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Skiing Europe/Chris Reynard - Children's ski holiday left in ruins.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Chris Mason,

I share your scepticism about the profits figure quoted by AITO - they also quoted a figure of £4m assets (some chance). Yes the figures quoted may well be doubtful given subsequent events, but that just raises questions as to whether AITO were told the truth by CR in order to secure AITO membership (which if proven would be a fraud in itself) and the quality of AITO's checking procedures.

As for SE trading as a company - the insurer has made clear to all and sundry that the insurance cover is for CR trading as SE - although the posts by outofpocket above indicate that there might be some attempt going on to shift the business into the limited company.

As for AITO allowing sole traders into membership - they have confrimed to me that there other sole traders within their membership - it suprised me as well. What some do is also set up a limited company with the same name as their trading operation - just for name protection. The company then remains dormant. This is quite a common procedure and in itself is nothing sinister. If you look at Companies House the reason given for SE not filing accounts was that the company was dormant - at least until the last filed statement. If this is not the case then this would mean that all sorts of additional offences may have been committed.

I totally agree that only a full investigation of CR's activities will reveal the truth - and given events todate and the many consistencies which have been identified the authorities have more than enough grounds to conduct such an investigation. If the industry wants to be sucessful - I do think it should ask some questions as to how effective AiTO is self policing the industry - and also whether bankruptcy is the right trigger point for insurance/bonding arrangements held by sole traders.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
So that everyone is clear that there is no "legal way" that CR t/as SE or SE Ltd can any longer accept payment or take bookings see email I received today below. Assuming that many of the creditors have started proceedings (which they have) then the end is now in sight.

Dear *************,



Thank you for your call today and I hope that I have assisted in clarifying your immediate queries in relation to our Financial Failure insurance policy issued by AmTrust Europe Ltd in respect of C Reynard t/as Skiing Europe.



Specifically:



1. The policy coverage only relates to C Reynard t/as Skiing Europe and not Skiing Europe Ltd. No policy has been issued in the name of the latter.

2. The policy only covers payments made within the policy period. This being 1st May 2010 – 30th April 2011. Any payments made subsequent to 30th April 2011 would not be covered by the insurance policy issued by AmTrust Europe Ltd.



For the sake of further clarity I attach our ‘standard’ financial failure insurance wording for your retention.



I trust this clarifies our position at this stage and should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.



Regards



Mike Pinner

Chief Financial Officer

Amtrust Europe Limited

10th Floor, Market Square House,

St James's Street,

Nottingham, NG1 6FG

Office: **********

Mobile: **********
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
outofpocket, might be best to remove that email address - it's an open invitation to spam bots
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outofpocket, Very useful - just so everyone is aware anyone booking a holiday with a tour operator is entitled to ask for confirmation of the insurance/bonding arrangements from the Tour Operator under the Package Holiday Regs. If Reynard says he is insured/bonded elsewhere I would seek to confirm details with the insurance company/bank offering the bond before making any commitment whatsoever.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yes nice post Chris Mason. I also think there is a reason to have a SE Ltd entity, and wonder if the Schools deal with CR as sole trader but the hotels and other business get paid by SE Ltd? Perhaps CR trading as SE pays SE Ltd to 'perform the service' of booking stuff? That way if SE Ltd goes bust owing payments to dozens of hotels and ski firms, the liability to stump up is minimised. But what about liability to the Schools/group that paid money and are owed it back? The difference is possession - CR has the money and the Schools have to drag his butt through the courts to retrieve it - not easy or fast as we are seeing.
Also, how are the Schools payments guarranteed if the AITO bond is with SE Ltd? (I previously thought the AITO bond was with CR trading as SE, as required to be in business as a TO ?)
Edit - sorry this last bit was just clarified in the meantime.
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outofpocket, I've remove phone number and email addresses to hopefully prevent spaming
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
outofpocket, can you explain to me how you know there is no legal way he can take bookings anymore?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Shimmy Alcott, The Package Holiday regs require that any tour operator have insurance/bonding arrangements to protect their customers from loss should the TO become insolvent/bankrupt - this relates to both holidays still to be taken and those which are in progress. It is theoretically possible that CR/SE may have got insurance/bonding elsewhere, although I have my doubts that any bank/insurance company would offer it - which is why it is important that any potential customers use their legal rights to ask for evidence of the arrangement should CR claim that their is cover in place.
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outofpocket wrote:
So that everyone is clear that there is no "legal way" that CR t/as SE or SE Ltd can any longer accept payment or take bookings see email I received today below. Assuming that many of the creditors have started proceedings (which they have) then the end is now in sight.


Thanks for this information. It appears to shut the door on future trading with insurance back-up and that can only be good for the public at large.
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noskitrip, how do you know what insurance the business has? You know what company is not insuring it - but that is all. Stephen101 doubts the business has the insurance, but he does not say he knows.
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outofpocket wrote:
2. The policy only covers payments made within the policy period. This being 1st May 2010 – 30th April 2011. Any payments made subsequent to 30th April 2011 would not be covered by the insurance policy issued by AmTrust Europe Ltd.

Does that not leave anyone with a booking for next year (e.g. outofpocket) in an even more "interesting" position. I assume they would have paid a deposit to secure the booking, but there will be a balance outstanding to be paid nearer the time. So the deposit will be covered by the insurance scheme, but any balances still outstanding will not be covered. So how do they get out of that? I guess the answer is that there has to be some alternative bonding/insurance arrangement to be in place, or SE cannot be operating legally any longer...and those deposits have to be returned?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
what about payments before the 1st May 2010 for schools that cancelled their half term and easter 2011 trips ?
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rayscoops wrote:
what about payments before the 1st May 2010 for schools that cancelled their half term and easter 2011 trips ?


I would presume that they are covered by the insurance certificate that IGI Insurance/AmTrust issued for the previous year. Obviously those concerned should check if this has not been done already - but I suspect that this is one of the first things that would have been checked by those concerned
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
A couple of points to make:

1) SE/SE Ltd doesn’t have alternative insurance as it was me who informed Chris last week that AM Trust are not insuring his company. I also informed him that CRt/as SE cannot accept payments after 30th April. He thought that any bookings made before 30th April were covered in perpetuity - which in fairness to him is what Status had told him (and me), likewise Status has suggested to me that SE ltd was covered. Both are not the case. I am happy to say that I don’t believe that CR was aware his insurance was invalid, I think the brokers let him down - but that’s irrelevant now.

2) "Does that not leave anyone with a booking for next year (e.g. outofpocket) in an even more "interesting" position" - no it leaves all 12 2012 groups in a much better position. AM Trust have confirm to me that our deposit is covered and that unless CR had continuous cover from another insurer (he didn’t) then we are in no obligation to pay any further cash and demand our deposit back. Clearly SE has no money so we wont get it until the insurance kicks in. Hence the importance of creditors submitting claims, i.e hotels, instructors, coach firms etc..

3) "what about payments before the 1st May 2010 for schools that cancelled their half term and easter 2011 trips ?" the insurance has been in place for years so the dates aren’t relevant, However, I’m no expert but I would say that many Schools will be in a difficult position and the fact that they cancelled makes it problematic (no matter how valid the reason for cancelling). The insurers may take a sympathetic position and pay out everyone or it may be deemed a contractual issue and therefore the schools should consider themselves creditors and try and get a slice of the action from his estate - clearly you will all be getting advice to this effect. I know that I would have stuck a claim in the day I cancelled for breach of contract by SE etc.. and I’m sure most did do that.

The end is in sight. Feb 2012 trips will certainly get paid out when he goes bust. Last years may get paid out or may have to take a % in the pound from the administrator.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Wed 8-06-11 11:05; edited 1 time in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
GrahamN,

I think you are right that if CR t/a SE cannot arrange insurance elsewhere and hence operate legally then he is both under the Regs and normal contract law required to offer a full refund - and if he cannot pay then those concerned would have to join the queue with all the other creditors, but bear in mind that the deposits paid to date will still be covered by the insurance arrangements. I don't think that there would be an obligation to pay a penny more until CR produced a valid insurance certificate for CR t/a SE.
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
btw "Dave" who was the last employee at SE and worked Monday, Wenesday and Friday has now left due to not being paid.

He was a good guy, very honest and didnt try to hind anything. He, like me, was very much of the opinion that CR was not a crook but the owner of a failing business.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
outofpocket, whatever ones views of CR, it sounds like a result for you. Congratulations. I hope you can now move on to sorting out a replacement trip for your troop with a "more secure" organisation.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Wed 8-06-11 11:14; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
outofpocket,

Re your point 1 about CR saying he was not aware of a change in his insurance position for over a month - all I can is that CR is either incredibly naive or he is something worse.

I totally agree with you that is important that everyone submits their claims for refunds.
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The SE site presently is advising that website is undergoing a major overhaul and will be back up soon. It gives contact information. It does not say that SE has ceased trading.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
outofpocket,

AmTrust confirmed to me (verbally) at the end of February (and someone else - see the bulletin board) that the Insurance Cover was in respect of CR t/a SE. CR claims he only realised when told by a customer at the start of June, when he was trying to shift a contract into SE Ltd.
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Stephen101 wrote:
outofpocket,

AmTrust confirmed to me (verbally) at the end of February (and someone else - see the bulletin board) that the Insurance Cover was in respect of CR t/a SE. CR claims he only realised when told by a customer at the start of June, when he was trying to shift a contract into SE Ltd.


The reason I believe this is because the woman at Status almost as much as admitted to me that someone at their office had dropped a b0ll0ck from an admin point of view. I'm not saying that CR wasn't a bit dodgy in trying to transfer bookings to SE ltd but i am convinced he believed he could do it and still be insured. The point is he wasnt insured so tough luck CR!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
GrahamN,

Thanks, had a good offer from a company called Skiteam4 which we'll look at. tbh, might just leave it a year its been a bit of a mess around not sure I can be bothered with starting again this year!!!!!

Does anyone know anything about skiteam4?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
outofpocket, strange that the cover ended after 1 year - 1 May 2010 to 30 April 2011. Exactly a year. Was it not a case of the insurance not being renewed, rather than it being cancelled? How could CR not know that? Maybe his surprise was that you'd got hold of that information - in the past he's got away with stuff as information was much easier to hide before the internet.
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outofpocket, also, congrats and I am in awe of your fact finding Very Happy
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Shimmy Alcott, It's just about possible that the broker failed to pass on the message about SE's insurance not being renewed - but given his position, his need for new business, and the legal requirement to produce an insurance certificate to any customer who asked for one, it would be somewhat naive of CR (to say the least) not to check for himself. outofpocket, is right that there is a fine line between businesses dealing with genuine business diffculties and trading while insolvent/fraudulent trading - and you really cannot look at any one indicator in isolation. Most with experience in this area would look at a wide range of indicators and see if any pattern arose. All I can say is that in this case there are quite a large number of indicators - some of which are based on facts, some of which are behavioural - and in my view there is a clear pattern worthy of further investigation by the authorities.
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Shimmy Alcott wrote:
outofpocket, strange that the cover ended after 1 year - 1 May 2010 to 30 April 2011. Exactly a year. Was it not a case of the insurance not being renewed, rather than it being cancelled? How could CR not know that? Maybe his surprise was that you'd got hold of that information - in the past he's got away with stuff as information was much easier to hide before the internet.


Yes it was a funny situation. The policy for CR t/as SE did come to an end rather than bring cancelled and as AM Trust have removed themselves from this market then it was never going to be renewed. It becomes more complicated but the fact is that CR asked his brokers to provide cover for SE Ltd back in March I believe. The brokers asked for details of 2012 trips and provided an itemised invoice and put SE Ltd on cover (supposedly!). The invoice hasn’t been paid and the brokers it appears may not have followed the correct process or even submitted the proposal form to AM Trust but either way the policy was never issued by AM Trust - as it wouldn’t have been as they were leaving the market. There is clearly an issue with CR trying to transfer the bookings from SE to SE ltd without consent, this in itself is enough to invalidate the booking and for this point i do not defend him.

Throughout my short time of posting on here I have tried to align my opinion with the available facts. So in this case CR shouldn’t have moved bookings without consent but I believe he did think he was moving them to a company that was insured.

It is much easier to focus on the problem at hand by removing emotion and dig for facts. They are all there. Finally by me keeping a good relationship with CR I have managed to find out a stack of info that I would never have got by sending him hate mail. (good job he doesn’t know how to switch a PC on and his one member of staff who did has left!)
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
What this thread highlights to me, is how wide the flaws appear to be in current bonding systems. I don't use TOs much but I'll be even more sceptical of the value of ATOL bonding in the future.
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fatbob, don't get ATOL and AITO confused. Whether AITO conducts rigorous checks of its members or takes things on trust, and it would appear they at least have some questions to answer, should say nothing about how ATOL (a completely different organisation, and arguably a different industry) operates.
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
fatbob,

To be fair I don't think the system works too badly when applied to companies where there are often banks involved which can push the company into insolvency and then trigger the bond/insurance, so I wouldn't mess around in those areas. There is clearly a problem with sole traders where the mechanisms for forcing bankruptcy are much more prolonged and the TO can fail to fufil their obligations for a long time before the customer gets any protection. Also AITO and ATOL are responsible for running some of the schemes - and I'm not sure that the former's criteria for admission to membership are as strong as they might be. If I were a tour operator I would be lobbying AiTO to put their houses in order before the Govt is required to step in and do it for them.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

The brokers asked for details of 2012 trips and provided an itemised invoice and put SE Ltd on cover (supposedly!). The invoice hasn’t been paid


It would appear that CR considered that he was entitled to something because it was shown on an invoice that he didn't pay - but conversely felt that he was not entitled to give something in return when someone had already paid up on an invoice that he issued. Somewhat ironic I say.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
fatbob wrote:
What this thread highlights to me, is how wide the flaws appear to be in current bonding systems. I don't use TOs much but I'll be even more sceptical of the value of ATOL bonding in the future.


The entire package holiday Regulations is a joke, not just the bonding system, imho
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
GrahamN wrote:
fatbob, don't get ATOL and AITO confused. Whether AITO conducts rigorous checks of its members or takes things on trust, and it would appear they at least have some questions to answer, should say nothing about how ATOL (a completely different organisation, and arguably a different industry) operates.


Yep typo mea culpa. Entirely different kettle of fish.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

The entire package holiday Regulations is a joke, not just the bonding system, imho



It may be your view - but it is what we are likely to be stuck with for the forseeable future unless we leave the EU since they are based on an EU Directive - and the Travel Industry has lobbied long, hard and effectively against making some or the requirements more exacting and/or precise. Much as you and I may dislike the present Govt. I don't think that they are likely to want to gold plate the regulations. That said until SE came along I don't think that there were many consumers suffering too much as a result of TO's having financial difficulties - and there is an awful lot more honesty in brochures than there used to be.
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Stephen101, the travel industry business seems like a law unto itself - what other industry allows the sale of products/services that do not even exist ?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
erm....the (residential) construction industry?
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Financial Services CDOs / toxic loans ?
I'd go along with the view that CR ran into trading problems and cashflow, and THEN resorted to type and behaving badly to keep things afloat. The sad thing is that if/when someone in authority, or the legal process, brings this to a close, CR will lose his pension but still be a millionaire and lots of 'little people' will be out of pocket. Sounds just like the banking crisis in miniature.
ski holidays
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
GrahamN, I think buying off plan is a strange one, but there is a plan to build, land owned, buildings designed and the units are not actually over sold or sold twice, and even then most deals are based upon a reservation fee and payment upon completion of the unit. However in the travel industry I have read threads on here about hotels being sold on but TO's still selling holidays for the (unavailable) hotel, and with SE selling rooms in hotels that are already full and being paid fully upfront without any sort of confirmation of expenditure on the service/product themselves, It is ok to sell seats on a flight that has not taken off the same as it is ok selling houses that have not yet been built, but airlines having a policy of seling more seats on a flight than a plane can hold ... well it is all quite strange imho
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
rayscoops, You have actually hit on one of the main reasons why the industry is not doing very well at the moment - tour operators and agents will only have a viable future if they can add value to the purchaser directly over and above the purchaser directly buying the components themselves - and that is a lot easier now with the internet, credit protection on credit cards etc etc. The TO can add value by taking over the admin, adding some knowledge as to the best locations, all inclusive packages etc. , taking some of the credit risk (if you have proper insurance/bonding, getting betetr prices through bulk buying - but that value is shrinking and some TO's seem to think that they might as well take away value by double booking, overcharging for extras. Group trips are probably one of the areas where it is easier to add value - but how long will it bee before you can book all the elements (with inspection visits thrown in) on lastminute.com or easy school ski trip or similar. If the TOs want to preserve their industry they need to start getting their act together and deal with the dross- rather than just carrying on relying on the inertia of those who have always used TOs.
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Stephen101, agreed .. now there is a first Very Happy
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My MP has raised the matter of Chris Reynard with Vince Cable - no other info, yet.
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