Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead is encouraging anyone planning a holiday to take steps to protect their travel or accommodation booking.
Mr Bromhead said this reminder is part of the new, nationwide Pack Some Peace of Mind travel campaign supported by consumer protection agencies across the country, in light of recent updates to the licencing arrangements of travel agents.
“With the summer holidays coming up and people committing significant amounts of money towards trips, I want to remind people of the simple steps that they can take to protect what may be their largest purchase of the year,” Mr Bromhead said.
“As of the 1 July, travel agents in Australia are no longer required to hold a license or be members of the Travel Compensation Fund.
“Since most consumers purchase travel and accommodation online and through credit cards, the travel agent’s license and Travel Compensation Fund have become redundant with the protections under the Australian Consumer Law being far more relevant to travel purchases,” Mr Bromhead said.
Further to these protections, there are some basic steps consumers can take to protect their purchases.
“Look at reviews, get onto social media and ask friends for their recommendations. If you are booking with a travel agent, check that they are accredited under the Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS),” Mr Bromhead said.
“Any business you book with, either in person or online, should have clearly stated refund and complaint handling policies. Consumers can also protect themselves by choosing how they pay for their travel.
“You are entitled to your money back if you buy something that does not meet the consumer guarantees set in the Australian Consumer Law.
“If you don’t get what you paid for you should contact your credit card provider to arrange a chargeback. Chargebacks may be available on purchases made with credit cards or with Mastercard or Visa debit cards when ‘credit’ is selected.
“Always take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling, and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policies.’’
If in doubt, call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or visit the NSW Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
For more tips and information on how to ‘pack some peace of mind’ for your next holiday, visit the website www.packsomepeaceofmind.gov.au