Fantasy Tours (2) – the latest developments
As we suspected the situation looks bleak for consumers as it was reported in the press that Fantasy Tours did not have a liability insurance to cover the damages it incurs on third parties.
Thus their only hopes now lie with two options – either to put a claim on any assets that the firm might still possess or else put a claim on the owners once they are found guilty of fraud. In both cases there is a large number of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. Even if these work out, the period of time would be a long one.
That is why, when the whole issue erupted, we contacted the Malta Tourism Authority and asked the following questions:
1 whether the indemnity insurance policy which was supposed to be taken by Fantasy will in fact cover the damages incurred by consumers. We would also appreciate if you inform us of the procedures necessary to initiate redress;
2 why sections 31(2) and 31(3) of Cap 409 of the Laws of Malta were never put in force;
3 why the MTA in spite of the warning issued by the MCCAA did continue to issue the necessary licence for Fantasy to continue its operations.
MTA answered that consumers should ask what provisions there are in case of failure before they book. It also expressed an intention of establishing a compensation scheme.
The Ghaqda wrote to Minister K Vella regarding the bringing into force sections 31(2) and 31(3) of Cap 409 of the Laws of Malta and thus set up a compensation scheme for consumers using this sector of the economy.
Minister K Vella answered within minutes that he will investigate the mattter and later on informed us that he already gave instructions to the MTA to take the necessary action to bring the compensation into force. We hope that this will not take long to materialize as it will set the minds of consumers at rest and not look for travel agents abroad where there are compensation schemes
Another positive point which came out was that the MCCAA involved itself in this issue as it should be. It is a positive point as during these last years it has become synonymous with the MCCAA to shove the issue on to somebody else when there is another authority involved. We hope that this change in attitude will continue with the future.
In the meantime a group of 138 consumers filed a judicial letter against the owners of Fantasy Tours and its subsidiaries.
In the meantime CA is continueing its pressure on the Government to implement the compensation scheme.