Bradford’s Gain Travel bosses disqualified for 21 years

Gail Bottomley and her son Darren Bottomley, directors of Bradford-based Gain Travel Experience, have been disqualified from managing or controlling a limited company for 11 years and 10 years respectively. .

It follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service which found they failed to protect 220,000 of customer money paid up-front for holidays and travel.

Gain Travel Experience began in the 1980s as a coach tour operator with a high proportion of repeat customers.

As a tour operator offering holidays that included overnight stays, the company was bound by The Package Tour Regulations 1992, which are meant to protect customers by ensuring money paid for deposits and holidays are held in secure accounts.

The Bottomleys were aware of these regulations but from at least September 2011 failed to protect advance payments by securing them in this way, the Insolvency Service said.

The investigation found that when the firm went into liquidation in June 2012, there were 653 customers who had paid up-front and lost a total of almost 220,000, the majority of whom were pensioners. Customers also lost out as the firm, having had its credit/debit card facility withdrawn in 2011, had asked customers to pay by cheque or in cash.

Insolvency Service Head of Insolvent Investigations North Robert Clarke says: “When directors do not comply with legislation that is designed to protect customers, and avoidable losses result, the Insolvency Service will fully investigate.”