Travel information and checklist
When you book travel, tours, tickets and accommodation in Western Australia, you have consumer rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). However if travel services are cancelled because of COVID-19, see the information below as the ACL is unlikely to apply.
Travel during COVID-19
Travel during COVID-19: Unpack the T&Cs
If you're considering booking travel, such as a flight, cruise, accommodation or holiday packages, in the medium to long term, Consumer Protection advises that you read the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of the potential booking very carefully. Some bookings are not flexible or refundable, which can cause problems for you down the track.
The ACL is unlikely to apply if travel services are cancelled because of COVID-19 and getting a refund, credit or date change will often depend on what you agree to in your T&Cs.
Travel during COVID-19
We know COVID-19 has been challenging for those in the travel industry. If cancellations occur, businesses are encouraged to work with their customers and to treat them fairly. For up to date information about entering WA from interstate or overseas, and for Western Australians leaving WA, please go to COVID-19 coronavirus: Travel to WA.
Know your legal obligations
- Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), you must not engage in conduct that is ‘misleading, deceptive, or unconscionable’.
- Never make false or misleading statements about the services you provide or mislead customers about your terms and conditions.
- Never change the terms of the contract or unfairly penalise a customer in the event of a cancellation.
- Your standard form contracts must not breach national unfair contract term laws.
If your business uses telemarketing to sell deals, be aware this may make them unsolicited consumer agreements (UCA) under the ACL. Ensure any telemarketing businesses you contract are aware of the law that applies to this type of selling.
Ensure your advertisements accurately represent what the consumer will get, especially with regard to accommodation.
You must provide proof of transaction if the consumer purchases goods or services worth $75 or more excluding GST.
It is good practice to ensure your staff are trained and understand their responsibilities under the ACL.
Terms and Conditions (T&Cs)
Ensure staff are trained to understand travel packages so that they can make sure the packages meet the needs of the traveller. Also, when selling packages (flights, accommodation, transfers, tours, car hire) ensure staff convey to the customer the T&Cs of each supplier/service provider as there may be differences between them.
Have a contingency plan if tours cannot proceed or supply of services cannot be completed due to factors such as lack of staff.
Before customers book, make sure they understand and are aware of key points about the T&Cs, especially the cancellation policy. This will help you later if there are cancellations or other changes.
The T&Cs should be clearly identified and should explain in simple language:
- The remedies available in the event of cancellations, and the terms surrounding each (for example, what impact of timing/short notice).
- If you use credit notes, make sure they are outlined clearly in the T&Cs.
- Whether the T&Cs exclude the liability of the travel provider.
- Whether the customer must pay cancellation fees, balloon payments or other similar payments.
- Any commissions or referral arrangements.
To minimise the risk of disputes, ensure you provide each customer written confirmation about the refund policy. Draw their attention to key points of the T&Cs, especially with regard to changing or cancelling a booking.
If there are cancellation fees, or other costs associated with cancelling, tell customers before they book. Inform the customer what is allowed under Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and advise them they have rights under the consumer guarantees of the ACL.
The ACCC has published guidance for the Travel Industry where services have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Note that under this advice, there should only be one cancellation fee per booking. Not a fee per passenger within the booking.
If you offer a consumer a credit note or voucher, please note it should have a long enough expiration date to allow them to use it given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
General travel tips for consumers
The following links provide important tips and information for visitors to Western Australia about:
Tours, travel and travel agents
Information about your shopping rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), including:
- gift shopping tips;
- music festivals and outdoor events;
- the Sharing Economy;
- ticket scalping and on-selling;
- returns and refunds; and
- shopping rights in other languages
When you buy products in Australia, you can expect these products to work properly and safely.
You can find product safety information about a range of products sold in Australia, including:
You may choose to rent accommodation during your visit to Western Australia, either for a short term break or a longer term working holiday.
The following pages provide advice and tips on keeping you and your family safe when you rent accommodation:
Renting a hire car
Buying a car
- buying a vehicle;
- buyer's checklist;
- who to buy a car from;
- sales contracts and cooling off periods;
- vehicle warranty;
- motor vehicle insurance and licensing;
- vehicle scams; and
- PPSR check - When you buy a second-hand vehicle privately there is a risk that there could be money owing on it. As the new owner you could become liable for this debt. The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is a service that can tell you whether or not a vehicle is recorded as "encumbered"meaning there could be money owing on the vehicle or that the seller may not own the vehicle outright. It is advisable to do a PPSR check.
Pre-booking travel checklist
This pre-booking travel checklist provides a few tips you should consider before purchasing travel, accommodation, tourist attractions and travel insurance:
- Am I dealing with a reputable travel agent?
- Am I using a secured payment site?
- Are there any extra charges for tours, tickets, meals, local charges or accommodation?
- Are there any safety alerts (DFAT) for my destination?
- Does the accommodation have all the facilities I want?
- Is the accommodation conveniently located?
- Will transport and tourist attractions be open?
- Do I need travel insurance?
- What are the passport and visa requirements?
- Are there any vaccination or health requirements?
- If I postpone my trip, do I have to pay any additional costs?
- If I cancel my trip, am I entitled to a refund? (If so, what conditions, if any, apply?)
- Does the travel agent I'm dealing with have insolvency insurance or other safeguards in place to protect my funds?
- How do any Terms and Conditions applicable to my bookings affect my capacity to get a refund or a credit if there are cancellations, especially due COVID-19 or other delays?
For additional information on your consumer rights, contact Consumer Protection on:
- Phone: 1300 304 054
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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