Compare Holiday Money was inadvertently hit by problems when one of the foreign exchange companies it listed, Camden FX, took a number of customer payments, then disappeared without issuing any currency — defrauding 76 holiday-makers of £90,000.

The Compare Holiday Money team had been working hard to try to help affected holiday-makers and asked us for support when it discovered the situation — and its company — would be featured on the BBC’s Rip Off Britain consumer affairs TV programme.

What we did

We liaised with the BBC on behalf of Compare Holiday Money and advised the company on the best way to communicate as openly, honestly and clearly as possible about the situation.

We helped it explain how it lists but doesn’t endorse exchange suppliers, how shocked the management team was about what had happened and how it was doing all it could do press Camden FX to return people’s money. We highlighted that Compare Holiday Money, too, was owed money by Camden FX.

In addition to media handling, we monitored customer comments about the saga on social media and advised Compare Holiday Money on ways to make its approach to listing foreign exchange providers, and guidance on safe ways for people to pay for currency, as clear as possible on its website.

The results

The Rip Off Britain episode broadcast highlighted Compare Holiday Money’s role in the saga and featured interviews with angry customers. The programmed had tried and failed to track down the directors of Camden FX.

Ultimately, it presented a fair, balanced portrayal of the situation and gave decent air time to the comparison site company’s perspective, making clear that the company was not part of the fraud and so keeping its reputation intact.

Update: The perpetrator of the fraud, Wayne Watkins of Camden FX, was eventually sentenced to 28 months in jail for his crime.

See more on our crisis communications services.