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.
- 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.