fraudsters
  • Score: 1

5:50pm Sun 6 Oct 13

Hate_fraudsters says...

abd123 wrote:
The abta website does not list them as members.
They were kicked out of abta ages ago,
The company has been losing money for years,
Cole has been taking money to prop up his failing car school,Coles school of motoring, check company house, cole has bankrupted loads of companies and is a fraudster.
[quote][p][bold]abd123[/bold] wrote: The abta website does not list them as members.[/p][/quote]They were kicked out of abta ages ago, The company has been losing money for years, Cole has been taking money to prop up his failing car school,Coles school of motoring, check company house, cole has bankrupted loads of companies and is a fraudster. Hate_fraudsters
  • Score: 1

7:48pm Sun 6 Oct 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

Hate_fraudsters wrote:
abd123 wrote:
The abta website does not list them as members.
They were kicked out of abta ages ago,
The company has been losing money for years,
Cole has been taking money to prop up his failing car school,Coles school of motoring, check company house, cole has bankrupted loads of companies and is a fraudster.
sounds like he drove this travel business into the ground...!!
[quote][p][bold]Hate_fraudsters[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]abd123[/bold] wrote: The abta website does not list them as members.[/p][/quote]They were kicked out of abta ages ago, The company has been losing money for years, Cole has been taking money to prop up his failing car school,Coles school of motoring, check company house, cole has bankrupted loads of companies and is a fraudster.[/p][/quote]sounds like he drove this travel business into the ground...!! DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 2

9:29am Mon 7 Oct 13

rayleigh123 says...

Why bother to rob a bank you can get prison for this - open a travel agent - steal someone elses ABTA number - rip people off

The police are not even interested. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!



.
Why bother to rob a bank you can get prison for this - open a travel agent - steal someone elses ABTA number - rip people off The police are not even interested. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! . rayleigh123
  • Score: 1

6:08pm Mon 7 Oct 13

Baker-Boy says...

rayleigh123 wrote:
Why bother to rob a bank you can get prison for this - open a travel agent - steal someone elses ABTA number - rip people off

The police are not even interested. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!



.
Why would the police be interested in an insolvency matter should finding be right then they will report to police if required. But liquidators will submit a report to the Secretary of state who can impose a number of punishments
[quote][p][bold]rayleigh123[/bold] wrote: Why bother to rob a bank you can get prison for this - open a travel agent - steal someone elses ABTA number - rip people off The police are not even interested. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! .[/p][/quote]Why would the police be interested in an insolvency matter should finding be right then they will report to police if required. But liquidators will submit a report to the Secretary of state who can impose a number of punishments Baker-Boy
  • Score: 1

12:47am Tue 29 Oct 13

Dr Martin says...

sensiblelos wrote:
you would think with the fact that 100's of thousands of people are flying into Southend to see the delights of the area, there would be plenty of business for local travel agents.......... i guess not.............
Have you got a problem about Southend?
[quote][p][bold]sensiblelos[/bold] wrote: you would think with the fact that 100's of thousands of people are flying into Southend to see the delights of the area, there would be plenty of business for local travel agents.......... i guess not.............[/p][/quote]Have you got a problem about Southend? Dr Martin
  • Score: 0

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