Buying travel online and scams

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From glossy brochures offering the chance to buy or even win amazing travel packages through to fake social media requests for help from friends and family, Western Australians receive their fair share of travel-related scams.

The travel page covers general protections consumers have under the Australian Consumer Law when buying travel. These rights may also apply when you buy from an overseas business, although you might find it difficult to get a refund or other solution if you don’t get what you paid for.

If you believe you have received something that may be a scam, check the Travel Scams page of WA ScamNet or send an email to our ScamNet staff.

Reduce the risk of being scammed

Consumers can reduce the risk of being scammed by:

  1. Booking through reputable sellers, including looking for an accredited business.

Ensure the seller includes their contact details, such as phone number and email address, on their website. Check the site offers basic secure payment features such as a padlock symbol and a website address starting with 'https://'.

Make sure the site displays clear processes for solving problems and giving replacements and refunds.

Does the site have a good reputation? Conduct an online search of their business name to read reviews, or get advice from family and friends.

Look for an agent who is accredited or has another stamp of approval, as these companies must meet professional standards and may have dispute resolution processes in place.

  1. Choosing their method of payment.

Firstly check the online payment system is secure.  If you pay with a credit or debit card, you may qualify for a chargeback from your bank if you don’t get what you paid for. You cannot get a chargeback if you paid with cash or eftpos (by selecting ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’). More information is available on our credit card chargeback page. 

Do not wire transfer or direct bank transfer as experience has shown travel businesses requesting payment in this way can be fraudulent and it is simply too risky.

  1. Taking out travel insurance.

Ask for a copy of the travel insurance policy in advance of purchase and read the fine print.  Be clear about what cover you have (e.g. agent insolvency, third party insolvency, cancellation claims, theft, medical emergencies etc.).

Remember your financial institution has insurance on credit card purchases, read the policy to determine what you are covered for and any restrictions on claims (e.g timeframes).


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