Crown Currency Exchange collapses
- 4 October 2010
- From the section Business
Thousands of people face uncertainty over travel money after an exchange firm went into administration.
Crown Currency Exchange, one of the UK's biggest foreign exchange websites, has collapsed - blaming the downturn in the travel market.
Administrators MCR said that an estimated 13,000 consumers would be directly affected.
These people should not expect an early resolution in the case and a quick return of money, administrators said.
The business, based in Hayle in Cornwall, was established by husband and wife Peter and Susan Benstead five years ago.
It allowed individuals and business customers to pre-order foreign exchange at a set price up to a year in advance, with amounts of between £300 and £10,000 available.
But its bank accounts were frozen by Barclays at the weekend, barring it from withdrawing or transmitting any money to customers.
And administrators from MCR and SPW were appointed on Monday.
They said the business had processed hundreds of millions of pounds worth of foreign currency in the last five years, providing travel money in 80 different currencies, as well as travellers' cheques and money transfers.
"Like many operators in the travel sector, it has experienced a difficult trading environment during the course of the past 12 months which has been exacerbated by a further downturn and general tightening of the travel market," said administrator Paul Clark, of MCR.
The administrators are contacting all those affected to advise them on their individual situation, but these people could also contact the company.
"I have no doubt that they will be understandably concerned about their own position and we recommend that they contact the company directly," Mr Clark said.
"We fully appreciate the difficult position in which many will now find themselves in - many in the build-up to holidays or business trips, as well as money transfers associated with second home purchases. However the administration process is in its early days and we cannot guarantee an early resolution for those looking for a quick return of their money."
Andrew Parsons, from Bedworth near Coventry, was due to receive £1,500 from Crown Currency Exchange on Friday, which was supposed to be spending money for a surprise family trip to Florida.
He said he had been saving up for 14 months.
"When the money did not arrive it left me feeling sick. I was on the verge of crying at work and physically shaking," he said.
Mr Parsons, who is due to fly to Florida in a few days, has been left trying to borrow money from his friends and family to replace the lost currency.
He said he and his family had made sacrifices to be able to fund the trip and he now felt like he had been "robbed".