USIT says that refunds may be available to students

KPMG Liquidators have been appointed to the student travel company USIT, however the company’s website says that refunds could still be possible through the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR).

The website instructs students with a travel package booked to avail of a consumer protection scheme from CAR as soon as possible or to contact their credit card companies, in order to make a refund claim. However liquidators do not guarantee that all claims will be successful.

The owners of USIT, Kinley Group, had previously announced that “as a result of the Covid-19 situation and having explored all other possible alternatives, it has had no option but to apply to the court to have a provisional liquidator appointed to these businesses.”

Union of Student’s in Ireland (USI) have also issued a statement, saying that students who have made plans through USIT should contact the company’s liquidators or contact FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres).

Journalist Ellen Fitzpatrick planned to avail of USIT’s graduate Visa programme to travel to New York with friends, however they are yet to hear any additional details about the trip.

“We still haven’t heard about what this means for our bookings, refunds, anything. I’ve invested the guts of €3,000 into this and more than likely won’t be going, but USIT are yet to tell anyone even the slightest detail other than what they post on social media.”

In their statement, USIT said: “The outcome for customers who have booked with USIT is uncertain but management will provide as much support as possible to help customers assess their options.”

TUD graduate Aaron Toohey has also been largely left in the dark on information about his travels.

“My plan was to go to New York this summer to get an internship. I paid a total of €1,800. I was informed that if for any reason my interview did not go my way and I was refused at the interview process, I would get a full refund.”

Toohey has since gotten a reply from KPMG, saying that they are “looking into possible ways to rectify my issue”.

Fully-booked summer programmes with USIT are also complicated by the Covid-19 crisis although they haven’t been officially cancelled. The US Embassy in Dublin is closed and no longer processing visa paperwork, as well as travel restrictions set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Dara Browne

Image Credit: USIT