Fraud probe sparks TCF talks with NT

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The Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) is to hold talks with the Northern Territory Government following the scandal of the Travelscene Amex agent who fled with $200,000 of clients’ money.

TCF chief executive Glen Wells will travel to the NT, probably within the next month, to urge ministers to re-think their continued absence from the Fund.

Wells has also contacted Mike Thompson, chief executive of Travelscene Amex, to discuss the prospect of sending a joint delegation to the NT to ram home the message to politicians that they need to participate in the scheme.

The NT has so far elected to remain outside the TCF, a decision that has cost many consumers who booked through Travelscene Darwin City significant amount of cash.

The owner of the agency, Jennifer Pfitzner, vanished before Christmas leaving consumers financially stranded and their travel plans wrecked. The issue, which is being investigated by the NT fraud squad, will be raised at the TCF board meeting tomorrow.

Wells said agents and consumers in the NT have contacted the TCF in the aftermath of Pfitzner’s disappearance.

“Agents have asked us how do they get into the fund and we’ve told them they have to speak to their ministers. It must be decreed by the Government,” Wells told Travel Today. “We’ve also had calls from consumers who were unaware the NT was not in the TCF. They have asked us how they can get protection and the only thing we can advise is to book through an agent outside of the NT, which of course is no good to agents up there.”

In the past, 20 of the 30 agents in the NT have wanted to join but the NT Government has adopted an all-or-nothing approach.

Wells said he was hopeful the NT would now recognise the benefits of the TCF.

“I hope to travel to the NT within the next month for talks. I have also contacted Mike Thompson about sending a delegation and it’s something they will look at,” he said.

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