Frustrated holidaymakers whose trips were cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic have sparked a surge con complaints against travel companies.
A fifth of the 109,466 complaints filed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission from January to October this year were about travel companies.
This added up to 24,200 complaints against firms like Flight Centre and Webjet – a 497 per cent, or six-fold, increase compared to the same 10 months in 2019.
109,466 complaints were filed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – 24,200 of which were related to the conduct of travel companies
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said the pandemic raised concerns over whether customers were entitled to a refund.
‘Common misconduct we’ve received complaints about during the pandemic includes businesses misleading consumers about their right to a refund, or deducting cancellation fees from refunds when there is no contractual basis to do so,’ she said in the latest ACCC report.
Virgin Australia and STA Travel customers also complained about cancelled flights and refunds after the companies went into administration.
Regular complaints to the ACCC included airlines and cruise companies not refunding travel or only providing credit, or charging a fee to do so.
Accommodation had similar issues, including domestic trips ruined by state border closures or lockdowns.
Gyms, fuel retailers and insurance companies also saw a big rise in complaints due to issues related to the pandemic.
Under Australian consumer law, customers aren’t automatically entitled to refunds if their plans are cancelled due to government restrictions.
Under Australian Consumer Law, Aussies aren’t automatically entitled to refunds if their plans are cancelled due to government restrictions
The ACCC said the terms and conditions of their contract would dictate whether of not consumers would get refunded.
‘The ACCC has had to step in and help consumers and businesses understand the legal ramifications of cancelled services,’ Ms Court said.
The watchdog was forced to set up a Covid-19 Taskforce mediate the problems between companies and consumers.
‘We decided early on that the best way we could help consumers was to educate businesses about their legal obligations and resolve issues quickly and efficiently, rather than taking court action,’ Ms Court said.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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