italktravel Tuggerah and Inca Tours have both been stripped of their ATAS travel accredited status, after liquidators were called in to close down the businesses.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) was contacted by appointed liquidator, Jirsch Sutherland, who has commenced the process of winding up the business, with both companies based in NSW under common ownership.
A statement from AFTA this morning stated that “AFTA has been made aware that there are a number of consumers impacted by this situation, and it would appear that the industry is doing what it can to assist under the circumstances”.
Contact details for the liquidator are:
Phone: 02 49656500
Postal: PO Box 693 Newcastle NSW 2300
According to AFTA, italktravel BookSafe will provide protection for consumer bookings made in the italktravel Tuggerah store.
AFTA said this incident was a reminder of “the importance of having consumer protection securely in place for these circumstances”.
The circumstances of the Inca Tour bookings are yet to be known, however, any travel agents who have bookings with Inca Tours and are participants in the AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) may be able to make a claim subject to participation commencement.
In June last year, AFTA launched a new initiative, the Insolvency Chargeback Scheme, to help travel agents with the risks associated with chargebacks in the event of supplier failure.
The Scheme was the first ever mutual fund solution to address the issues of consumer chargebacks when suppliers fail and the travel agent has passed the customer’s money onto the supplier.
According to AFTA’s statement this morning, they are advising consumers and travel agents who have been impacted to invoke a chargeback if payments were made by credit card.
They should also contact local Police to commence criminal charges against the principles, where payments and deposits had been paid for future travel that will now not be able to be taken.
AFTA assured agents they would provide further updates as more information becomes available.