The recent collapse of Parramatta-based firm Value World Travel, in which consumers appear to have been left out of pocket to the tune of about AUD 3 million, continues to create ripples.
One solution, protecting consumers from losses flowing from such collapses, is for companies to put in place end-supplier failure and agency insolvency insurance policies.
The Independent Travel Group has launched such a policy under the ‘Book Safe Agent’ banner. All italktravel franchise stores will qualify automatically. ITG members will either have to be ATAS accredited or provide audited financials to ITG. Coverage would normally cost AUD 4200 a year but it will be subsidised by the Express Travel Group, reducing the annual fee to AUD 3600. The scheme is somewhat similar to TravelManagers’ “Peace of Mind” guarantee that covers all 480-plus of that company’s Personal Travel Managers (http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/peace-mind/)
In other developments:
- The founders of Value World Travel enjoyed a lavish lifestyle of parties and functions, Channel 7 News reported. It said Neni Tiwary and partner Gargi had established a reputation as “one of Sydney’s most glamorous Indian couples”.
“For his 33rd birthday in 2006, Neni was treated to the performances of a swathe of male and female dancers, and an Elvis impersonator to boot, in a lavish party in Parramatta,” Channel 7 said.
- SBS, Australia’s multicultural public broadcaster, spoke to Aditya Prasad, a victim of the Value World Travel fiasco, who planned to honeymoon in Spain and booked with Value World Travel, “however after inquiring about his tickets he found tickets had been cancelled and refunded without his authorisation”.
Prasad told SBS Hindi his investigations had revealed that Value World Travel had not been paying its travel consolidator, CVFR. It appears that CVFR issued Value World Travel’s customers’ tickets. As a consolidator, CVFR had no direct involvement with Value World Travel’s customers. CVFR apparently cancelled Value World Travel’s client’s tickets when outstanding invoices were not paid. CVFR’s website bears both AFTA and ATAS logos. Value World Travel was not ATAS accredited.
- AFTA has launched a new 15-second television commercial promoting the benefits for consumers of booking through an agent. The commercial aired on Channel 9 yesterday (Sunday 15 November 2015) and will run for three weeks during key Channel 9 programs. These include TODAY, Mornings, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Nine News Now and Afternoon News. AFTA says the commercial will reach more than 4 million consumers.
Written by Peter Needham