Booking travel

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Booking online

When you book travel with an online provider:

  • research the business first. Read reviews and comments on travel websites and blogs
  • look for a business whose website displays clear processes for solving problems and giving replacements and refunds
  • check the browser bar on the payments page includes basic security features, such as a padlock symbol or address starting with 'https://'
  • if you can, pay by credit card, or by debit card using the 'credit' function. If you do not get what you paid for, you may be able to seek a chargeback from your bank. If you paid by PayPal and things go wrong, you may be able to make use of its dispute resolution processes
  • check that the business' website includes its contact details, such as a phone number and email address
  • carefully read terms and conditions, so you know your options if you have to change or cancel your booking
  • take out travel insurance
  • your Australian Consumer Law rights may also apply when you buy from an overseas online business, but you might find it difficult to get a refund or other solution if you do not get what you paid for.

Booking with an agent

When you book travel with an agent:

  • look for an agent who is accredited. The Australian Federation of Travel Agents' Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) provides accreditation for general travel agency services, while other bodies provide accreditation for specific areas of the industry (such as ticketing or particular types of travel). Accredited companies are required to meet certain professional standards and criteria; some, such as ATAS, have their own dispute resolution options. To find an accredited agent, visit the ATAS website.
  • book with an agent who advertises their services and any deals clearly
  • choose an agent who listens closely to what you want, answers your questions, makes appropriate suggestions, and explains any terms and conditions
  • get advice from family and friends about agents they have used
  • consider your method of payment. If you pay with credit card or select 'credit' on your debit card, you may be able to seek a chargeback from your bank if you pay and do not get what you paid for
  • carefully read the terms and conditions, so you know your options if you have to change or cancel your booking
  • ask your agent if they have insolvency insurance. This will help protect you if your agent stops operating and you have not received what you paid for
  • take out travel insurance. You can either purchase this through the agent, or independently.

Your rights when you book a holiday

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protects you when you buy products and services, including travel, under a range of 'consumer guarantees'. For more information, view our Refunds, repairs and replacements page.

Under the ACL, travel agents much:

  • ensure that their promotional material and other information is not false or misleading
  • inform you of any increase in costs or changes as soon as possible
  • quote accurate prices and ensure optional surcharges are clear and prominently displayed.

Your rights when a flight is cancelled

Whether you are entitled to a refund can depend on:

  • the reason for the cancellation
  • the terms and conditions of your contract with the airline
  • your travel insurance policy (if you have one)
  • the airline's ability to organise alternative flights
  • the airline's refund policy (check their website for details).

If you book and do not get what you paid for

  • Try to resolve the problem with the business first. For a step-by-step guide on how to do this, view our Resolve your problem or complaint page.
  • If you used an ATAS-accredited agent, they should have a dispute resolution procedure in place or you can contact ATAS directly. For details, visit the ATAS website.
  • If you booked with a credit card or selected 'credit' on your debit card, contact your bank or credit card provider as soon as possible to apply for a chargeback. For more information, view our Chargeback page.
  • If the problem is with an airline that participates in the Airline Customer Advocate (ACA) scheme. For more information, visit the ACA website.
  • Check your travel insurance policy, to see what you are covered for.

If you booked travel and the business stops operating before you get what you paid for, view our Insolvency page.

Last updated: 15/02/2017

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