Flight Centre policies taking customers for a refund ride
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has accused travel agency Flight Centre of taking customers for a ride by refusing to pass on refunds already collected from tour operators and suppliers to its customers.
"I have been contacted by several constituents whose travel plans have been cancelled because of COVID-19 who are furious that Flight Centre is holding onto thousands of dollars of their money that their tour operators have refunded," Rebekha said.
"Flight Centre might be acting within the letter of Australian Consumer Law by either offering credit vouchers or claiming a 12-week timeframe for processing refunds but the fact remains this is not Flight Centre's money to hang onto.
"I am also concerned about allegations that Flight Centre changed its terms and conditions just last month to introduce the cancellation fee of $300 per person, and many customers will not be able to claim this fee on any travel insurance.
"I find it difficult to understand why a company committed to providing quality service to its customers would class Government-issued travel bans as a customer cancellation.
"Profiteering from trip cancellations does not treat consumers fairly and with respect.
"Flight Centre might be allowed by law to introduce a $300 cancellation fee and refuse to hand over refunds in a timely manner (if at all if they are going to insist on vouchers) but none of these actions pass the pub test.
"As a result I have written to Flight Centre Chief Executive Graham Turner to express my disappointment at his company's policies and to ask for an explanation for why they are treating their customers with such callous disrespect.
"Many Australians are really struggling right now and they need all the available funds they can get.
"I know the constituents who contacted me are relying on their refunds to ensure their welfare during this period of uncertainty.
"I would like to appeal to the better nature of Mr Turner and his executive and ask Flight Centre to do the right thing by their customers."
Below: Copy of the letter sent to Flight Centre.