Welcome home! Furious holidaymakers are left stranded after returning to Britain to find airport parking firm had ceased trading and dumped hundreds of car keys in a holdall on information desk
- The keys were dumped at Bournemouth Airport after firm which ceased trading
- One family returned to find their keys were missing and they couldn’t get home
- Airport faced task of matching up keys with families returning from their holiday
- Were you one of the people affected? Email [email protected]
Distraught holidaymakers returned to the UK to find hundreds of car keys dumped at Bournemouth Airport by a parking firm as it ceased trading without warning.
Travel-weary families were bewildered when, after a long flight home, they were greeted by airport officials who said security staff would drive them to their cars.
An BOMO Parking Services employee turned up at the airport in Dorset and left the bag containing about 300 customers keys at an information desk.
He then fled the airport without saying a word to anyone, leaving tourists still in their holiday clothes with the difficult task of finding their keys. One woman forced to call a locksmith to get into her vehicle.
The company had assured its customers: ‘Don’t worry we’ll look after your motor while you’re away.’
But at least one group of friends discovered their keys had gone missing. Lisa Russell, from Southampton, returned from a holiday in Malaga with husband Michael and two friends early yesterday morning to find her key had vanished.
Lisa Russell (pictured, left) returned to find that there was no trace of her key at Bournemouth Airport
‘We have had no warning and no message from the company explaining what’s happened,’ she said. ‘We used them once before and had absolutely no problem and even when we were leaving they were very friendly – there was no worry about anything going wrong.
‘But to come back and find that your keys have been lost and you can’t get home is really upsetting.
‘It’s just such a shame that we’ve had a wonderful holiday and then this happens as soon as we come back.
‘The airport staff have been really helpful, it’s not their fault in the slightest that this has happened.’
The firm stopped trading without warning and dumped customers’ keys at the airport in a holdall
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A hold-all filled with 300 keys was plonked on the information desk by a man who ‘left immediately’ said the airport’s boss.
The airport faced the task of trying to match up the keys with families getting off flights and walking into the arrivals area. Sets belonging the people who are still away remain abandoned at the airport.
In a statement, BOMO Parking Service blamed the decision to fold the company on a ‘sustained attack’ on its business by a known individual which had a ‘catastrophic effect’.
The keys to 300 vehicles were dumped at the information desk by a man who hurried away, according to the airport boss
What to do if BOMO let YOU down this summer
Megan French, consumer expert at MoneySavingExpert.com, says tourists let down by BOMO Parking Services have the following options:
- If your parking cost more than £100 and you paid on a credit card – contact your provider and ask for a Section 75 claim to recover the cost
- If your parking cost less than £100, or you paid via a debit card, you could instead ask your provider to do a ‘chargeback’ claim to try and recoup your cost
- You can also register as a creditor with the company’s administrator, though there are no guarantees with this route
‘All vehicle keys have been hand delivered to Bournemouth Airport information desk for customers to collect on their return from holiday.
‘All future car park bookings have been cancelled with immediate effect. BOMO Parking Services has been the target of a sustained attack online and offline by a known individual, which has had a catastrophic effect on the trading position, causing closure.’
Last month several cars parked at the firm’s compound next door to the Adventure Wonderland theme park in Merritown Lane were targeted by vandals with damage cause estimated to be in the thousands of pounds.
The company’s director, John Smith, 50, said that he ‘feared’ for his employees’ safety after the attacks, in which two cars were damaged and two CCTV cameras destroyed.
Dorset Police confirmed today that it is still investigating the incident, thought to have occurred between 4.30pm and 10pm on May 26. No arrests have been made.
In yesterday’s chaos, Lee Skinley, who had returned from a holiday in Spain with his family. was taken to his car by a security employee at the airport.
Lisa Russell (pictured ) described the situation as ‘really upsetting’ after returning to the airport and finding she couldn’t get home
He said: ‘It’s shocking. We have had no information from BOMO and arrived back here to be told that they have stopped trading today.
‘We’ve still got to drive back to home Weymouth so having these issues causing more delays is very annoying.’
Anne Rafferty, who had gone on holiday in Spain, said: ‘This was the first time I’d flown from Bournemouth and everything went really smoothly going out.
‘Everyone we dealt with from the company was really friendly and helpful – we had no idea they were in any sort of trouble.’
Another tourist, Mike Shaw, said: ‘Thankfully the airport staff have been really great trying to sort out collecting our car and have been so helpful. No thanks to BOMO, who have really left us stranded.’
This notice greeted holidaymakers, who say they had no warning of the situation before they came back to England
In a bid to ease the chaos, the airport waived fees for using the drop-off car park.
The airport’s managing director, Paul Knight, said yesterday: ‘Earlier this morning a representative, purportedly from BOMO Parking Services, an independent business which provided off-site parking and is not related to the airport, deposited a hold-all at the airport information desk and left immediately.
‘The bag contained a large number of keys. Our staff are proactively assisting affected passengers by ferrying them from the airport to collect their cars from the site.
‘A number of passengers have already been assisted back to their cars this morning, with this number likely to increase significantly throughout the day and coming weeks.
‘Given the circumstances, we are waiving drop-off charges if they need to return to the airport to collect fellow passengers or visitors.
‘We have 2,300 secure car parking spaces at the airport, with CCTV and patrols, and can accommodate extra bookings from customers who may have booked with BOMO Parking Services over the summer.’
Messages have been posted around the airport with announcements to make people aware after the arrival of flights.
A spokesman for the airport added that the keys had now been sorted into arrival dates to ‘minimise disruption’.
The owner of the land on which BOMO Parking Services has been based insisted that customers of the firm will be able to access their vehicles.
The land off Merritown Lane is a part of Merritown Farm which is run by Russell Lucas-Rowe, the owner of Adventure Wonderland theme park.
In a statement he said the theme park was not connected to BOMO Parking Services, which had operated ‘entirely independently under a wholly different ownership’.
He added that his company would take all steps to ensure that people returning from flights whose cars have been parked on the site by BOMO would be able to access their vehicles.
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