In the week before Easter, travellers are being reminded of the importance of booking carefully to avoid a holiday disaster.
In the last financial year, Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 2,100 complaints regarding travel and accommodation - most relating to refunds.
Following these simple steps when booking can help prevent your holiday from going off the rails:
- Carefully read the terms and conditions. Make sure you understand any cancellation or change fees
- Research the companies you are looking at booking with; find out what others are saying about them on business review sites and social media
- Book through secure websites and always keep any documentation and receipts
- Consider the way you pay. If you do not receive the goods or services you pay for, you may be able to get a chargeback if you paid with a credit card. Contact your bank for information about what services are available with your card
- You have the same consumer protections when booking online or in person, but you may find it harder to seek a remedy if something goes wrong with a purchase made from an overseas-based company
- Your consumer protections also apply if booking accommodation on sites such as Airbnb, and other share economy platforms.
Be particularly mindful if you are asked to pay the full amount for accommodation and travel months in advance. Payment options including third party escrow services such as PayPal can provide some protections if something goes wrong.
Trustworthy businesses should have good reviews, clear contact details and a dispute resolution process.
If you’re booking through an agent, check if they are accredited. To be accredited, agents need to adhere to certain standards and codes of conduct.
Strongly consider travel insurance, including purchasing extra coverage in case your travel agent or any service providers become insolvent.
For more information on your consumer rights and booking a holiday, view our Booking travel page.