Flight Centre Charging $300 Per Person Cancellation Fee

Has anyone else been caught out with their Flight Centre travel bookings being cancelled due to the virus, and then being charged $300 per person cancellation fee by FC? They say they will hold your funds on credit for another booking at a later date, but if you want your money back, they charge you the fee.

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Comments

  • +16

    I'm amazed that people haven't worked it out yet.

    How many documentaries have to be made about these scumbags before people stop being ripped off?

    • +1

      dont worry they will under administration soon.

      • they just got a massive capital raise to last till next year without revenue

        • Diluting their shareholders. The shareholders should being running away too.

          • @netjock: share price still going up after the CR / trading halt

            • @phunkydude: Jan 20 share price: about $40

              Share price now: about $13.50

              Well going up nowhere near the poor shareholder who is still holding it.

              Yes, share prices go up because they got a life line. Without anyone travelling it depends on whether they got enough money to carry through. Imagine another capital raising in 6 months when it is $6.

              • @netjock: share price goes up because people still buying their shares

                • @phunkydude: And people buy items with big reductions close to use by at Woolworths. Your point is?

                  My point is there is people buying at $13 a share for a business with zero revenue and zero profits, so what? One person's trash is another's treasure.

                  Would you like to pay for $40 for a business with revenue and profits paying a 2% dividend or $13 for a business with zero revenue (and still having to pay costs).

                  If you look at latest data air travel won't recover until 2019 levels for another 2 years. Source

                  • @netjock: not only zero profits, negative profit

  • +2

    What did your contact say when you purchased the trip?

  • +10

    yeah why people need to buy from them? is it hard to just click few times on the internet and buy directly with the airline?

    • +4

      I never understand why people go through travel agent in the first place. Their stores were open left right and centre which suggested a lot of people use them. No idea why lol.

      • +6

        My last 2 flights were cheaper at Flightcentre than direct with the airline

        • Wow. I see. Can't say the same for my experience.

          • +1

            @tomleonhart: I have found I had to use them (or any other travel agency) if doing stop overs etc on long haul trips. Never been able to do this easily direct with most airlines, or they charge a fotune do do so as they treat it as separate flights. If I'm just booking a straight up flight with no complications then definitely best to just book with the airline direct.

            • @conan2000:

              Never been able to do this easily direct with most airlines, or they charge a fotune do do so as they treat it as separate flights

              The multi-city option on websites like expedia works well for stop overs, often better than the airline direct, because they can search more code-share partners.

              • @salmon123: To be fair it's 5 or 6 years since I have done anything like this, and it may have changed a fair bit since then.

  • Obviously FC is fairer than AirAsia . AA would not do anything for you even it is their fault for rescheduling their flights orcancelling their flights . They give you the notices duly but won’t give you any refund or even credit. And passengers are left without any help being left helpless unable to contact them. What is worst now their CEO Tony F. begs his customers not to ask back for their refunds so that he can keep his staff on his payroll. He has forgotten the billions of dollars they made in the past. Sick of AA now.

    • Budget airlines are bad at best of times. Even worse when they are based offshore.

  • +2

    I find it easier to directly deal with the Airline. These days you can compare the prices pretty easily.

  • +2

    When you book through a travel agent you and/or the airline (through commissions) is paying for that service. I think it's fair they charge in case of a refund (instead of an exchange/credit). I do think $300 per person is too high, ~$50 is more appropriate depending on the time the agent would need to spend to process the refund plus overheads.

  • +3

    I'm surprised people like Flight Centre still exist.

    Is it really that hard to find flights yourself through some comparison websites?

    • +3

      Obviously yes. FC exist is the same reason Harvey Normans exists. Australia is full of mug punters.

      • +1

        I wouldn't be so quick to judge, in some minor circumstances it can be beneficial to book through them, in particular if your itinerary involves multiple airlines or specific classes (to get extra status points etc)

        another one is when woolworths has a discount on FC cards and you could use the woolworths gift cards at 5% off to buy those, netting you 3ppd and removing the 2% cc fee airlines typicall charge. This obviously doesn't work anymore though

        i do agree though that in most circumstances there aren't any benefits of booking through them

    • +1

      its not hard, but some people just value their time diff

  • Just take the credit then

    • Given what's happened with Virgin recently, I'm bit worried having my money kept with any travel company. I plan to travel next year, but would rather get a refund than credit as what are the chances they won't also go the same way?

      I've also asked Flight Centre for a refund now, will be interesting what they say as I also took Covermore travel insurance too

  • +2

    Aunt Betty a subsidary of FC is doing the same though $250 fee. I had a flight cancelled and Aunt Betty advised verbally over the phone I would receive a full refund.. in 12 weeks.

    Absolute joke considering airlines are offering full refunds to the travel agent in a few days. I've initiated a CC chargeback as who knows if the travel agent companies will still be afloat in 12 weeks.

    • +1

      Just out of curiosity, which bank is allowing chargeback? Also interesting to hear Aunt Betty is not charging you cancellation fee ($250)?
      I just called CBA earlier today and they won't consider chargeback if the airline and travel agent (including online) are still operating and have not gone under.

      • +3

        ANZ though still waiting on the outcome.
        Flight was cancelled 24/2/20 by airline 2 days before flight. No communication from Aunt betty regarding this, I had to contact them.

        Aunt betty couldn't provide an alternative flight so agreed to a full refund 25/2/20. As per ACCC I paid for a service which I did not recieve so am entitled to a full refund. However have never received refund confirmation by email as they advised they would.

        12 weeks is not a reasonable time for a refund given it takes the airline a few days. Travel companies are simply doing this to keep their books looking good. Disgusting tactic.

  • Graham Turner is like Gery for flight booking industry

  • I have got flights in May that I book through BYOjet/Flight Centre to London return with Singapore Airlines that I have got to do something about. Will wait till May at this stage.

    • +3

      File a CC chargeback if you paid by card and flights are cancelled. Else you are SOL and will get slapped $250 'cancellation fee' per ticket.

      • Thanks - will see which is the best way to go.

  • +2

    Chargeback rules around Covid-19 are a bit odd - read, understand and beat the scum:
    https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/global/support-legal/documents...

    If the service has been cancelled but not due to a government edict, a chargeback should be possible. Screw their BS "cancellation" fee.

    The other route is that the contract is voided due to "frustration of contract". In which case the contract is cancelled before they get to apply any cancellation fee, and are due only their reasonable cost to the point the contract became impossible to fulfill.

  • +2

    'Unfair': Flight Centre draws fire over $300 charge for COVID cancellations
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/unfair-flight-centre-draw...

    Government guidelines say travel restrictions can trigger a "frustration of contract" under general law entitling consumers to a refund or credit voucher minus the agent's "reasonable expenses".
    Ms Calleja said Flight Centre's suggestion that she pay $1500 for a refund on tickets worth $2200 was "robbery".

    When pressed by another customer, Thomas Riddell, about why Flight Centre could charge he and his girlfriend $600, an agent told the Sydney lawyer the fee was for “the costs of services already provided”.
    This included “facilitating a travel booking, providing advice and liaising with suppliers on your behalf” and for “facilitating the cancellation of that travel booking.”

    This explanation, to Mr Riddell, didn’t make much sense.
    “I never received any 'advice' from the agent nor a detailed itinerary, and all that occurred was a quick two minute phone call to facilitate the purchase of the return flights,” he said.
    "It's quite an unfair position they're putting customers in. I fail to understand how $600 constitutes those services.
    "I don't know whether the restrictions will still be in place in a year. I don't know whether I'll be in a position to take a holiday in a year. I don't know whether I'll have a job in a year."
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    • i think you would be able to argue that a flat fee like this is clearly not possible since it would mean that they only break even on any product they are selling for for the $300 (impossible since there are costs) so therefore the fees must be exorbitant. It would be ridiculous to think that $2200 in disneyland tickets would consist of $1500 of profit

    • +3

      Good to see that this has hit the media. People will remember how badly Flight Centre treated them. This is clearly a frustrated contact. $300 per person is not a reasonable expense.

      • Is it in the contract ?

  • +1

    Fuming Flight Centre customers plan legal action over $300 cancellation fee
    Angry customers demanding refunds from troubled travel firm Flight Centre are preparing to take legal action after their holiday plans were dashed by the coronavirus pandemic.
    2.32pm 23/April (The Age).

  • Was this not in the contract ? What's $300 to like a $5000 trip. Flight centre can price beat online prices so I pay the same price whilst going through someone so they have a job. I don't know how commissions and stuff work now but if I really wanted my money back, then I'd just pay the fee I signed up for or get a voucher.

    • +3

      There is a $300 cancellation fee (per person per booking) in the contract. However most passengers have not cancelled their flights. Instead the 'supplier' (airline) has cancelled the service. The contract is silent on this distinction. Hence passengers do not feel that this fee should be levied on them, nor do they feel that this fee is remotely reasonable as it is calculated per passenger.

      A family of four would be charged $1200 to get a refund on a flight that the airline cancelled. I don't think that this is fair.

      • Oh you're right. Does the contract not say anything about cancelled flights at all? This is a pretty common occurence and I thought it would.

        • +1

          No mention of involuntary/supplier cancellations in the contract that I could see.

          • +1

            @tanksinatra: You have got a very good point there, thanks for doing the research.

          • @tanksinatra: That's so odd, but in saying that, if they booked before the coronavirus, insurance should cover it. If you booked after, it's a risk you take and plenty of airlines were offering vouchers at the time. If you didn't have insurance…well…

      • "Flight centre has backed down on charging its customers excessive cancellation fees after receiving fierce public condemnation. Customers were facing $300 cancellation fee per person for flights and trips axed due to the coronavirus pandemic. A $600 cap will now apply to any international booking for two or more customers and a $100 cap per booking for domestic travel."

        https://www.news.com.au/national/flight-centre-backs-down-on...

    • A letter went out a few weeks ago to everyone in the travel industry from the regulators advising that they expect customers to be treated fairly during this extraordinary time regardless of what is in the PDS / contract. This is the result;

      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-02/flight-centre-stop-ch...

      This applies to every player in the travel industry. You should expect 100% refund on everything travel related. If you paid a cancellation fee, time to ring them up and get it back.

  • +1

    My credit card chargeback was approved today 11 weeks after flight cancellation on an ANZ visa credit card. Finally.

  • Rang BYO (0281032107) and requested a full refund for cancelled flights on Singapore Airlines which they agreed to and processed, sent me a confirmation email advising that the turnaround time may take more than 12 weeks for the funds to appear in my account.
    Now we wait some more.
    Very happy not to have to deal with BYO again after I get the refund .

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