Need help with annoying travel agency!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 23, 2012 3:38 PM GMT
    Firstly, sorry it might be long.
    Alright so basically I've been planning this holiday with my sister to happen in May. She found this really good deal on the internet and so we called and inquired and ended up buying that deal.
    Now I had planned to stay overseas a little longer than my sister because she needed to come back home earlier because of a new job.

    So I went ahead and made other plans for the next 10 days I was going to be overseas without her. Anyway it came to booking it in and so my sister went to do it while I was at work and she later then called me saying that we weren't allowed to have different departure dates coming back home, it had to be the same. In the confusion she says she felt put on the spot to make the decision and went ahead with it. So that's sucked since my holiday was drastically cut shorter since she really couldn't stay longer.

    In my state of frustration I called up the agency and said why was the deal like this? They told me twin share "obviously" means that we have to fly the same time. Now I know that can't be right because prior to purchasing this I spoke to 2 different travel agencies who told me twin share only meant accommodation and had nothing to do with the flights.

    I called up the dept. of fair trading and sent them the booking advice (invoice) they sent me and a copy of the voucher deal we found on their website. They told me that I can fairly say it was poorly advertised because there was no information on either document explaining the terms and conditions properly (i.e. the same departure and arrival dates on flights) nor was there any instructions provided to help seek clarification on the deal information.

    So I called up the agency again and said this to them and they told me "look regardless, we have your sister's phone conversation recorded agreeing to such terms and conditions of no flight date changes". I happen to have somewhat an eye to detail and pointed out that according to the booking advice you sent me after the said conversation, your terms and conditions specifically say in clause 12 that I am allowed only one date ammendment so I believe I'm entitled to one since you sent me these terms and conditions after the conversation you had with my sister.

    They said some random bull crap like, i'll leave it with the team leader. The next email I get is the lady saying nothing can be done and now everything has also been finalised.
    Now here's the clincher, she sent me another booking advice and in the terms and conditions, she deleted clause 12 right out. Now I know for a fact that you CANNOT under any circumstance delete or alter terms and conditions because they are legally binding to a company. I happen to have a friend who was a travel agent for 12 years and she told me that it was illegal to do that too.

    So what I want to know is if you guys think I should really go ahead and threaten to take it further try get the original plan I wanted, which is not much since all that's changing is the day I leave the country, nothing else changes. The accommodation stay that we got with the deal is the same, we are both going to stay and leave the hotel the same time.

    Sorry for the long ass thread, I just really need your opinion on if you think I have a leg to stand on or not.
  • tinus37

    Posts: 3

    Dec 23, 2012 10:07 PM GMT
    Not a travel agent, but have worked in the travel industry too long icon_smile.gif Anyway... check if they have and IATA code (neeeded for any 'real' agency to operate) if so then approach IATA. Also contact the airline inregards to this. They sometimes also helps.
    And if all else fails... NAME and SHAME icon_twisted.gif
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    Dec 23, 2012 10:18 PM GMT
    BadNondairyMan saidFirstly, sorry it might be long.

    Sorry for the long ass thread, I just really need your opinion on if you think I have a leg to stand on or not.

    Standing on one leg is great exercise -
    BUT, you are in Australia (so it says) - most of us are in the US. Different country, different laws and regulations - so we non-aussies would have no idea what your rights are/were in this situation.
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    Dec 23, 2012 10:41 PM GMT
    Businesses recording phone conversations for so-called "training purposes" or some other "customer service" reason are rea;lly doing it to stiff customers for false advertizing or poor advertising purposes.

    I had something similar happen to me with a non-refundable hotel reservation for Christmas Eve, which I admit screwed up. But absolutely no consideration for circumstances or willingness to negotiate.

    It's giving me a bad tase in my mouth for Christmas, but compared to the folks in Newtown, CT, I guess I am doing OK.
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    Dec 23, 2012 11:04 PM GMT
    Travel agencies?

    Gosh, that's so 20th century!
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    Dec 23, 2012 11:29 PM GMT
    Thanks for the answers guys.
    I thought it might be a silly question since I am from Australia and most people here are from the U.S or Canada, but I thought to ask anyway just incase.

    I thought I'd take my chances and call them up today and see if I can sound threatnening enough to convince them they actually did something illegal so they can give me my original flight plan.

    Wish me luck lol.
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Dec 23, 2012 11:56 PM GMT
    Former travel professional here....with questions...

    1. Was this booked online or done face-to-face with an actual agent?

    2. From what you are saying, is this a "vacation package," where everything (flight and hotel) are "bundled" to arrive at one price? You are using a term, "twin share," which I have not heard of being in the industry, and I have to assume that is what was purchased.

    3. If this isn't a "package," I have to assume the land (hotel) and air (flights) were booked individually, correct?

    Terms and Conditions (T&C) are slightly different if you booked a "package" than if it was done separately. Vacation Packages are arranged generally through "Wholesale Tour Operators" (I used to work for one) and they have their own T&C when it comes to a "package," which is sometimes a blend of the airline's policies along with those of the hotel. Still with me here?

    After reading your post a few times, I have to think a "package" was bought and since I have worked and sold tons of these over the past 5 years, the idea is for travelers to have "set" departure and return dates with the air, along with "set" check in/out dates with the hotel. All travelers MUST depart and return together on a "package." No exceptions but if this is learned during the booking process, the agent will sell individual air and land--no package.

    On some "packages," and it depends on the Tour Operator, there are huge penalties for cancellations and changes. Flights booked on packages are pretty much non-refundable and reticketing fees (around $150 per person) are tacked on. And one item the traveling public is generally not aware of, but travel professionals are, is whether the flights are ticketed as "Bulk" which is sometimes refundable, or "Scheduled" which no money comes back.

    The bottom line on top here is---Is it a "package?" Who is the Tour Operator? There are some that aren't legit out there. Changes to a booked reservation, "package" or not, can be expensive--real expensive. It depends on the above if you have a complaint or not.

    Good luck in your quest here. If you and your sister had been at my desk purchasing it from me, I would have asked if your dates are flexible and if not, explained what would happen if changes were to be made.
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    Dec 24, 2012 5:58 PM GMT
    Not a travel agent , but in the airline industry .... " TWIN " has a mean in Australian travel agency language , it means the 2 humans has to travel together , arrive and leave the hotel in the same time and so on , this is the point of twin package deals !! You should have mentioned your intentions early one before to book the trip . People often see a price deal , jump on it without reading the fine prints , and then complain ...Bloody Oath ,ask questions before to give you plastic away ....Sorry to have to bear the bad news ....
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    Dec 24, 2012 6:04 PM GMT
    Good luck with that. I work as a travel agent and know first-hand how many restrictions are linked with those "good deals". My advice in the future is to let your sister plan her own bookings and let you do your own. :-)