Elderly couple shamelessly fleeced by online travel agency

Published on : Wednesday, February 10, 2016

cheapoairOnline travel agencies are making it big now days but how does one know whether the agency that you are relying your hard earned money on will help you go through a smooth voyage at the price fixed on the onset of your journey? There are many people who lay their trust on travel agencies and often end up paying much more than what they had settled before taking their trips.

 

 

Audrey Kay, 80, and her husband Brian, 84, an elderly couple had planned a trip to Australasia to celebrate their diamond anniversary. The couple hailed from Mawdesley in Lancashire and had chalked their own travel plans with help from an agent called CheapOair.co.uk for booking their flight. The company vouched that they help in travelling for less.

 

 

The couple had bought online flight tickets from a budget airline for £143 each but was compelled to make two flight alterations in their flight dates. The company which claimed that they made travel facilities for less charged them £2,000 – seven times the original fares from Mr. and Mrs. Kay.

 

 

The couple was unfamiliar with the typical level of fees in the aviation industry and when CheapOair charges £1,049 for amendments Mr. Kay paid the charge. The return flights, operated by Air New Zealand, cost £143 each, totaling £286. A change fee on the route is around £80 per person.

 

 

The couple’s passport was stolen when they arrived at Sydney when they arrived from Hong Kong. The British Consulate at Sydney had issued temporary documents for them to continue with their journey. They had to obtain their new passports from Auckland for their trip back home. They had to go through a change of date in order to do so. The couple was charged £950.40 by CheapOair for the changes. The company had also levied “Post Booking Charges” totaling £1,999.40. They were now paying eight times more including the ticket cost £286 for two tickets from the original cost.

 

 

On being contacted later the company said that the billing section would deal with the matter and they could offer clarity. But despite several correspondences there was no response from CheapOair. The family members approached one of UK’s leading news daily which demanded clarification from CheapOair on the £2,000 it had charged the elderly couple. The company was forced to return £1,608 which left the couple paying £790.

 

 

The company however said that it was a human error and extended their apology. The firm is an offshoot extension of a US based travel agent. In Britain they are known as Dukes Court Travel.

 

With so many travel agencies mushrooming online offering attractive packages it is difficult for customers to really know who is authentic. The airlines and hotels should be more selective in choosing companies who are selling them to their potential customers or else it would be difficult to single out fraud companies.

 

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10 Responses to Elderly couple shamelessly fleeced by online travel agency

  1. Maheen says:

    How very sad, if only they had initially gone to a reputed travel agent they would have had a great trip. Travel Agents survive because of their knowledge, experience and are capable of giving the right advise saving heartaches at the end of the day.

    Hope everyone who plans to buy online reads this and is a little more careful to read the fine print in the future.

    Happy & Safe Travels everyone

  2. RAJAN PANDE says:

    Really Shame ! Travellers better deal with known faces(Travel Agents with accreditation & experience and located at your nearby area) rather than unknown face of online person.

  3. NGUNE says:

    It is a lesson for others . There is no security dealing with online purchase. The risks are many.

  4. Gopal says:

    Why go abroad!!. We too have fraudulent travel and tourism companies here in India too
    Example vacations gateway.co has come out with Packaged Deal starting with INR5949/- for 4N/5D stay in the selected hotels for 4 people in India and Thailand. In order to promote this deal they also offered FREEBIES like mobile phone, lap top etc. Once you make the payment online, no news from them for nearly 20 days and NO FREEBIES nor any
    Voucher. Also they refused to refund the money back saying that their offer is expired and as such I am not entitled for refund. What do you say about this?

  5. Cengiz says:

    Nobody takes lesson and books only with online and best sample is India.Big players offer non existing hotels in the packages ,hidden costs but people still book with them because their name is big )))))So once they arrive the destination ,they are alone !!!So if you go online,you need an align))))

  6. Lisa says:

    Makes sense as I am an online agency and all it takes sometimes is googling for the name of the agency to see if there are any negative comments on the internet. A major component of a response to my online customers is that I mention to my customers is that they can find out about my service on Trip Advisor.

  7. MD.A.AARIF says:

    CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES SHOULD HAVE A CHECK ON ALL SUCH PORTALS & STREAMLINE . THEY SHOULD ALSO GET THE REAL PRICE FROM THE CONCERNED AIRLINES ACROSS THE GLOBE IN EACH COUNTRY ON DAILY BASIS. ONE OR MORE CASES OR HIGHLIGHTED THERE ARE MANY SUCH CASES WHICH IS STILL HAPPENING & GOES UNNOTICED.ALL AIRLINES SHOULD CREATE A FORMAT & HAVE TO BE AUTHORISED IN ORDER TO AVOID SUCH ISSUES OF CHEATING THE PUBLIC

  8. Sheila Ward-Shaw says:

    This is one of the primary reasons to use a travel agent. A reputable, licensed and accredited Travel Agent acts as a client advocate and ensures their clients get the best for their travel needs. They protect their clients from such abuses.

  9. Uganda safari tours says:

    How sad that the individual responsible had no remorse over cheating these seniors. The company should be all over this to find out what happened.

  10. Sharat says:

    This is where the value of human interface of the travel agent who in the recent days have to face the challenges from the clients based on the clients knowledge with the .com companies.
    They never realize that these staffs have literally spent their major period of life & career to update their destination knowledge,increase contacts to get the best holiday/rates for their clients.Also always as a matter of practice travel agents would always try their best to sort the issues and unexpected problems arising with the human emotion side focussed.
    Also the .com companies are in a way great tool to make us feel confident on our products,but there should be a control from the government or the IATA body to ensure none of the clients dream are spoilt. Since Holidays have an Intangible value which can never be re-visited.A client who is visting Paris for his 25th anniversary would never be able to compensate the same even if he gets a huge amount or a fully paid holiday for next tour as refund or damages for a mis-managed holiday holiday.

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