TOM Manwaring, Interim Executive Chair, Australian Federation of Travel Agents
As the cases continue to climb in Sydney and with no end to that lockdown in sight, AFTA continues to fight for the support our members so desperately need and support.
This includes the ongoing and daily engagement on the finalisation of payments for Grants 1 and 2 and the push for wider, ongoing support including ideally something along the lines of JobKeeper. It also includes our shared direct and indirect advocacy alongside other peak industry bodies including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia.
JobKeeper is a neat, commonsense solution that helps meet the ongoing strain of those business costs that keep on rolling in. There aren’t too many other sectors out there like ours that would still qualify for JobKeeper 2.0 even if the turnover reduction threshold were 90% plus!
Consumers need us now more than ever to help and, to support them, we need wider and ongoing government support. We continue to work with the ACCC, and Consumer bodies to make sure that we play our part in consumer awareness of the travel payment eco-system and their rights.
The recent NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal Appeals decision in Kiss v Parsons which overturned a Tribunal decision that the agent refund the consumer following cancellation of air travel and holiday bookings due to COVID highlighted some important steps for travel agents.
Make sure you get and keep signed acceptance of your terms and conditions before payments are received. Make sure that your T&C’s include 1) that Rules and Restrictions apply; 2) that you as an agent are not liable for any loss or damage suffered in connection with the non-delivery of a travel product; or 3) that you are not liable for any breach of obligations by any third party travel provider. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of facing a Tribunal hearing, make sure you cite Kiss v Parsons if appropriate.
AFTA also continues to encourage suppliers to deal promptly with credits and refunds so as to reduce strain on agents and minimise the frustration at a consumer level.