Chippenham travel company directors who misled customers over protection of holiday payments hit with lengthy bans
Two directors of holiday company, Hatts Quality Travel Limited, have been given lengthy bans for misleading customers into believing that their holiday payments were protected.
Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Adrian Hillier and his daughter Carly-Jo Hillier entered into disqualification undertakings preventing them from becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the duration of the relevant undertaking.
Hatts Quality Travel Ltd was based in Chippenham and was an organiser of pre-arranged coach tour packages (for periods of 24 hours or longer), for which the Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tours Regulations 1992 require protection be held (such as ATOL or ABTA bonding or registration) to protect customer payments.
The company entered Administration on 25 July 2015, with liabilities to creditors of £196,787 of which £176,217 was owed to 379 customers for holidays paid for but not provided.
Sue MacLeod, Chief Investigator of Insolvent Investigations, Midlands & West at the Insolvency Service, said:
"This is a serious case in which the directors clearly breached the trust of their customers. There is no place in the business community for such behaviour and The Insolvency Service and The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will take firm action to protect the public."
Notes to editors
Hatts Quality Travel Ltd (CRO No.03958698) was incorporated on 29 March 2000 and traded from The Coach House, West End, Foxham, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 4NB as a provider of holidays and coach trips.
The company went into Administration on 25 July 2014 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors and shareholders of £237,121.
Mr Adrian Charles Hillier was the sole registered director from 16 August 2005 to 22 November 2013. His date of birth is December 1957 and he is known to have resided in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
On 30 June 2016 the Secretary of State accepted a Disqualification Undertaking from Mr Adrian Charles Hillier, effective from 21 July 2016, for a period of 10 years. The matters of unfitness that were accepted were that:
"During the period 01 November 2012 to 25 July 2014 Mr Adrian Charles Hillier (“Mr Hillier”) caused or allowed Hatts Quality Travel Limited (“HQT”) to make false representations to customers that their payments for holidays would be suitably protected, when in fact HQT held no such protection. As a consequence, at the date of the Administration 379 known customers who had purchased tour packages from the company were owed £176,217."
Ms Carly-Jo Hillier was the sole registered director from 22 November 2013 to 25 July 2014 (the date of Administration). Her date of birth is July 1987 and she is known to have resided in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
On 24 June 2016, the Secretary of State accepted a Disqualification Undertaking from Ms Carly-Jo Hillier, effective from 15 July 2016, for a period of 8 years. The matters of unfitness that were accepted were that:
"During the period 22 November 2013 to 25 July 2014 Ms Carly Jo Hillier (“Ms Hillier”) caused or allowed Hatts Quality Travel Limited (“HQT”) to make false representations to customers that their payments for holidays would be suitably protected, when in fact HQT held no such protection. As a consequence, at the date of the Administration 379 known customers who had purchased tour packages from the company were owed £176,217."
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
- act as a director of a company
- take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
- be a receiver of a company’s property
In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.
Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.
Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found here.
All public enquiries concerning the affairs of the company should be made to: Insolvent Investigations, Midlands & West, 4th Floor, Cannon House, 18 Priory Queensway, Birmingham B4 6FD. Tel: 0121 698 4000. Email: Adminteam.Midlandsfirstname.lastname@example.org.
The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.
Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.
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Source: Gov.uk (Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.)