Hi, this is Jim, thank you for the question - I will do my best to resolve this quickly for you.
Sorry to hear of the issue. If you booked by credit card then you can make a claim - you can contact the card provider and ask for a refund under S.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 - as they are jointly liable if you do not get the service you paid for. You can claim a full refund even if you only paid for part of the trip with the credit card as long as £100 or more was spent.
If you did not book with a credit card (or you did and the card company refuses to reimburse) then you should consider a Small Claim, for breach of your consumer rights and breach of contract.
You should send the company a letter before action to demand a refund within 14 days, failing which you will issue court proceedings.
The attached letter is generic and needs to be tailored (and quote the above breach). The letter should be sent by post and email. I presume the agency is based in the UK?.
Assuming they do not respond or they do and refuse to pay, you need to register at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site. Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.
You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment. The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim.
If you are on a low income or have low savings (or in receipt of benefits), you can ask the court for a fee remission so you do not have to pay the court issue fee.
If you are eligible, let me know as you cannot use the online money claims site – you have to use the paper method, which is an N1 claim form sent to the County Court Money Claims Centre (I have a copy, let me know if you would like one).
If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.
There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), application to wind up the company if £750 or more is owed (if suing a limited company), apply to summons them to court for questioning, all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.
You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation.
I hope this helps and answers the question which is easy to understand - please feel free to ask me anything else. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.
Thanks for using our services and have a good day,