Bailiffs sent in to collect unpaid CCJ
A customer of budget airline Wizz Air decided to send Bailiffs to Luton Airport to collect an unpaid CCJ. The money was owed to the customer for a cancelled flight.
Russell Quirk says his flight to Portugal was cancelled at the last minute by the airline, meaning he had to fork out £4,500 on new flights to the country – and this didn’t even account for the missed night’s hotel costs.
But after being left frustrated with how long he was left waiting for his compensation, he sent the debt collectors to Luton Airport to demand staff either cough up or hand over goods of the same value as the money he was owed.
The property expert, from Brentwood, Essex, had booked flights in January last year to Faro for a stay with his wife and three daughters in May.
But on the day of their holiday, the family were devastated to receive a message from Wizz Air saying the flight had been cancelled.
“There was no explanation, no alternative offered and no apology,” he told the BBC.
“I had to wake my three daughters and tell them we weren’t going on holiday – they were very upset.”
The family of five were eventually able to fly out the following day on another flight. The flights, along with the money lost on hotel rooms and other expenses, cost him £4,500 in total.
So as soon as the family returned home from their getaway, Quirk went about seeking compensation for the lost money.
He waited two months for the flight costs to be returned, but would wait even longer for the extra expenses lost out on. He said Wizz Air repeatedly ignored his claim for “consequential losses” – in other words, the £4,500 extra he had spent.
County Court judgment enforcement
Unwilling to be ignored, Quirk applied for county court judgement enforcement which prompted bailiffs to turn up at Wizz Air’s airport desk to demand they hand over the sum.
Staff were told to either hand over the money or equivalent on goods, and faced the prospect of having to hand over office chairs and computer equipment to pay the debt.
In the end, the company did pay him his money with additional costs associated with the bailiff visit likely having to be paid by Wizz Air.
Quirk said his actions showed that companies think they can “treat customers like dirt,” but that “if you persevere you can get what is owed to you.”
A Wizz Air spokesman told the BBC the airline had fallen short of expectations last year due to travel disruption across Europe.
“When things went wrong, we did not react quickly enough to manage the high volume of customer claims that resulted from this disruption.”
“We are sorry about this and we are working to ensure that our customers’ experience with Wizz is better this year.
“Since December, Wizz has paid all CCJs [county court judgements] where it received the judgment, and is continuing to work to settle all other outstanding claims as quickly as possible.”