Kesgrave: Holidays cancelled as booking agent Independent Villas Ltd goes into liquidation

One of the properties available through booking agent Independent Villas which has gone in to liquid

One of the properties available through booking agent Independent Villas which has gone in to liquidation - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of holidaymakers have had their bookings cancelled, and could be left out of pocket, following the collapse of a Suffolk-based agent.

Hundreds of holidaymakers have had their bookings cancelled, and could be left out of pocket, following the collapse of a Suffolk-based agent.

Independent Villas Ltd, based at Kesgrave, near Ipswich, which acted as a booking agent for independently-owned villas, mainly in Portugal, is to go into liquidation, blaming cash-flow problems and tough trading conditions.

The company did not offer packages including air travel and so customers already abroad will be able to complete their holidays as planned.

But the liquidators, from East Anglian accountancy firm Larking Gowen, have been unable to reach agreement with villa owners for future holidays to go ahead and all outstanding bookings made through Independent Villas have now been cancelled. Larking Gowen is now in the process of writing to all affected customers.

Emails are also being sent where addresses are available and some customers due to start their holidays within the next few days are being contacted by telephone.

Andrew Kelsall, director of business recovery at Larking Gowen, said that holidaymakers might be able to rebook by dealing directly with the owners of the villa they had planned to stay at, but owners might have already arranged alternative lettings.

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Customers who had paid for their accommodation by credit card were advised to claim against their card issuer, he said.

However, anyone who had paid, whether a deposit or in full, by cheque or in cash, would become a creditor of the company.

It was hoped that it would be possible to pay a dividend to creditors in due course, but it was too early to say for certain whether this would be the case, or what percentage of the money owned they might get back, he added.

Larking Gowen said that about 60 bookings were affected but was not able to confirm how many individuals were involved.

However, with the company having handled bookings for villas with up to six bedrooms, the number of people affected is likely to total several hundred.

In a statement announcing its appointment as liquidator, Larking Gowen said: “The directors cite cash flow difficulties as a result of difficult trading conditions and increased competition in the market place for the company’s current difficulties.

“All holidays booked through Independent Villas have been cancelled and all people with bookings are in the process of being notified.

“Larking Gowen had attempted to come to agreement with the owners of the Villas in order for the holidays to proceed; however an agreement could not be reached leaving the company with no alternative than to enter liquidation.”

Independent Villas, which started trading in 2009, employs two directors and one part-time member of staff.

A meeting of creditors to place the company into liquidation has been called for July 2.

Customers with any queries should contact Richard Bloomfield or Kerry Horne of Larking Gowen on 0845 450 2466.