Police have arrested the owner of a travel agency after a scandal in which travellers were left stranded after having paid for tickets.
Zeljka Loncar, the owner of Zym Travel in the western Adelaide suburb of Royal Park, has been bailed to appear in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court on 10 September 2015 on charges of dishonestly dealing with documents, the Adelaide Advertiser reported.
Over 20 customers have claimed Zym Travel cancelled their bookings but kept their money, to a total of about AUD 100,000.
A traveller who spoke to The Advertiser said she had spent AUD 4000 on tickets to fly to Europe with Emirates but the tickets had been cancelled, forcing her to spend another AUD 6000 on tickets at the last minute to salvage her holiday.
A spokesman for Consumer and Business Services South Australia told the paper it was working on the issue with Zym Travel’s liquidator.
The case has attracted attention as it follows a spate of sudden and unconnected travel agency closures with loss of consumer funds. Some have involved agents absconding.
“The incident is the latest in a string of complaints aimed at small travel agencies across the country,” the site Smart Company observed.
Smart Company, aimed at Australian entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers, noted that a Fremantle-based travel agency had come under scrutiny last month when its customers were left stranded in Eastern Europe after discovering their return flights had not been booked despite paying the travel agent in full.
In June customers of a travel agency in Colac, Victoria, had their holidays ruined after discovering their agent had disappeared without booking their flights, Smart Company reminded its readers.
The continued collapse of small travel agents, incurring consumer losses, is also raising questions within the industry. See: Three good questions after spate of agency collapses.
Written by Peter Needham