Anger is mounting over the lack of communication from a Thanet travel firm which is reported to have stopped trading this week.
Customers have been trying to contact Carol Peters Travel, which has a depot in Manston and offices in Westgate, but phone calls, emails and messages have gone unanswered.
Yesterday (January 18) customers were left disappointed after waiting for a coach that did not arrive for a pre-booked trip to the London model engineering exhibition.
The daughter of one of those customers, a 76-year-old woman, said she was ‘disgusted’ that there had been no warning and there was no answer when they called the emergency phone number for the firm.
‘Waiting in the cold’
She said: “My mum spoke to them and they confirmed the day before (Friday) that the coach would be there. If they had gone bust the previous day that’s just disgusting.
“I’m not worried so much about the £22 ticket money, it’s the principle. To have elderly people waiting out in the cold for a prebooked coach trip and then not answering the emergency phone is absolutely disgusting.
“They may well be upset that their company has folded, but as much as they will need time to overcome that fact, their duty of care should be to their customers. A simple apology and then ask for privacy would be fine.
“It seems as though they don’t care and have no shame. They have smeared their own name and have ruined years of what I’m sure was a perfectly adequate business. People are angry.”.
Coaches for the firm were moved from the Manston site on Friday. However, the website is still operational, although it is understood directors of the firm may not now have access to close the site down. It has been said that refunds will be made for bookings taken online.
The emergency phone number is said to belong to a driver who is one of those who have now lost their jobs.
Customer Horace Hotman, who regularly organises trips through the firm, said directors had tried to save the firm.
He said: “They had no warning. The emergency number is not operational as that person is also out of a job. There isn’t any excuse for not informing people that their trip wasn’t happening but it all happened suddenly.
“Everybody at Carol Peters Travel are very sorry for what has happened and they did all they could to stop the situation that occurred but couldn’t save the company. I have spoken to people at CPT and I always used their coaches and I have now also got to find vehicles for at least 15 trips this coming year.
“I am reliably informed that anyone who still books online (as they can’t shut down the site) will be refunded.”
The family run business had operated in Thanet for some 20 years.
Those who have booked via paypal, credit card or bank transfer may be able to obtain a refund by contacting their provider.
UPDATE: A statement from Carol Peters Travel has been promised imminently. Director Peter Howe said he had been working until the last second to save the company and believed all customers had been notified. He said all efforts will be taken to issue refunds.