Commissioner's Blog: Unpack the travel T&Cs
For the first time in a long time, our borders are open and many Western Australians will be looking forward to long-awaited trips or family reunions.
While we understand many consumers will be keen to make interstate or overseas travel plans, it is important to have realistic expectations given the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the cancellation of travel services is due to COVID-19 government restrictions, consumers may not automatically be entitled to the same remedy options as they would be in normal circumstances under the consumer guarantees of the Australian Consumer Law.
That’s why it is so important for consumers to make sure they read and understand the terms and conditions (T&Cs) for each part of their travel plans, so they are fully aware of their options if their journey is impacted by COVID-19 related issues such as border closures, restrictions or isolation requirements.
Given some bookings may not be flexible or refundable, understanding what the T&Cs actually mean before accepting them has never been more important.
Tips to ‘unpack the T&Cs’ so you can look before you book include:
- Understand the terms and conditions for each part of the trip (flights, accommodation, transfers, tours, car hire) especially in relation to COVID-19 cancellations or delays.
- Make sure you check and get written confirmation about the refund policy.
- Look for flexibility to make changes.
- Consider booking directly with accommodation providers or airlines if this provides more flexibility.
- Take out travel insurance, but be aware of coverage limitations, especially in relation to government bans.
- Stay informed about COVID-19 travel rules both at home and at holiday destinations, including any vaccine mandates, as these may be subject to sudden changes.
- Have reasonable expectations, travel and hospitality have changed because of the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and staffing.
More COVID-19 related travel information is on our Frequently Asked Question page at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/cpcovidfaq. Travel consumers experiencing issues with getting a remedy for a cancelled or postponed booking can lodge a complaint on our website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/how-lodge-formal-complaint
Executive Director for Consumer Protection
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