/Travel agent scam allegations investigated by BBC

Travel agent scam allegations investigated by BBC

Published on Monday, September 30, 2019

A BBC investigation into an alleged scam by a London-based travel agent will be aired tonight.

Inside Out South on BBC One is due to be shown at 7:30pm this evening and then on iPlayer.

It comes after complaints from holidaymakers who believe they have been scammed by a Hayley King’s London-based Around the World Travel business.

The BBC said it has spoken to 32 people from Hampshire, Dorset, Berkshire, Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire, Surrey, East and West Sussex, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire and London who claimed to have had their holiday plans ruined, losing an average of about £3,000 each.

They claim they have turned up at hotels to find their rooms had not been booked.

The BBC said Ms King was understood to be abroad and could not be reached for comment.

King became an independent travel agent five years ago and clients initially reported enjoying discounted prices for flights and hotels.

But BBC analysis of the business model suggested King was using a pyramid-style selling scheme to book holidays for her customers.

Those who booked early got prices lower than the market rate but as word of the offers spread, dozens of newer customers who thought they were getting discounted deals were actually paying for other people’s flights and hotels.

The agency collapsed in April and customers have been unable to contact King.

Some have reported the alleged fraud to the Metropolitan Police.

In a statement, the Met told the BBC: “Detectives from the Met’s Economic Crime Unit are investigating an allegation of fraud relating to an individual taking payment for travel bookings which fail to materialise.”

No arrests have been made.

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