advice needed-online travel agency cancels tickets

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Oct 14, 2015
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someone just asked me for advice directly & didn't know what to say.

Here's the saga.

Family wants to go to USA from Australia, in Australian school holidays which run for most of December & January.

They found a fare with an Australian online travel agent, which was slightly cheaper than similar dates to what they had got the previous year. They booked & paid for tickets, then immediately received a receipt for payment & then next day got e-tickets emailed, showing ticket numbers.

Then 2 days after they got their e-tickets, they got an email to say, there had been an error (email with exact wording below) & the tickets were invalid & cancelled & a refund was being processed.

The online agent, advertised they were IATA, which made them appear legit, as thought quite a bit involved with being an IATA agent & also had on their website, an Australian company number, Australian phone number & address, but when phoned, the agency answered in Asia.

The issue is not about getting the refund, the issue is, the family just want their tickets at the original price (the fare for the same itinerary has now gone up about $500 each)

Always thought, once ticket numbers were in the booking it was a done deal.

Has the online agency, made a mistake with the fare & is trying to wriggle out of the booking ?

The other question is, who can they complain to ?

IATA ? Looked on their website, but doesn't seem to be any complaint mechanism.

The airline concerned ?

NOTE: there is no longer any travel agent licensing in Australia, whatsoever. this ended about 2 1/2 years ago.
Guess with the majority of travel spending being transacted by credit card, chargebacks offer good protection.

Any advice whatsoever would be appreciated.

Will name & shame everywhere possible, if this agency doesn't fix the situation fast.

>>>>
"We regret to inform you that the seats you have requested are not available and your booking has failed. This sometimes occurs when a booking is made before the airlines have updated their availability as seats often sell very quickly. Our back office team had made several attempts to reinstate your reservation but were unsuccessful. If you receive a copy of the confirmed ticket, please disregard as those are invalid tickets."
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

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What is the name of the company and where is a link to their website?
What they are saying is that the tickets weren't available at the price they quoted. But without knowing the agency and their terms, its hard to comment.
 
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Oct 14, 2015
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What is the name of the company and where is a link to their website?
What they are saying is that the tickets weren't available at the price they quoted. But without knowing the agency and their terms, its hard to comment.
more I think about it, it sounds like someone issued the tickets at the price paid, then someone else, noticed there was an error in the pricing.

www.bestjet.com
 
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Neil Maley

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It is quite possible that there were no seats left at that price. It happens. When I book through our GDS we can have the same thing happen.

They are ASTA members, if the friend thinks they were absolutely wronged they can file a complaint with ASTA. ASTA can't get force their money back but they can kick them out if they find them acting unethically.

However, their terms do not hold them responsible for pricing errors and state they can be withdrawn, so it appears they have covered themselves and there isn't much your friend can do.

Because it is only acting as agent, Bestjet Travel Pty Ltd does not accept responsibility for any change in prices or variation of services as shown, and all services and prices are subject to change without notice.

  • Quotations:
  • All quotations are subject to availability of services quoted and are not guaranteed until the booking is confirmed and all electronic tickets have been issued. All prices are subject to change and availability may be withdrawn without notice.
This comes down to buyer beware. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
 
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Neil Maley

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And to top it they get lousy reviews - your friend should have checked this before booking. It might be a blessing in disguise that the tickets were canceled. Tell them to book directly with the airline as we always recommend here:

http://www.productreview.com.au/p/bestjet-com.html

One review actually said the same thing your friend found - their pricing isn't live and they cancel tickets because the pricing is no longer available.
 

Neil Maley

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According the their terms it doesn't matter. They can cancel or withdraw at any time and because their inventory isn't live, it can take a couple of days for the airline to send a debit memo back that the price is not valid.
 
Oct 14, 2015
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According the their terms it doesn't matter. They can cancel or withdraw at any time and because their inventory isn't live, it can take a couple of days for the airline to send a debit memo back that the price is not valid.
debit memo ? Is that what the industry calls an ADM ?
 
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Wha is an ADM? Here it's called a debit memo- the airline charges back the agency for the difference in the amount of the ticket.
must be the same thing. So if any agency gets a debit memo, they can cancel tickets that have already been issued ?
 

John Galbraith

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Wha is an ADM? Here it's called a debit memo- the airline charges back the agency for the difference in the amount of the ticket.
must be the same thing. So if any agency gets a debit memo, they can cancel tickets that have already been issued ?
Hi Both

It does look like the same thing; well sort of. Qatar describes it as a memo for charging the Agent - (Agent Debit memo) for fare violations.

Neil looking at the Qata page you will know better than I whether it is the same thing.
http://www.qatarairways.com/uk/en/adm-policy.page
 

Neil Maley

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Hi Both

It does look like the same thing; well sort of. Qatar describes it as a memo for charging the Agent - (Agent Debit memo) for fare violations.

Neil looking at the Qata page you will know better than I whether it is the same thing.
http://www.qatarairways.com/uk/en/adm-policy.page
It is exactly that.

I don't know what type of Consumer Protection laws you have in Austrailia or whether you have the equivalent of our Department of Transportation, which is supposed to oversee airlines. Your friend should file a complaint with whatever consumer services you have in Austrailia.

If people just complain online instead of looking for the right government agency to file complaints with, these agencies will continue to pull things like this.
 
Oct 14, 2015
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It is exactly that.

I don't know what type of Consumer Protection laws you have in Austrailia or whether you have the equivalent of our Department of Transportation, which is supposed to oversee airlines. Your friend should file a complaint with whatever consumer services you have in Austrailia.

If people just complain online instead of looking for the right government agency to file complaints with, these agencies will continue to pull things like this.
 
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we have state govt consumer affairs departments in OZ, but they are toothless tigers. They rarely even name & shame.

We also have fed govt www.accc.gov.au the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, who administer Australian consumer law. They might say that getting a refund is a solution, which doesn't solve the issue. For what's it's worth, they complained to both state & fed departments.

The plot thickens ... another family paid for & got the same tickets at the same time, but their tickets haven't been cancelled.
 
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Neil Maley

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www.promalvacations.com
You should tell them to reach out to whatever government offices they can.

We are in the US and focused on US suppliers and issues. We really don't have the knowledge or contacts to assist in other countries.
 
Oct 14, 2015
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You should tell them to reach out to whatever government offices they can.

We are in the US and focused on US suppliers and issues. We really don't have the knowledge or contacts to assist in other countries.
yes it appears this online travel agency is pretending to be Australian but is really Philippino. You'd think IATA would have something to say about their very dodgy practices. Then again, just because they say they are an IATA agent on their website, doesn't mean they are. Does anyone know how to check if they actually are IATA?
 
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You would need to know their IATA number they claim they have. If you have it there is a screen on the Iata site that you can plug the number in and make sure it's a real number.
thanks. The plot thickens. Got the iata number off the tickets is 02314745. When punch that into iata search it comes up as Wynyard Travel Pty Ltd, in Sydney CBD.

Phoned them & they claim they issue some tickets for Bestjet.com, but they said bestjet.com is an iata agent.

They have complained everywhere they can find, except to iata, as having trouble finding a contact for them, in Australia.
 
Oct 14, 2015
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thanks. The plot thickens. Got the iata number off the tickets is 02314745. When punch that into iata search it comes up as Wynyard Travel Pty Ltd, in Sydney CBD.

Phoned them & they claim they issue some tickets for Bestjet.com, but they said bestjet.com is an iata agent.

They have complained everywhere they can find, except to iata, as having trouble finding a contact for them, in Australia.
They rang someone at IATA in Singapore, , who said make a bit of noise about it & threaten to go to the media.