THE collapse of a Sorrento holiday booking agency has left scores of potential renters and landlords out of pocket.
Dozens of scathing reviews on the Marshall’s Holiday Rentals’ website give some clues as to fate of missing deposits and dashed holiday plans.
The company’s office in Ocean Beach Road has been closed for months and the phone disconnected, but the company’s website still appears to be active. It is believed bookings have until recently been taken online.
The News was unable to contact the company’s principal, Faye Lorraine Marshall, despite repeated attempts.
Getaway Mornington Peninsula’s Harriett Fenney said the demise of Marshalls Holiday Rentals after 16 years in business was a “big surprise”.
“They were the longest running holiday rental company on the Mornington Peninsula and people are screaming,” she said.
“I’ve been trying to reach out to Faye to ask if she is OK. We are a very close-knit group on the peninsula and I want to see if she is alright.”
One ripped-off renter said on social media they had “reported Marshall’s Holiday Rentals to Consumer Affairs and their team is looking into it”.
It appears it’s not only renters who are unhappy. One landlord says she rented out her property at Easter and “never received any form of payment and is unsure whether we ever will”.
“I am now concerned about the future bookings that Marshalls have taken for our property as we are unable contact our future guests and warn them about this awful situation,” she said.
Industry newsletter Accomnews reports that the holiday rental agency “has collapsed owing some half a million dollars in unpaid bonds, deposits and rent to hundreds of clients”.
Over the years Marshall’s managed scores of holiday rental properties from the modest to the sublime, earning landlords up to $10,000 per week.
The Age newspaper reports that Marshall’s declared bankruptcy on 20 August “leaving property owners thousands of dollars out of pocket and customers with lost deposits scrambling to find alternative holiday accommodation over Christmas”.
The newspaper said Marshall’s sent customers emails on 26 September titled ‘Important News’. “It is with the deepest regret I advise that after 16 years in business Marshall’s Holiday Rentals has become insolvent. Business and personal bankruptcy has been declared,” the email said.
A spokesperson from Consumer Affairs said companies “must not accept payment for products or services if they do not intend to supply them, nor mislead or deceive consumers about their ability to supply a product or service”.
“If the product or service cannot be supplied, consumers may be entitled to a refund.”
Consumer Affairs urges consumers to be vigilant and read reviews and comments on travel websites and blogs to help avoid disappointment.