03 March 2011
Our travel interview with CTV
Written by Tatiana
We wanted to share all of the questions that were actually asked of us and our answers because we think it's good information for consumers to know.
CTV: CTV was recently contacted by a young couple who booked a dream wedding only to have to re-book when the airline changed flight dates. Is that allowed?
Consumer Protection BC: It sounds like an unfortunate situation for the couple. Airlines are allowed to change their flight dates and times.Â Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important for consumers to read the fine print in their travel contracts so they are aware of all of the possibilities and can plan accordingly.
CTV: The company did agree to refund the flight costs when it was clear the couple and many of their wedding guests had to book on another airline to make their wedding. Their travel agent has been helping with all the hassle of rebooking but they are still out about 600 dollars in extra costs.Â We wondered whether the Travel Assurance Fund can help travellers in this instance?
Consumer Protection BC:Â The Travel Assurance Fund provides compensation when services that were paid for but were not received. In this instance it sounds like alternate services were offered and a refund on the original services was given.Â Although it doesnâ€™t sound like the Travel Assurance Fund would be an option, we would recommend that the consumers check their travel insurance policy if they purchased on or contact their credit card provider to see if they can offer some assistance.Â (Click here for more information about BC's Travel Assurance Fund.)
CTV: When is the travel assurance fund accessible?
Consumer Protection BC:Â The travel assurance fund offers an extra layer of protection when consumers book through a licensed travel agent.Â The fund provides a possible source of compensation when consumers do not receive the contracted travel services they purchased. An example would be if an airline fails.
CTV: How many people were able to get money back last year, for example?
Consumer Protection BC: The Fund has paid over $800,000 to consumers since 2004.
CTV: Lots of people book vacations online themselves â€“ can they apply for the travel assurance fund if the tour or attraction theyâ€™ve booked goes bankrupt?
Consumer Protection BC: Consumers must have booked through a licensed BC travel agent for wholesaler.Â Some online companies are licensed. Check for the Consumer Protection BC logo on their website or look on our website to find a licensed agency. There are restrictions so we encourage consumers to visit www.travelrightsbc.ca to find out more about the fund.
CTV: What advice would you give people â€“ in general â€“about coping with extra costs and inconveniences â€“should they budget a little extra just in case?
Consumer Protection BC: A vacation should be fun however itâ€™s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. We would recommend that consumers:
- Touch base with your travel agent prior to departure to ensure that all the arrangements have been confirmed.
- Read the fine print on your travel insurance, if purchased, so that you know what is covered.
- Bring your travel agentâ€™s contact information with you just in case you need it.
- And of course, having a little bit extra in the budget is always helpful!
If you have questions about the Travel Assurance Fund or the travel law in BC, please give us a call at 1-888-564-9963. You can also follow Consumer Protection BC on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook for valuable consumer tips.
Published in Travel.
Tatiana works in communications for Consumer Protection BC. Â She is always talking about something our organization is doing and just between us, she can get pretty loud.