Commissioner's Blog: Travelling in a post-pandemic world
As the world shakes off the shackles of COVID-19, many Western Australians are feeling more confident about jetting off or setting sail for a holiday.
We therefore want to remind travellers about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) if something goes wrong with a travel product or service.
Beyond what is outlined in the terms and conditions, the travel provider is bound by the ACL to deliver a cruise, flight, tour or accommodation that meets the description or advertisement.
This issue was recently highlighted when Perth cruise passengers were told shortly before departure their ship was no longer heading into open waters and would instead remain docked in WA for maintenance. Following media coverage on the issue that included commentary by Consumer Protection, our understanding is the maintenance was subsequently cancelled and the cruise proceeded as originally planned.
In addition to delivering on what was promised, travel services must also be provided with due care and skill, fit for any specified purpose and occur within a reasonable period of time (if no time was set when booking).
When one of these consumer guarantees is not met, the appropriate remedy will depend on how major the problem is. If you wouldn’t have paid for the service had you known about the problem, it’s considered a major failure and means you get to choose the remedy, which could include a refund, compensation or new booking. For minor failures that can be resolved, the travel provider can choose to fix the issue or provide a replacement service in a reasonable time.
Remember, that while the ACL protects you within Australia, accommodation or travel booked with overseas companies may mean your entitlements are dictated by the consumer regulations in that jurisdiction.
If things don’t go to plan, it’s best to try to resolve any issues with your travel provider directly. If you are unsuccessful, don’t forget that paying by credit card may allow you to get a chargeback through your bank if you do not receive what you pay for.
Should neither of those options prove successful, contact us for further advice on 1300 30 40 54 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is more information about your travel rights on our website at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au
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