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Rugby World Cup: IOX Tour ditches all of its clients, due to a lack of certification!

The agency was selling tickets to games that it didn’t have


The travel agency specialized in trips around international sporting events, IOX Tour, sold trips to hundreds of clients for the rugby World Cup, currently taking place in Great Britain. Packages that included tickets to attend some of the competition’s games. But IOX Tour was never certified to distribute these tickets. Now many clients are left with nothing.



Despite its probability of filing for bankruptcy, IOX Tour keeps on selling stays around major sporting events for the 2015/2016 season - Screenshot
Despite its probability of filing for bankruptcy, IOX Tour keeps on selling stays around major sporting events for the 2015/2016 season - Screenshot
It’s through a simple email that they got the bad news.

On September 9th, 2015, several dozens of IOX Tour’s clients were told, stunned, that they will not be able to attend the Rugby World Cup in Great Britain as planned, revealed the Midi Olympique in its September 14th and 21st issues.

Yet, they had purchased packaged stays with flights leaving from France, accommodation on location, guides from the travel agency’s staff, and seats to attend one or several games of the competition.

Except that the tour-operator was selling them tickets to the stadium for which it never had access.

Indeed, to sell these services, travel agencies and tour-operators have to be certified or certified by an approved subcontractor by the British company RTH (Rugby Travel and Hospitality) that acts on the behalf of the IRB (International Rugby Board).

But IOX Tour never had a certification or subcontract. “They thought they would get subcontracted but they never could,” confirms a specialist in the field.

The problem is that, in the meantime, the agency from Lyon sold packages with access to the rugby stadium to many people. According to Midi Olympique, 750 clients would have been affected.

A case referred to the DGCCRF

Amongst them, there is Xavier who turned to IOX Tour to organize a trip for 26 people.

The package sold included plane tickets from Nantes to London, 2 hotel nights in London, tickets for the France-Italy and New Zealand-Argentina matches, and a guide for all of the participants. The total price of the trip: €23,000.

The day he learns, upon reading his email, that the agency will not be able to provide him with the tickets for the games, Xavier is dumbfounded.

“Then, we tried to reach them. After insisting a lot, we got someone on the line who told us that they were only able to find 10 tickets to help us out,” he tells us. But 10 spots for a group of 26 people is clearly not enough.

Fortunately, one of the group’s member knows someone who lives in Lyon. He asked that person to head to the IOX Tour office to demand an explanation.

After waiting for several hours, he gets 26 spots just for France’s game: 18 immediately and 8 more to retrieve at the stadium.

The group of 26 people from Nantes filed requests for refund to the travel agency for the services not provided. It also built a case and referred it to the DGCCRF.

A deceptive business practice?

Indeed, the sale of stays that include tickets to the games of the Rugby World Cup 2015 by IOX Tour can be akin to deceptive business practice.

“IOX Tour did not leave room for doubt. There was nothing that could have made us believe, when we bought the trip, that the agency would not be able to provide the tickets to the games,” ensures Xavier.

Indeed, in a sales contract that we managed to look over, the tickets for the rugby games are clearly mentioned and included in the final price clients are asked to pay.

The contract also charges for the services of a guide provided by the staff of IOX Tour during the trip. Yet, this service had also been cancelled.

This is what was announced to Sarah who had purchased a deal offered by the specialized travel agency to gift it to her husband. They were supposed to go to Cardiff to watch the France-Ireland game on October 11th, 2015.

“IOX Tour told us that they did not have the tickets to the game and that we wouldn’t be getting a guide once on location. They explained that this was due problems inside the company,” remembers Sarah.

But after getting angry she managed to speak with Jérémy Grossart, Director of IOX Tour. He ends up telling her that the company is filing for bankruptcy.

“He told me that he lost everything, adds Sarah. But he cashed our advance payments and we do not know where our money went.” Because she also found out that if she still wants to head to Cardiff on October 11th, then she’ll have to repay for accommodation in a hostel.

An embarrassing affair for the FFR

For now, IOX Tour (member of the APST), has not filed for bankruptcy. According to Midi Olympique, it should do so on Friday October 25th, 2015.

A source close to the case confirms that the agency is currently going through financial difficulties and the chances of failure should not be excluded.

Which doesn’t keep IOX Tour from continuing to offer stays for the Six Nations Tournament 2016 on its website. A competition that will begin on February 2016.

Contacted by TourMaG.com, Jérémy Grossart, the Director of IOX Tour refuses to comment: “We are currently dealing with this issue. I will not comment right now.”

But he needs to offer an explanation, at least to the French Rugby Federation (FFR). Indeed, this affair is quite embarrassing to the federation because, as described by Midi Olympique, it was hoping to make IOX Tour its official tour-operator for the 2015/2016 season.

The agency from Lyon was FFR’s winning bidder to be the official technical and logistical organizer for the trips of the French team, FFR’s directors and guests, in France and abroad.

A decision that was meant to become official in the next few weeks. Now, we'll certainly have to wait a bit longer.

Written by Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher the 24/09/2015
Read 648 times

Tags : IOX Tours, rugby

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