Hundreds of customers of a Facebook travel agency have been left out of pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars after the Western Australian Government’s Consumer Protection division couldn’t secure refunds for affected consumers.
According to Consumer Protection, more than 200 customers paid Travel 2 Go and No Frills Travel over $200,000 for cheap flights or holidays, but either could not get air tickets for their desired dates or were asked to pay extra money. Some holidaymakers who made it to their destinations were not booked on return flights home.
The pair behind the unregistered businesses, Nicole Bromage and Jacklene Torr, promised to pay back customers during talks with Consumer Protection, but this has failed to materialize.
“In August 2019 Consumer Protection saw an increase in complaints from consumers who had purchased discount return flights – Perth to Bali for $99 for example – via a travel agent on Facebook, and then not been able to get seats on a plane,” Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said.
“This escalated and Consumer Protection attended a public meeting of about 100 affected consumers in South Yunderup on 7 September 2019. We now have in excess of 210 complaints with a total dollar value of more than $200,000. This includes some people who have bought cruises or package holidays.
With an investigation underway, Ms Lipscombe said conciliation officers had been “working hard to try to achieve a satisfactory outcome for the complainants in this case but it is not always possible to secure refunds and there is no guarantee goods or services will be provided”.
“Whether or not Consumer Protection is successful in conciliation depends on factors including a trader’s willingness to participate in the process and the financial situation – funds may not be available,” she said.
“As of today (Friday 4 October) we are in the process of contacting all of the Travel 2 Go / No Frills Travel complainants to inform them that no refunds are forthcoming and to advise them of their option to go to the Magistrates Court to seek a court order for any money owed.”
Affected consumers can still lodge a complaint via an online form at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au
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