A New Zealand travel agency was using customer’s deposits to pay off debts totalling more than AU$350,000, liquidators have revealed.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the Auckland business owed more than NZ$370,000, and its misuse of client payments have left many kiwis out of pocket, with some owed nearly $10,000.
Owned by Shareen Ramasre, Guru Travel went into liquidation late last year, and in the liquidator’s first report, “a number” of people were found to have paid deposits or the full amount for travel but not issued tickets or vouchers.
Instead, their money was used to pay Guru Travel’s debts.
"The liquidators find this to be irregular and will continue to investigate that matter, with a view to consider seeking to void transactions paid to the ticketing consolidator/wholesaler," the report said.
An ongoing probe into the company’s actions seeks to find out if the defunct business was still operating while insolvent, but the report said the agency had been experiencing cash flow difficulties for some months.
Among the people who contacted the Herald about their woes was teacher Bindu Benjamin, who booked return flights to India for her family for about $4,500, and then had to spend almost $15,000 in legal fees in following up their case.
"It was really hard-earned money," Benjamin said.
"It's a lot of money, you don't just have that kind of money lying around. We had to get a loan, then pay the interest on that loan."
Another woman left in the lurch spent $12,900 on seven flights for her family.
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