Home » Business News »Headline News » Currently Reading:

NSW Fair Trading changes warning on travel bookings

September 9, 2015 Business News, Headline News 1 Comment Print Print Email Email

egtmedia59Following disquiet among travel agents over the issue, NSW Fair Trading yesterday made a small but important change to a media release it issued in August headed “Warning on Travel Bookings”.

News of the correction may take a while to filter out, however.

The release refers to a spate of travel agent collapses in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, which led the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner to issue  cautionary advice to consumers making travel arrangements.

The original media release read: “In these instances consumers who paid cash for travel services lost their money when the agent failed to pass funds on to suppliers or cancelled booked travel arrangements and kept the refunds.

“A number of these businesses specialised in providing travel services to particular community groups and none of the agents were members of an industry accreditation scheme.”http://www.aravelcounsellors.com.au/au/leisure

Several agents contacted Global Travel Media objecting to the section that we have italicised above.

That section was factually incorrect, they pointed out, as it had been widely reported in travel industry media that two of the collapsed agents, CTS Travel Services and Travel Rockhampton, were accredited under the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (ATAS) scheme.

The original release left the impression that membership of an industry accreditation scheme provides a level of booking security which it evidently doesn’t.

NSW Fair Trading has now acknowledged its earlier error. The new version of the release, issued yesterday, says: “A number of these businesses specialised in providing travel services to particular community groups and most of the agents were not members of an industry accreditation scheme.”

The release can be viewed here. https://www.finance.nsw.gov.au/about-us/media-releases/warning-travel-bookings

It will take a while, if ever, for other websites that carried the original release to make the correction.

NSW Seniors Card eNews, for instance, still had the original wording on its website this morning: http://enews.seniorscard.nsw.gov.au/link/id/zzzz55dd3ce2beb4d581/page.html#zzzz55dd307cee516260

Readers of the original wording might think that membership of an industry accreditation scheme is an ironclad guarantee that an agent is secure and their money is safe. As recent history shows, that assumption would be wrong.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. andris blums says:

    So when will all the state ,federal and territory ministers who have carriage of the issue and there ministerial and departmental staff step up to the plate and issue a press release along the lines that our statutory duties include identifying and rectifying /mitigating consumer detriment and based on the evidence of the recent travel agent financial collapses totaling one and a half million dollars so far , act decisively to re instate the Travel Compensation Fund

    To date the deafening silence from ministers and statutory office holders is overwhelming and can only be described as at best a failure to act on behalf of consumers as to do so would require a evidenced based basis for public policy , with the issue of consumer detriment to the fore

    Instead we have a policy which created consumer detriment were non existed before and instead of enhancing the travel agents reputation as a industry , the policy is creating irreparable damage to segments of the industry with no apparent benefit in terms of a more equitable market place based on robust competition

    In fact the policy is destroying industry competition as consumers flock to safe haven larger corporate travel agents . One wonders if this was a intended consequence .

    What is needed is the political courage to admit that the abolition of the TCF was a error and that it’s reinstatement in terms of evidentiary based public policy to mitigate consumer detriment in the market place is the right thing to do in this instance

    I am holding my breath as to date the response by Consumer Affairs Vic to myself has been , not in my backyard and it is not a issue as the issue was resolved by the abolition of the TCF

Comment on this Article:

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Platinium Partnership


Elite Partnership Sponsors


Premier Partnership Sponsors


Official Media Event Partner


Global Travel media endorses the following travel publication