Travel agent licence review

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Travel agent licence review

Status: Closed Friday 4 October 2013

Consumer Protection is seeking community comment about whether specific laws for the WA travel industry should continue or whether the general laws are adequate.

We have released a position paper and urge consumers and industry participants to provide their views.

A range of options, including an enforceable industry code of conduct, have been canvassed in the position paper and we would welcome feedback from the community and industry to help us determine our future direction on this important issue.

Background

Since 1986 travel agents in WA have needed a licence to operate under a national scheme and are required to join the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF).

The changing nature of the travel market raised valid reasons to review the arrangements. These included the increase of online travel bookings, the cost of travel generally becoming cheaper and the possibility of consumers claiming credit card chargebacks when something goes wrong. Industry have argued regulation costs were putting Australian agents at a disadvantage when compared to their international competitors.

In December last year, a majority of State and Territory Ministers decided to withdraw from the national licensing system and phase-out the compensation fund, opting to support a voluntary accreditation scheme administered by the industry, with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) providing consumer safeguards.

WA did not support the decision, preferring to explore other regulatory options. While we saw the need for change to the system in light of the growing online nature of the travel market, there was a concern about removing totally the compensation arrangements that have alleviated losses for WA travellers.

It’s not feasible for WA to totally replicate the current arrangements at a State level, so we must now explore our options and decide if the current safeguards under the ACL and the proposed industry accreditation scheme are sufficient to ensure adequate protection for travel consumers.

Downloads/resources

Enquiries

Enquiries can be made by calling Consumer Protection on 1300 304 054 or by email.

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