Travel Information

Flight Centre – Australasia – Warning


JUNE 2016:



OVERVIEW:

I occasionally publish contributions from 3rd Parties on my website when I feel that their contribution may be of interest to my readers.

Disclaimer:

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of such contributions; you need to do that for yourselves.


BACKDROP:

I met Roger, the Contributor in Bali in 2015.


THE WARNING:

“I thought I’d alert you to a dodgy travel deal which may need a bit more research. It involves Flight Centre and in essence may make a ‘take care’ story for your blog.”

“A couple of friends booked a holiday from Perth to Bali for July.”

“They were, on the face of it, happy with the booking process and went home somewhat excited and thought they’d look at the accomodation again. They’d asked for boutique hotels in three locations.”

“When checking the Trip Adviser site they discovered an inordinate number of complaints about the first hotel, Seminyak Paradiso. Every complaint under the sun from bed bugs to bad service, smelly toilets etc. The ‘Terrible’ comments were running neck and neck with ‘Excellent’. The excellent seemed to emanate from the people who were on the top floor which had been renovated.”

“My friends decided to change that hotel so went to FC. The booking was cancelled and then they were told there could be no refund on that hotel as the wholesaler had already been paid.”

“Cutting a long story short I stepped in and heavied the sales rep and they got a full refund on the hotel plus the offer of a 200 voucher on any future booking. I’m cutting a very long story short.”

“However, here’s the rub.”

“Flight Centre deal with several ‘wholesalers’ who they appear to pay immediately. In this case the wholesaler was Infinity Travel. That is against the terms of the contract which states the payments will only be made when the service has been delivered.”

“It transpires that Infinity is a wholly owned subsidiary of FC! Not really much wrong with that – it may simply be a tax scam.”

“But when looking at the Terms and Conditions of FS there’s a very dodgy clause. See below. Simply put this means that your money is not held in trust (as it should be) but can be paid to any one of FC subsidiaries or other accounts. Thus in the event of FC going guts up (which is looking increasingly likely with their market share and share prices dropping)they will have a lot of money safely tucked away and customers will bomb out. There are many cases of travel companies folding, leaving customers stranded o’seas or with no holiday and no redress. I think in the UK legislation is such that money has to be held in trust accounts.”

“I did another bit of research. The two ladies in question paid, in round figures, $1400 each. Had they booked everything online themselves they would, without much effort, have saved between $700 & $900.”

“I was able to swing a refund, after the usual threats of going to the travel ombudsman, because it was clear they had broken there contract by not providing the ‘due care and skill’and guarantee. This is a real case of buyer beware. Read the small print but, better still, look online.”

“FC have 700 outlets in Oz and are also in NZ as well as other countries. The list of complaints about them in Oz is immeasurable.


FLIGHT CENTRE T&Cs (EXTRACT):

Booking Terms & Conditions

Please read the following terms and conditions carefully.  You must not make any booking unless you understand and agree with the following terms and conditions. References to “us”, “we” and/or “our” in these booking terms and conditions shall mean Flight Centre Travel Group Limited.  Where bookings of travel products are made on your behalf through Infinity Holidays, references to “us”, “we”, and/or “our” in these booking terms and conditions shall also mean and include Flight Centre Travel Group Limited trading as Infinity Holidays.

These terms and conditions apply to bookings you make with our consultants (in-store, over phone or by email) as well as online bookings you make on our website.

We will rely on the authority of the person making the booking to act on behalf of any other traveller on the booking and that person will bind all such travellers to these terms and conditions.

Passports & Visas:

Travel Insurance:

Travel Advice:

Health:

..

Prices:

All prices are subject to availability and can be withdrawn or varied without notice. The price is only guaranteed once paid for in full by you. Please note that prices quoted are subject to change. Price changes may occur by reason of matters outside our control which increase the cost of the product or service. Such factors include adverse currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, taxes and airfare increases. Please contact your consultant for up-to-date prices.

Online Booking Fees:

The following booking fees apply to online bookings only:

  • Online Domestic/Trans-Tasman/South West Pacific and Indonesia (Bali) flight bookings will incur a booking fee of $19.95 per booking.
  • Online International flight bookings will incur a booking fee of $39 per person in addition to the applicable credit card surcharge or PayPal fee.

The above booking fees are non-refundable for changes of mind or cancellations by you (subject to your rights under Australian Consumer Law).

Our Change and Cancellation Fees:

Subject to your refund and remedy rights under the Australian Consumer Law, the following change and cancellation fees apply to all bookings (including online bookings and bookings made with a consultant):

  • Changes to Domestic/Trans-Tasman bookings will incur a fee of $30 per passenger per booking in addition to supplier fees.
  • Cancellations to Domestic/Trans-Tasman bookings will incur a fee of $50 per passenger per booking in addition to supplier fees.
  • Changes to International bookings (excluding Trans-Tasman bookings) will incur a fee of $75 per passenger per booking in addition to supplier fees.
  • Cancellations to International bookings (excluding Trans-Tasman bookings) will incur a fee of $300 per passenger per booking in addition to supplier fees.
  • If you wish to change or cancel flights booked online and paid for using PayPal, you must contact our Online Customer Service Team on 1300 733 867. Any fees for such change or cancellation must be made via credit card and will attract the applicable credit card surcharge.

Supplier Change and Cancellation Fees:

Cancelled bookings may also incur supplier fees, which can be up to 100% of the cost of the booking, regardless of whether travel has commenced.  Supplier fees may also apply where a booking is changed and when tickets or documents are re-issued. Where we incur any liability for a supplier cancellation fee for any booking which you change or cancel, you agree to indemnify us for the amount of that fee.  Where you seek a refund for a cancelled booking for which payment has been made to the supplier, we will not provide a refund to you until we receive the funds from that supplier.

Deposit and Final Payment (Not applicable to online bookings, which must be paid in full at the time of booking):

You will be required to pay a deposit or deposits when booking. Your consultant will advise you of how much that will be. All deposits are non-refundable for changes of mind or cancellations by you (subject to your rights under the Australian Consumer Law).  Final payment is required no later than 6 weeks prior to departure unless otherwise stated. Some airfares or services must be paid in full at the time of booking.

Payments by Credit Card (Not applicable to online domestic bookings):

Credit card surcharges of 1.98% for Visa and MasterCard, 2.97% for American Express, and 3% for Diner’s Club will apply when paying by credit card. You authorise us to charge all fees incurred by you in relation to the services provided to the credit card designated by you.  If payment is not received from the card issuer or its agents for any reason, you agree to pay us all amounts due immediately on demand.

Payments via PayPal:

Payments by Cheque (Not applicable to online bookings):

Taxes:

Airline taxes are subject to change and are confirmed at the time your airline ticket is issued. There may also be a local tax charged at some airports.

Service guarantees:

Our booking and advisory services come with a guarantee that:

  • they will be provided with due care and skill;
  • they will be reasonably fit for the specified purpose;
  • they can reasonably be expected to achieve the desired result; and
  • they will be provided within a reasonable time.

If we fail to meet any of these guarantees, you have rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

Agency:

We act as an agent for, and sell various travel related products as agent on behalf of, numerous transport, accommodation and other service providers, such as airlines, coach, rail and cruise line operators, as well as all of our wholesalers. Any services we provide to you are collateral to that agency relationship. Our obligation to you is to (and you expressly authorise us to) make travel bookings on your behalf and to arrange relevant contracts between you and travel service providers. We exercise care in the selection of reputable service providers, but we are not ourselves a provider of travel services and have no control over, or liability for, the services provided by third parties.  All bookings are made on your behalf subject to the terms and conditions, including conditions of carriage and limitations of liability, imposed by these service providers.  We can provide you with copies of the relevant service provider terms and conditions on request.  Your legal rights in connection with the provision of travel services are against the specific provider and, except to the extent a problem is caused by fault on our part, are not against us.  Specifically, if for any reason (excluding fault on our part) any travel service provider is unable to provide the services for which you have contracted, your rights are against that provider and not against us.

Liability:

To the extent permitted by law, neither Flight Centre Travel Group Limited nor any of its related bodies corporate, directors, employees or agents accept any liability in contract, tort or otherwise for any injury, damage, loss (including consequential loss), delay, additional expense or inconvenience caused directly or indirectly by the acts, omissions or default, whether negligent or otherwise, of third party providers over whom we have no direct control, force majeure or any other event which is beyond our control or which is not preventable by reasonable diligence on our part.  Our liability will also be limited to the extent that any relevant international conventions, for example the Montreal Convention in respect of travel by air, the Athens Convention in respect of travel by sea, the Berne Convention in respect of travel by rail and the Paris Convention in respect of the provision of accommodation, limit the amount of compensation which can be claimed for death, injury, or delay to passengers and loss, damage and delay to luggage. Under circumstances where our liability cannot be excluded and where liability may be lawfully limited, such liability is limited to the remedies required of us under applicable law (including the Australian Consumer Law).  This liability clause is subject to your rights under the Australian Consumer Law and nothing in these terms and conditions is intended to limit any rights you may have under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

Special Requirements:

Please liaise with your consultant or, for online bookings, call 1300 733 867, regarding any special requirements you may have for your travel arrangements such as special meal and seating requests, room type or disabled access.

Frequent Flyer:

Travel Documents:

Schedule Changes:

Privacy Policy:

Pre-paid Currency Card

Monies Not Held On Trust:

All monies paid by you to us will be the property of Flight Centre Travel Group Limited and will be a debt due and payable to the travel service provider once the services to which the money relates have been provided (except for monies paid for flights with an IATA airline, which might be held on trust for that IATA airline). You agree and acknowledge that such monies will not be held by us on trust for and on behalf of you and we may hold such monies in any account as we see fit, including with our own and/or other customer monies.

Governing Law:

If any dispute arises between you and us, the laws of Australia will apply. You irrevocably and unconditionally submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Australia, and waive any right that you may have to object to an action being brought in those courts.

Acknowledgement:

You acknowledge that you are 18 years of age or older and that you understand and agree with the above Booking Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

These terms were last updated on 4 February 2016.


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