Protect yourself when booking holidays

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A new campaign by Australia’s consumer protection agencies is reminding travellers of the simple steps they can take to protect their travel and holiday bookings.

Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria Dr Claire Noone says that increased competition and the growth of online bookings has changed the way people plan and purchase their trips. “For some people, booking a holiday might be a quick and simple process, while others put a lot of time and effort into planning their trips.”

“We know that Australians love travelling, and many go back to their countries of origan to visit family and friends,” says Dr. Noone.

Statistics show that Australians made nine million trips overseas in the past year.

“It is easy to get too excited about a holiday and forget about the simple precautions you should be taking to protect your purchase.”

Dr Noone says that apart from protections that all consumers have under the Australian Consumer Law, there are some basic steps they can take to protect their purchases.

“Reputation and customer service is a really simple way of making sure that your holiday is going to be a great one,” says Dr Noone.

“Look at reviews and ask family, friends and others in your community for their recommendations. If you are booking with a travel agent, check that they are accredited. Any business you book with, either in person or online, should have clearly stated refund and complaint policies.”

Consumers can also protect themselves by choosing how they pay for their travel.

“Credit cards can be a more expensive way to pay for purchases but do offer some protection as consumers may be able to seek a reverse payment from their bank if they book and do not get what they paid for.”

Consumers can ask their bank to reverse a payment if it was made with credit cards or by selecting ‘credit’ on Mastercard or Visa debit cards, not if they paid by ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ on debit cards, cash, cheque, money transfer, direct debit or BPAY.

Holidaymakers are strongly encouraged to take out comprehensive travel insurance when they are travelling, and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by their policies.

For more tips and information on how to book your next holiday safely, visit www.packsomepeaceofmind.gov.au

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