Thomas Cook’s Facebook page is filling up with comments from angry consumers vowing never to book with the travel agent again after the company received up to £3.5 million in insurance and legal compensation for costs associated with the death of two children at one of its resorts in Greece.
Thomas Cook’s compensation is 10 times the amount received in a court case by the Shepherd family, whose children Christianne and Robert, 7 and 6, were killed by a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty boiler at a Corfu hotel in 2006.
The company gave half of its legal compensation to charity, Thomas Cook said yesterday, after people became angry that the company had received more money from the case than the family had. There is some confusion as to exactly how much the company received in compensation, with some reports putting the amount at around £3.5 million. The company said it would donate the “full amount” of £1.5 million ($US2.3 million) to Unicef. The compensation came from the Louis Group in 2013 and 2014, which owned the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel where the two British children died.
Peter Fankhauser, group CEO of Thomas Cook, said, “Thomas Cook has not in any way profited from our claim against the hotel owner,” in response to anger from the parents of the dead children and their supporters.
“In late 2012, we brought a claim against the hotelier for breaching their contract to provide safe accommodation to our customers and to comply with all applicable laws, which was decided in our favour. Today I have made arrangements for the full amount — £1.5 million ($US2.3 million) — to be donated in full to Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation. I believe this is the right thing to do and I apologise to the family for all they have gone through.”
It took over a decade for the courts to come to the conclusion that their deaths were the result of an “unlawful killing”.
Last week, a jury found that Thomas Cook’s health and safety audit of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel was inadequate, and led to the travel company “breaching its duty of care” to its customers. However, the court accepted that Thomas Cook was misled by the hotel about the nature of its gas supply.
Thomas Cook released various statements outlining its apologies over the incident:
However, waves of customers are detailing how they will never go to Thomas Cook again after this case:
Furthermore, someone has set up a 38 Degrees petition form for people to sign, in order to boycott the travel company. The pledges to abandon the company are just as brutal as the Facebook comments.
Thomas Cook shares immediately fell by around 4% yesterday after the group unveiled its compensation donation. However, investors seem confident that the boycott threats won’t translate into real revenue drops as the stock is actually up by over 1%.