A COUNCIL has issued advice to travellers after hearing about the story of John and Elair Callaghan – who have “little or no likelihood” of getting their money back.

The High Wycombe couple spent years saving up for flights to visit Elair’s family in Jamaica this Christmas - but fear they have been "ripped off" by a travel company and the trip will now have to be cancelled.

They booked the trip online with a firm called Carlsberg Travel Ltd in the summer, but say no tickets have been issued and the company website has since been disabled (see related links).

Terry Carter, Trading Standards manager at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “I'm very sorry to hear that this resident has had such an unfortunate experience, and it's equally unfortunate that there is little or no likelihood of recompense.

“If there is any shadow of doubt about a travel sales company's credentials, consumers should look for claims of membership of ABTA , the Civil Aviation Authority ATOL scheme, or Air Transport Association (IATA) and then check out whether this is correct by contacting these bodies.”

He advised against dealing in cash with online companies that declined to take credit cards, adding: “Properly established companies are always likely to accept credit cards, and paying by this method gives you additional protection.

“Our best advice is if you've never dealt with an online company before, do your research - check them out.”

The Callaghans were sent an email by Carlsberg Travel Ltd saying they were booked on flights with British Airways, but the airline has confirmed it has no record of this booking.

A spokesman for BA said: “We're very sorry to hear about the awful situation Mrs Callaghan has found herself in.”

She advised customers to purchase tickets directly from British Airways, or through an ABTA registered travel agent.