Planning travel can be an exciting time but make sure you understand what you're getting and what you pay for.
Planning your travel
- Carefully read the terms and conditions before you book or pay any money. Understand your options if you have to change or cancel your booking, and the costs that may be involved.
- Consider the way you pay. If you don’t receive the goods or services you’ve paid for, you may be able to get a chargeback from your bank if you paid using a credit card or selected credit on your debit card. If you paid by PayPal you may be able to make use of its dispute resolution processes.
- Remember to take out travel insurance.
- Before booking, research the business. Check independent reviews on travel websites and blogs. Ask for recommendations from family and friends.
- Check that the website includes contact details (eg phone number and email address) and displays clear processes for resolving any problems.
- Make sure the booking and payment web page is secure. Look for a padlock symbol and check that the page address begins https:// - with an ‘s’ for secure.
- Keep copies of documentation and receipts.
Booking with an agent
- Choose an agent that advertises their services and deals clearly, listens to what you want, makes appropriate suggestions, and explains any terms and conditions.
- Ask your friends and family about agents they have used and if they’ve been happy with the service.
- Make sure the travel agent is accredited. The Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) members must meet a high standard of business discipline, training and a strict code of conduct.
- Check if the agent has insolvency insurance. This will help protect you if your agent stops operating and you haven’t received what you paid for
Your rights when you book a holiday
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protects you when you purchase travel:
- You get consumer guarantees, so you should get what you requested and paid for, otherwise, you may be entitled to a remedy such as a refund or replacement.
- The business must provide clear information, show the total cost and not hide costs or special conditions. Optional extras don't need to be included in the advertised price - eg luggage.
- If you are using sharing services such as Airbnb, your consumer rights still apply.
- Your rights may apply when you buy online from an overseas business, but it may be more difficult to resolve a problem.
Resolving a problem
- Try to resolve the problem with the business first.
- If you booked through an ATAS-accredited agent, they should have a dispute resolution procedure in place or you can contact ATAS directly.
- If you booked with a credit card or selected 'credit' on your debit card, contact your bank or credit card provider to apply for a chargeback.
- If the problem is with an airline contact the Airline Customer Advocate
- Check your travel insurance policy, to see what you are covered for.
There are some simple steps that you can take before lodging a formal complaint with CBS. Making a consumer complaint has advice and a checklist to guide you through resolving a problem with a travel service.
Contact Consumer and Business Services
91 Grenfell Street
GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001