Students not guaranteed a refund after USIT travel group goes into liquidation

Roisin Phelan

Travel agency USIT’s liquidation has left thousands of Irish students at a financial loss.

USIT announced its liquidation last Friday March 27th however students who registered for J1’s with the company have yet to receive any communication about refunds.

Some students have already paid the company upwards of €1000.

According to students who spoke to The College View, the only information they have received has been from the news or the company’s only statement. For many students the first they heard of the liquidation was via a post on the company’s Instagram page.

DCU student Gavin Flanagan booked a J1 through USIT and said, “since they went into liquidation, they haven’t emailed us or anything.”

The last time Flanagan heard from the company was an email from the day before its liquidation asking him to pay the balance of his J1; €1,400

“When the coronavirus started, the whole time they were like the J1 is going ahead you need to pay your money…they guaranteed it would go ahead.”

“They obviously knew it wasn’t going ahead,” said Flanagan.

USIT’s online statement on the matter said customers who “booked a J1, Camp or Coach Soccer programme with USIT please complete CAR’s USIT claim form with proof of your flight booking to apply for a refund on what you have paid to date.” It states that refunds will not be offered for individuals who have a valid flight booking.

DIT student Lorna Molloy booked a J1 through USIT and although she plans to fill out this form, she says “they haven’t contacted me at all, all I know is the statement they’ve posted but I printed off these forms to claim a refund on it but apparently its [a refund] still not guaranteed.”

One student who asked to remain anonymous explained that the claim form is difficult to fill out as some of the information and documentation required has to first be obtained from USIT.

“The claim thing is really complicated, personally I think they are making it this way so that people won’t bother trying to get their money back, but for me paying the full amount I would like to at least get some of it back,” he said.

In an update online, USIT management said they expect to be able to contact customers early next week with further clarification and thanked customers for their patience and understanding.

Roisin Phelan

Image Credit: BBC