With borders beginning to reopen, South Australian consumers are being encouraged to take care when booking travel interstate and overseas.
Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said Consumer and Business Services was continuing to receive a significant number of calls from people who needed advice on disputes involving travel services.
“At the height of the pandemic, continued uncertainty around travel restrictions, border restrictions and other factors saw a number of South Australians forced to cancel their travel plans,” he said.
“In a number of cases, consumers felt they had little to no recourse when their plans were cancelled.
“Last year, Consumer and Business Services fielded more than 400 complaints about travel service providers – with more than half of those complaints involving travel agents.
“By way of comparison, we received 32 complaints in total the year before.
“This year, we’ve already received more than 150 complaints and we’re expecting that number to grow as border restrictions are relaxed around the country.”
Mr Soulio said it is important for people to look carefully at the terms and conditions for their travel arrangements in order to know what provisions may be in place if their travel plans are either cancelled or changed.
“In recent months, we’ve received a number of complaints from people who’ve had travel arrangements cancelled where the provider had blamed the cancellation on travel restrictions,” he said.
“But, on closer inspection, in some cases it appears that the business may have cancelled on grounds unrelated to border closures – such as the profitability of the arrangement.
“Ultimately, a business’s ability to do this will depend heavily on what is contained in the terms and conditions, but businesses should not falsely claim the cancellation is due to travel restrictions.“
For advice on your rights when dealing with travel agents or travel service providers, contact Consumer and Business Services on 131-882.