Go West With Mickey customers fear they've lost Disneyland holidays – here's how to try and reclaim your cash
Customers of a travel firm which sold trips to Disneyland Paris fear they've been left out of pocket – some to the tune of thousands of pounds – as the firm seems to have disappeared without trace.
Go West With Mickey, which described itself as an 'independent travel adviser', sold travel and accommodation packages for trips to the Disney resort.
The firm marketed the holidays via its Facebook page and website – both of which are now offline – and also had an Instagram page, which appears to still be running.
Families who booked their trips with Go West With Mickey have told MoneySavingExpert.com that they grew concerned after trying to get information from the firm about their bookings and received no response, in some cases since as far back as the beginning of September. One had previously been on two holidays booked via Go West With Mickey.
Some have reported contacting their hotels at the Disneyland Paris resort after seeing negative reviews, only to be told that there was no record of their booking.
Disneyland Paris told us Go West With Mickey is not an official commercial partner, and is an unauthorised reseller.
Eight major banks; Bank of Scotland, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander; have all confirmed to us that they've had enquiries or claims from customers who made payments to Go West With Mickey.
We have tried to contact Go West With Mickey via various phone numbers and email addresses with no luck. But if you've been left out of pocket, there are a number of steps you can try below, including claiming via your debit or credit card provider or from your bank.
See our Holiday Rights guide for more information.
Customers say they were offered trips to Disneyland Paris, which sometimes included Eurostar train travel and accommodation at the resort's hotels, often as time-limited 'special offers'. Go West With Mickey took payments by card and by bank transfer.
But customers have reported that they have struggled to contact the firm for the past few weeks, and are now fearing for their bookings.
A Disneyland Paris spokesperson said it had heard from guests and has launched an internal investigation.
A spokesperson said: "Go West With Mickey is not an official commercial partner of Disneyland Paris and the organisation does not meet our strict requirements to become an official travel provider. They are an unauthorised reseller."
A Eurostar spokesperson said it was liaising with Go West With Mickey customers to try and find their bookings. It said if a booking has been confirmed, customers will be able to travel as planned.
Nationwide, which runs the account that Go West With Mickey customers paid their bank transfer payments into, said: "We are aware of the reports around the issues with 'Go West With Mickey' and extend our sympathies to those affected." The spokesperson added that no customer refund claims decisions have been made yet, as chargeback and Section 75 regulations state that the 'merchant' (in this case Go West With Mickey) has to be given time to respond to any claims.
'We paid £3,000, we are absolutely devastated'
A MoneySaver alerted us to a Facebook group about Go West With Mickey, which has more than 5,000 members. We have spoken to some:
Neil Buchan, from Aberdeenshire, began to worry about the £1,280 holiday he was due to go on this month, after lodging enquiries about his booking with Go West With Mickey, but receiving no response.
He says he contacted Disneyland Paris directly and was told that the resort didn't have any bookings in his name. He has decided to rebook his trip.
- Nikki Whelan, from Kent, had been on two previous trips with Go West With Mickey, and in August had booked another trip. She has been unable to reach anyone at the firm for weeks.
She said: "I feel mortified, because when I find something I like I rave about it and shout about it, and this was one of them. So many of my friends have said they almost booked.
"I just feel so sad for the families that have spent £3,000 to take the kids for Christmas. My heart bleeds for those people."
- Julia Ferrell, from Berwick-upon-Tweed, booked her holiday through Go West With Mickey on 12 December last year. The trip, which was booked for this December, cost a total of £1,923. While Julia paid most of this on either debit or credit card, she paid £250 of the cost via a bank transfer following the firm's instructions.
When she contacted Disneyland Paris directly, she was told that there was no booking in her name. She added that Go West With Mickey had recently stopped responding to her emails and Facebook Messenger messages.
Before you try and claim, it's worth contacting the providers to check if your booking is going ahead.
If you do decide you need to claim, we've listed a number of options below which are worth a try – though there are no guarantees they will work. Try to include as much information and evidence as possible to support your claim, including contacting Disneyland Paris and Eurostar etc to check if they have any records of your trip.
Importantly, if you feel you're wrongly turned down, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The options you have to get your money back will depend on the payment method you used, but you will essentially need to contact your card provider or bank and claim via the schemes below:
- If you paid ANYTHING on credit card for a holiday costing £100+, you MAY have Section 75 protection. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card, the card company's equally liable if something goes wrong.
Technically for Section 75 to work, there must be a direct link between the debtor (that's you, the customer), the creditor (the credit card company) and the supplier. Booking via a travel agent can mean this relationship could be deemed to be broken, but it's not crystal clear, and the Financial Ombudsman Service told us it would come down to the exact nature of your contract with the travel agent.
So while there are no guarantees that this will work, it's worth trying to put in a claim, particularly as you can use Section 75 to reclaim the entire cost of your purchase even if you only paid for part of it on your credit card.
For more info on how this protection works, see our Section 75 guide.
- If you paid by debit card or if your booking cost less than £100 and you paid on credit card, you might be able to claim some money back from your card provider through the chargeback scheme instead.
Unlike Section 75, the chargeback scheme isn't a legal requirement, it's just a customer service promise. But crucially, in this case there doesn't need to be the direct link between the product paid for and the debt, as with Section 75 – though you'll only be able to claim back the money you paid on your card, not for the entire booking. See our Chargeback guide for full details.
- If you made a bank transfer on or after 28 May this year, you may be able to benefit from a voluntary code of conduct agreed by most banks. The voluntary code of practice for authorised push payments (APP) states that victims should be reimbursed unless they ignored their bank's warnings or were "grossly negligent" in transferring the money.
While this code is primarily aimed at scam victims, we've checked with the Payment Systems Regulator, which helped implement the code, and it said Go West With Mickey customers could try and use it to reclaim cash they paid via a bank transfer – though again, there are no guarantees this will work.
A list of banks that have signed up can be found here. For more information, see our MSE News story from earlier this year, which explains how the code works.
- If you made a bank transfer before 28 May this year, you can still try to get your money back, although you won't be able to use the voluntary code described above, rather you may need to rely on your bank offering a goodwill gesture. The banks we have spoken to have advised customers affected to get in touch with them.
Am I covered under package holiday protection?
Package holiday regulations should mean you get full financial protection when you book a package holiday, so you're entitled to a refund or to be brought home if the travel company organising your trip stops trading.
New rules brought in last year mean that some DIY package holidays, booked after 1 July 2018, also benefit from this protection. This means if you bought the different elements, such as a hotel and transport, separately via the same website, shop or call centre in the same transaction, you get the same protection as with a traditional package holiday.
Packages without flights are usually covered by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) or similar. In this case it appears Go West With Mickey did not offer flights, but in its communications with customers it said was not a member of ABTA. The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT) and Bonded Coach Holidays (BCH) have also confirmed it was not a member with them.
Under the Package Holiday Travel Regulations 2018, if the holiday firm is not a member of one of the above schemes, it must provide either insurance or a trust account to provide insolvency protection.
In its communications with its customers, Go West With Mickey said it had specialist insurance with a company called Towergate Insurance, but the firm says it has never provided this insurance.
A statement on the insurance firm's website reads: "We have been monitoring [Go West With Mickey's] activity, and despite a previous request to cease making representations to their customers that Towergate Insurance provided insurance covering holidays booked through them, we recently became aware that they were still issuing terms and conditions and invoices to customers which indicated that such cover was available."
We have been unable to contact Go West With Mickey to check if it had a trust account.
It therefore appears to be difficult at the moment to make a claim via the package holiday regulations. You can contact Trading Standards by calling Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.
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