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Ireland shows way forward as TCF vanishes this week

August 29, 2016 Headline News 3 Comments Print Print Email Email

egtmedia59With the dormant Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) due to close down completely this Wednesday (31 August 2016) legislation in Ireland may indicate the ideal way forward.

When travel companies fail, Irish consumers are perhaps the world’s best protected. The enlightened situation there is something Australia’s State and Territory ministers responsible for consumer protection might well study and emulate.

In one recent case, the collapse of mass-market online tour organiser LowCostHolidays, many consumers in Britain were not covered because the collapsed company had transferred its headquarters out of Britain into Spanish jurisdiction. See: Massive collapse puts spotlight on consumer protection

Irish consumers, however, have found themselves in a much more fortunate position.

Despite LowCostHolidays being domiciled in Spain, sales in Ireland appear to be covered by Irish legislation which requires travel companies selling in Ireland to be licensed and bonded there. That means that more than 3000 Irish customers who booked flight-inclusive packages with LowCostHolidays are likely to get a full refund.

The deadline for registering is generous as well – two full months from the date of the collapse. Irish authorities have informed customers of LowCostHolidays Spain S.L. that they have until Monday 19 September 2016 to submit their claim form to Ireland’s Commission for Aviation Regulation.

Those filling out the travel/accommodation refund form must provide personal details, information on their itinerary, insurance and how they paid. They need to submit documentation, such as receipts, invoices, bank and credit card statements showing the original purchase.

There’s an expenses form, where consumers need to list any items they had to pay for out of pocket such as food, transport and accommodation.

Full details can be read on the commission’s website here.

The generous provisions under Irish legislation contrast starkly with the situation in Australia, where following the dissolution of the TCF, travel consumers in a similar position often stand to lose all their money without hope of compensation.

Travel agents in Ireland pay EUR 300 (AUD 444) a year to the Commission for Aviation Regulation for their compulsory licence and bond. Tour operators there can pay more, depending on turnover. In return for that, the public has peace of mind and the knowledge that if they deal through a travel agent, their money and their travel will be protected. For agents, that means goodwill.

 

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Peter Kelly says:

    The situation in Australia regarding traveller compensation is an absolute disgrace.

    AFTA (Australian Federation of Travel Agents) should be taken to task for leading the charge on the abandonment of the TCF and its inherent travel agent licensing and consumer protection. And they replaced it with a sham that provides nothing of any consequence at all.

    Only Barry Mayo who heads up one of the large travel companies in Australia and NZ spoke up. But he was howled down by others intent on saving the fees they had to pay to the TCF.

    I repeat. it is a disgrace and a con on the public at large.

  2. AgentGerko says:

    It all just sounds remarkably like the TCF. Shame on those who supported its demise. Shame on those who are taking money already paid by hard working agents and popping it into their general revenue, without a thought for the public. And shame on our supposed industry leaders who promoted a toothless tiger like ATAS. Where was the govt lobbying when it was actually needed?

  3. Future.Travel says:

    The corporate lobby worked… the companies paying the most into the TCF got it shut down. From a world leader in consumer protection for passengers, to a banana republic…

    No wonder that the economy in Australia is in peril. The same sort of ‘old boy’ tactics happen across the board. For the buying traveling public in Australia…sorry …. for future travel… you might look to purchasing online from Ireland. Or from a bonded insured company (like Future.Travel) which provides insurance options to cover the risk of company/tour operator failures. A low cost way to cover your travel investment. Ask your local agent if they can provide the insurance coverage to ensure your trip is secure… and buy it before you buy the tickets…

    This whole sad saga of the TCF reflects so much on the travel industry of Australia… people are making money on this disaster at the expense of local agents and the general public.

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