Travel Agents

Collapse chaos prompts stern words from AFTA

Anne Majumdar

As chaos continues to unfold following the collapse of Value World Travel, Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive Jayson Westbury has underlined the need to eliminate such behaviour within the industry.

The Blacktown-based agency, which changed hands two weeks ago, went into liquidation last week, with an estimated 2170 customers believed to have paid for non-existent airline tickets for the Diwali and Christmas period. Total consumers losses have been valued at upwards of $3 million. Many customers were shocked to discover the tickets had been cancelled upon arriving at Sydney Airport throwing their travel plans into disarray.

“While the circumstances and detail about Value Tours are still not completely known, these situations are never welcomed by consumers or the travel industry,” Westbury told Travel Weekly.

“This type of behaviour has to stop and AFTA will work with the authorities to ensure that the full force of the law is imposed on the directors of this business if there is any findings that amount to fraud.”

He stressed that Value World Travel was not ATAS-accredited. “It would seem that our criteria would have been too difficult for them to meet given the situation,” he said.

The corporate regulator had banned two of Value World Travel’s former directors Neni Vijayant Tiwary and Gargi Tripathi from managing companies in January this year as a result of the collapse of two green slip insurance businesses in 2012.

Meanwhile, liquidator Jirsch Sutherland & Co has been flooded with calls as consumers were advised to register as an unsecured creditor. Those who paid by credit card should check with their financial institution to see if they are eligible for a credit card chargeback, while those with travel insurance should also check their policy.

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