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Tour operator to provide additional refunds on COVID-cancelled travel

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The consumer watchdog became concerned that APT was deducting marketing and overhead costs from booking refunds during the pandemic.

Thousands of Aussies will receive additional refunds for travel cancelled by tour operator APT due to COVID-19.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) became concerned that APT, Australia's largest family-owned tour and cruise company, was deducting marketing and overhead costs from booking refunds during the pandemic.

After months of engagement between APT and the ACCC, the travel company agreed to stop deducting marketing and overhead costs from booking refunds impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

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APT will provide customers who have previously received a refund quote with a revised quote, and will reimburse customers who have already received a reduced refund due to marketing and overhead cost deductions.

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said that APT was deducting a significant amount from some refunds to cover its losses.

"The costs that APT deducted for marketing and overheads amounted to 15 per cent of the booking price and, with many holidays costing over $20,000, this meant a significant amount was withheld from the refunds given to consumers," Ms Court said.

"The ACCC considered that APT was not entitled to deduct these marketing and overhead costs as they were incurred before the booking was made and they would have been incurred regardless of whether a booking was made."

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Affected customers have either already been contacted by APT or will shortly hear from them.

Ms Court said the consumer watchdog was pleased that customers would receive redress faster this way than if the matter were to proceed to court.

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"The ACCC's position on refunds for cancelled travel has been very clear for almost a year now: travel businesses cannot deduct fees unless there are applicable terms and conditions in their contract that expressly permit them to do so," Ms Court said.

"Our COVID-19 Taskforce has engaged with dozens of travel businesses since the start of the pandemic and we will continue monitoring the industry to make sure consumers are receiving the remedy they are entitled to."

9news.com.au has contacted APT for comment.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/apt-to-provide-additional-refunds-on-covid-cancelled-travel/260c551f-4162-434a-8413-5c1f21a87307

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