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Free Australian Consumer Law Travel and Accom guide

October 2, 2013 Headline News, Travel Law 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Australian federal, state and territory consumer protection agencies have published a new guide called ‘Travel and Accommodation: An industry guide to the Australian Consumer Law’. It can be downloaded free.

If your business markets, sells or takes bookings for holiday accommodation, airline or coach travel, tours and recreational activities, the guide is relevant. It covers key aspects of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) such as contract terms, deposits and refunds, focusing on issues where:

  • industry bodies have requested more detailed guidance for business; or
  • consumers frequently report problems to national, state and territory consumer protection agencies.

The guide aims to help travel and accommodation businesses clarify their rights and obligations EGT_Artical Banner A 250x250when problems arise.

Here’s an excerpt from the guide:

Major vs minor failures 

When a service fails to meet a consumer guarantee, your obligations depend on whether the failure is major or minor. 

A major failure with services is when: 

  • A reasonable consumer would not have acquired the services if they had known the nature and extent of the problem. For example, a reasonable consumer would not pay to stay in a holiday rental if they knew it was infested with mice.
  • The services are substantially unfit for their normal purpose and cannot easily be made fit, within a reasonable time. For example, a consumer books a holiday at a health resort where the staff are not qualified to provide the health services.
  • The consumer told the supplier they wanted the service for a specific purpose but the services, and any resulting product, do not achieve that purpose and cannot easily or within a reasonable time be made to achieve it. For example, a consumer books a premium air ticket with additional leg room, telling the airline they need room to stretch out an injured leg; but their seat does not allow them to do this.
  • The consumer told the supplier they wanted a specific result but the services, and any resulting product, do not achieve that result and cannot easily or within a reasonable time be made to achieve it. For example, a consumer books a shuttle bus service to the airport, specifying they want to arrive in time for a particular flight, but the bus is running late and the consumer misses their flight.
  • The supply of the services has created an unsafe situation. For example, a family with children books a holiday house where the balcony rails are too low to prevent children falling over. 

When there is a major failure, the consumer can: 

  • cancel the services and get a refund for any unconsumed services (for  example, the unused nights of a hotel stay),
  • or keep the contract and get compensation for the difference in value between the service delivered and what they paid for. 

The consumer gets to choose, not the supplier. 

The consumer may also seek compensation for any consequential or associated loss or damage resulting from the supplier’s failure to meet the consumer guarantees. The loss or damage must have been reasonably foreseeable and not caused by something outside human control, such as a cyclone.

To download a PDF copy of the new guide, click here:

While useful, it’s important to remember that the guide is not the same as legal advice, nor does it provide a definitive list of situations where the ACL applies.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Rob Golley says:

    Australian Consumer Law now required to protect accommodation operators from unscrupulous travellers.
    Australian federal, state and territory consumer protection agencies have as usual only half finished their job.
    We the accommodation operators now require protection and our rights clearly spelt out.
    When a guest books online for 2 persons, verifies that 2 persons have been booked and arrives with two people to check in and then puts upwards of 4 to 6 people in the room by concealing additional guests, we the proprietors need support to take these individual to task. Unless an accommodation operator is vigilant many of these incidents go unnoticed.
    In our small business we are vigilant and would often average several groups a week trying to sneak additional guests in. Indeed some are experts at this, not only hiding guests in their vehicles, but walking up to reception with vehicles parked down the road to driving up in a people mover with only two guests aboard and the remainder waiting down the street for the all clear. Of course may come in late well after sun set for obvious reasons. When questioned all is denied even in the face of absolute proof. These customers are stealing from our businesses and getting away with it on a wide scale. What we need is a detailed data base to name and shame these individuals and one that will allow all operators to access via name to check upon potential customers who the profile. And yes all accommodation operators do know the profile.
    Of course the guests gets the upper hand with follow up on social media web sites like Trip Advisor.
    Where then is our business protection against the well polished fraudulent visitor?

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