From cancelled flights to hidden travel fees and nightmare accommodation, these are the troubles plaguing Australian travelers.
Traveling is not always about exotic locations and fun filled days on the beach.
CHOICE has released a new survey revealing that almost 70 per cent of Australian holiday-makers have experienced consumer troubles in their travels. The nationally representative survey found 46 per cent of domestic travellers and almost 60 per cent of those on international journeys experienced a consumer issue in the last 12 months.
“Holidays are precious times, often with a lot of planning, time off work and a big emotional investment. They shouldn’t be times when you’re worried about your consumer rights or left in the lurch if things go wrong,” says CHIOCE Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.
“CHOICE is investigating the biggest holiday horrors to shine a light on issues in the travel market and help Australians have better, hassle-free holidays,” Mr Godfrey says.
CHOICE’s investigation shows that the top seven issues facing Australian travellers are:
Booking online (26 per cent)
For those with issues booking online, hidden fees were far and away the biggest cause for concern with 57 per cent saying it was a problem. Nearly 30 per cent also had difficulty rectifying mistakes and/or had technical website issues.
Flights (24 per cent)
For those with issues with their flights, 51 per cent had problems with either their flight being either delayed or cancelled. Following that, 24 per cent had a poor in-flight experience and 20 per cent didn’t have their preferences delivered.
Transport: taxis, buses, trains (19 per cent)
The main problems in relation to transport cited by consumers were being overcharged for trips or being taken the wrong route, their service being delayed or getting poor service from drivers.
Booking with a travel agent (18 per cent)
For those with issues with travel agents, 34 per cent had difficulty rectifying mistakes. Hidden fees weren’t far behind, affecting 29 per cent, and preferences not being delivered, such as not getting the right room type, affected 19 per cent.
Mobile phones (17 per cent)
Mobiles are much more of a problem if you’re travelling internationally, when it jumps to be the third biggest travel trouble. The main problems with phones cited by consumers are the cost of calls with data roaming, poor coverage at the destination and having troubles getting SIM cards to work at the destination or in their phone.
Car hire (14 per cent)
For those with issues with car hire, 40 per cent had problems with hidden fees and 30 per cent didn’t get their stated preferences. Meanwhile 26 per cent found the terms and conditions unclear and communicated incorrectly and 18 per cent where straight up overcharged.
Accommodation (14 per cent)
The main problems being that the provider cancelled the booking, overbooked or had no record of the booking, or the room was sub-standard or different to what was booked or advertised.
As part of its Holiday Horrors campaign, CHOICE has invited Australians to share their travel troubles and help identify – and find solutions – to common consumer issues.
“We’ve heard all sorts of nightmare stories of Australians getting left high and dry overseas with bank cards that wouldn’t work even though their bank assured them they would, airplane bathroom doors held together with paperclips, and even a case of a consumer waiting six hours while a technician drove from Queensland to New South Wales to fix an issue,” Mr Godfrey says.
“Consumers expect, and sometimes even enjoy, running into some challenges when they travel. But certain problems can be very disruptive and expensive and CHOICE is concerned by the lack of consumer protection in these areas.”