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Online travel agency Bestjet goes into administration

December 20, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Australian online travel agency Bestjet was reported yesterday to have entered voluntary administration, raising the possibility that thousands of holidaymakers may be affected just before the Christmas-New Year holiday travel season.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) issued a statement yesterday afternoon saying it had learned of the collapse.

The online travel agency’s website and social media channels were not working yesterday and Pilot Chartered Accountants in Brisbane confirmed that Bestjet had entered voluntary administration.

A statement issued by AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury reminded readers that “AFTA fought vigorously over 18 months ago to ensure that BestJet.com was not a part of the ATAS accreditation scheme. Today, AFTA wishes to re-assure industry and Australian consumers that Bestjet.com was not ATAS accredited.”http://www.germany.travel/en/index.html

AFTA refused renewal of Bestjet’s ATAS accreditation in 2016. Bestjet applied to the Supreme Court of Queensland for an interlocutory injunction to restrain AFTA from acting upon or publishing the fact. The two parties later resolved their dispute “with terms of the settlement to remain confidential”.

AFTA yesterday warned consumers “at this busy Christmas period to be very careful about booking with any travel intermediary (travel agent, wholesaler or tour operator) that is not accredited through the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS)”.

Speaking of the Bestjet administration, Westbury said: “It is with a heavy heart that, at this special time of year, consumers are facing such a difficult situation. We encourage consumers to reconfirm their travel bookings with airlines and if they need to make alternative arrangements to contact an ATAS accredited travel agent. A full list of professional, legitimate and trusted businesses can be located at www.ATAS.com.au.

“AFTA also advises consumers, that if you paid Bestjet.com by credit card to contact your bank and commence the process of a chargeback.

“AFTA wishes to advise that Bestjet.com was not ATAS accredited.”

That last fact is of great importance to AFTA, which has mounted a campaign to increase public awareness of its voluntary travel accreditation scheme ATAS.

Unlike the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) which preceded it, ATAS does not compensate consumers left out of pocket when travel companies go bust.

Two ATAS participants, Venture Far and Inca Tours, collapsed this year leaving customers stranded.

Written by Peter Needham

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