This problem exploded in the midst of the summer heat after consumers had paid for their tour. A short SMS shattered their dreams as their dream holiday was gone with the wind! For some the repurcussions are serious. One consumer informed us that at risk were all last year’s savings! Those who borrowed to get the money for their holiday found themselves having to pay for their loan without getting their holiday!
What we know:
• Fantasy Tours closed its operations on Thursday 8th August;
• The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs made a public call for all those who had booked with Fantasy Tours to register their complaint with them and also to report their complaint to the Police;
• The Consumers’ Association (CA) notes that their chance of redress depends on the conditions of the liability insurance that Fantasy Tours were supposed to have;
• The CA also noted that, according to our legislation, local consumers were supposed to have a compensation scheme. BUT THIS DOES NOT EXIST AS SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS SINCE 1999 DID NOT BRING TWO IMPORTANT SECTIONS OF THE LEGISLATION INTO FORCE;
• The CA wrote to the Chairman, Malta Tourism Authority, to ask why the licence had been granted when there were already reports that this tour operator was not honouring Consumer Claims Tribunal decisions, why the two sections mentioned above 31(2) and (3) were not put into force and if the liability insurance that this tour operator was supposed to have covers consumer claims after ceassation of operations of Fantasy Tours;
• There were reports in the media that the Golden Travel Club a subsidiary of Fantasy Tours were operating without a valid licence for the last three years;
• The CA writes to Minister Karmenu Vella to bring immediately into force sections 31(2) and (3) and set up the compensation scheme.
• Minister Karmenu Vella answers that he will check and take necessary action
We will keep you informed and advise you of the best course of action when things are clearer. To date we’re still do not have clear information regarding the situation of Fantasy Tours.