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 or costs involved if you have to change or cancel your booking.
  • 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.

Booking online

  • 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.
  • Many online booking systems operate as a booking agent - this means a change to your booking will need to go through them.
  • 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 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're 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 Jetstar, Qantas, Rex or Virgin Australia, contact the Airline Customer Advocate
  • Check your travel insurance policy to see what you're covered for.

There are some simple steps that you can take before lodging a formal complaint with CBS.

Contact CBS

Online: Contact CBS

Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 6 December 2022

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department
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