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Coronavirus: Travel agents accused of cheating customers over cancelled trips

The association said last week that people were legally entitled to a refund instead of a voucher for cancelled holidays

The Consumers’ Association on Monday called on people to claim back money from travel agents for cancelled trips even if they had previously accepted a voucher, citing opaque procedures.

The association said that on some occasions, customers given vouchers did not receive all the necessary information to help them make the right decision.

The association said last week that people were legally entitled to a refund instead of a voucher despite the recent law amendment allowing businesses to issue vouchers instead of cash refunds for cancelled bookings.

It also cited one travel agent who while prepared to return money is putting pressure on customers to accept 80per cent refund with promises to return the rest if and when his associates to whom he paid that money as down payment return it. The travel agent in question is refusing to give a voucher or credit for that remaining 20 per cent the association said.

It called on consumers who paid for an organised trip that was cancelled to send letters to the Travel Agents Association “to request and demand that their money be refunded by activating the guarantee of their travel organiser”.

The association urges consumers to indicate in their letter the full details of their contact, the amount paid, the contact details of the travel organiser and the details of their trip. It advises them to also send a copy of their letter to the Consumer Protection Service of the ministry of energy and industry and them as well.

The association said wide media coverage would also “put pressure on those responsible for investigating its allegations in depth because the whole issue approaching a scandal.”

It was referring to its earlier calls on the commerce ministry to investigate the fact that some travel agents had not adequately covered their insurance obligations.

The association and said last month that in the course of examining complaints over cancellations due to the coronavirus travel ban, it has emerged that some travel agents have not even adequately covered the guarantees necessary in the event of a bankruptcy.

This, the association said, was another issue that emerged “at the expense of consumers”.

 

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