Sadly over 120 West Australians have been affected by the collapse of Fremantle travel agency Sky Air Services which in July closed its doors and went into liquidation.
It has been reported that some 13 passengers had been stranded overseas due to the financial collapse and alleged mismanagement of the travel agency, and on 28 July 2015 WA’s Consumer Protection said that it had losses reported to it of over $409,000.00.
Customers of the travel agency have reported numerous complaints about the conduct of the agency leading up to its collapse, including that:
- flights had not been booked, but payment had been made;
- flights had been cancelled;
- no booking confirmation was issued;
- calls and emails went unanswered; and
- extraordinary comments were made on the agency’s Facebook page about its customers.
Since the incident with the travel agency the Australian Securities and Investment Commission has deregistered the business.
The company Mirgo Pty Ltd, trading as Sky Air Services, has gone into liquidation with DCS Advisory appointed as its liquidator.
What to do if you have been affected?
If you or someone you know has been affected by the collapse of the travel agency the following steps should be taken:
- contact the airline or accommodation provider direct to ascertain if bookings have been made and paid for;
- contact DSC Advisory, the liquidator on 6557 3555;
- contact Consumer Protection (part of the WA Department of Commerce) on 1300 304 054;
- if you made purchases with the travel agency on your credit card check with your bank about refund policies; and
- check with your travel insurance provider about whether they provide coverage in these circumstances.
How to minimise the risk when dealing with travel agents
There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the use of travel agents has increased sharply since the recent problems associated with travel to and from Bali due to the volcanic ash clouds from Mount Raung in East Java and various closures of Denpasar’s airport, but the question arises – what steps can be taken to minimise risk when dealing with travel agents?
There are no guaranteed steps to ensure that transactions are safe when dealing with any companies, but these steps can help:
- Use a well-known and reliable business.
- Use a business that is a member of a peak industry body, in the case of a travel agency that may be the Australian Federation of Travel Agents.
- Purchase goods or services on a credit card so if they are ultimately not provided you will be able to seek a charge-back from your card provider.
- Take out comprehensive travel insurance as soon as your travel arrangements are made.
What if I still have a problem?
At Lynn & Brown we have lawyers who practice in the area of consumer law and deal with breaches of contract who are able to assist you in making a claim if you have issues with product or service providers.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 9375 3411 or https://www.lynnandbrown.com.au/contact/ if you or someone you know has been caught out.
About the author:
This article was authored by Jacqueline Brown who is a director at Lynn & Brown Lawyers. Jacqui has over 19 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning. Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.