From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2016, 19 travellers were compensated $13,359 through BC’s Travel Assurance Fund a result of the closures of BC travel agencies Air-World Tour & Travel Ltd. (based in Surrey) and Skyline Tours Ltd. (Burnaby).
Administered by Consumer Protection BC, the Travel Assurance Fund is a fund of last resort that provides possible compensation to both travel agents and consumers in times when travel services were purchased (but never received) through another BC-licensed travel agent or wholesaler.
“The Travel Assurance Fund has paid out nearly $1.4 million in compensation over the past 16 years, representing about 700 claims,” says Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC. “If consumers want to ensure their travel plans are protected, they should always work with a BC-licensed travel agent or wholesaler.”
Tips for travel agents and wholesalers:
- Share information about the Travel Assurance Fund with your clients. Booking through a BC-licensed travel agent or wholesaler is the only way consumers have access to the Travel Assurance Fund. Don’t be shy, brag!
- Check licensing status. If you’re purchasing travel services from another BC-based agent or wholesaler on the behalf of a client, don’t forget they’re required to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC (a licence verification tool is available at http://www.travelrightsbc.ca).
- Keep proof-of-payment documentation. Ask for (and keep) proof-of-payment for the travel services you purchase from another BC-licensed travel agent or wholesaler. If the business doesn’t deliver the services and you have to purchase new tickets for your clients, you’ll need this information to make a claim to the Travel Assurance Fund.