Personal finance

Thomas Cook: What do customers need to know?

Thomas Cook
PA Media

If you are on a package holiday you are covered by the Air Travel Organiser's Licence scheme (ATOL).

The scheme will pay for your accommodation abroad, although you may have to move to different hotel or apartment.

ATOL will also pay to have you brought home if the airline is no longer operating.

If you have holiday booked in the future you will also be refunded by the scheme.

If you have booked a flight-only deal you will need to apply to your travel insurance company or credit card and debit card provider to seek a refund.

When Monarch Airlines collapsed in 2017, the government organised to bring home all the stranded passengers, whether they were covered by ATOL or not.

New industry code for bailiffs

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

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Bailiffs in England and Wales are facing independent oversight as a new code of practice is launched by their trade body.

Members of the Civil Enforcement Association, which represents 90% of bailiffs, have signed up to the code which makes the use of body-worn cameras mandatory.

All firms will be judged against the new code by a panel of experts appointed by the association, but independent of it. Those checks will take place over the next 12 months.

Anyone who has a complaint against a bailiff collecting on behalf of a council, and feel the problem has not been dealt with by the company, can go to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for an adjudication.

Bailiffs' operations and oversight have come under criticism and scrutiny from charities and MPs in recent years.

Pawnbroker owner says losses expected to increase

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The BBC has been reporting about the closure of pawnbroker A&B Pawnbrokers (Albemarle & Bond) and Herbert Brown and the concern this is causing customers.

Owner Speedloan Finance has told the BBC all its 116 stores had been closed because of "significant losses".

The firm has said it was "exploring options available to it".

The Guardian has a statement from its Tokyo-based parent company Daikokuya Holdings: “Since acquiring Speedloan Finance in October 2014, the company [Daikokuya Holdings] has been working to improve its management.

“However, despite the implementation of various measures to improve management such as moving the head office, flattening the organisation, and reducing the number of employees, the net profit for the year ended 31 March 2019 was a deficit of £7m.

“Moreover given the increased likelihood that the UK will leave the EU, losses are expected to increase, so we have decided to withdraw from the UK business.”

Daikokuya does not appear to have published the statement in English, the paper said.

Smart meter

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Smart meters were supposed to make our lives easier. and cheaper, but their introduction has been controversial.

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