Travel Agents

CTS Travel liquidation leaves customers in the lurch

Daisy Melwani

An ATAS-accredited Victorian travel agency, CTS Travel Services, has gone into liquidation reportedly leaving many angry holidaymakers thousands of dollars out of pocket.

AFTA has posted notice of the closure of the Altona Meadows agency on its website, referring customers and industry members to contact Queensland liquidator Robson Cotter Insolvency Group, but numerous clients have taken matters into their own hands and launched a Facebook page to help other distraught customers who have been affected following the agency’s sudden closure.

One customer posted pictures showing the agency’s blackened windows’ “closed” sign, and Travel Weekly attempted to contact ATAS-accredited CTS Travel but its website appears to have been shut down, and phone lines disconnected.

The agency director, Jenny Stoodley, who was also unable to be reached, allegedly worked with customers in the lead up to the closure without advising them of the company’s dire situation, according to members of the CTS travel liquidated Facebook page.

According to a report in The Leader, one customer is said to be $9000 out of pocket after paying for flights and accommodation in cash to the agency, receiving a receipt and itinerary but CTS Travel reportedly had not passed on the funds to the suppliers, forcing them to cancel the booking.

While some customers on the Facebook page state they were able to receive compensation from their travel insurance, some were less successful. The same applied for those who paid via credit card, with one posting a Commonwealth Bank statement saying unfortunately as they had authorised the transaction, the Bank had no recourse in obtaining reimbursement on their behalf when the merchant failed to supply goods and services.

Liquidator Roland Robson told the newspaper customers would only find out if they were eligible for refunds after several months.

“When you are looking at a travel agency, physical assets are fairly limited,’’ he told the paper.

Robson is reportedly investigating the company’s affairs to see if any matters should be referred to the Australian Security and Investments Commission and the police, the paper stated.

Travel Weekly also attempted to contact customers of CTS Travel and AFTA for comment.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

5 responses to “CTS Travel liquidation leaves customers in the lurch”

  1. interestingly CBA won’t do a chargeback, probably cos the agency has no assets left & “you can’t get blood from a stone”
    Many people mistakenly believe that their bank will come to the rescue, if they pay by card & one of the entities they booked with goes belly up.
    How dodgy are these banks ?

    • Would make absolutely no difference if they were.
      ATAS offers client no compulsory protection whatsoever!
      They only do a cursory check on company financials (they do not need to be independently auditor certified – you can give them whatever figure you want!)
      Don’t be fooled ATAS is no more than a money making scam.
      As a travel services provider I look forward to the day when a compulsory scheme is put back in place that actually carries a fund that can be used to cover my clients. The only way of doing this now is with the “additional” insurance cover (that the cost of is a complete unknown and you are charged to even get a quote – admittedly recompensed this charge if you take the additional insurance) – by taking this additional cover puts smaller agencies at a very big disadvantage financially and makes us uncompetitive as we try to recover this cost. There is only one provider of this insurance which is in bed with ATAS – there is no alternative on the market.
      Hopefully there will be an alternative scheme at some point so I can guarantee my clients funds, until then….

      • I get it Mr Human. I understand ATAS fully. The insurance solutions are not solutions esp for small to medium businesses and places a heavy admin and cost burden on the business. As you say those schemes are just not the answer. There are a number of alternatives to another TCF style scheme (which I do not agree with). 1, Encourage clients to use travel insurers who now include provider failure in their policy eg CHI. 2. Use virtual credit cards ie enett VANS to pay wholesalers, DMC etc so if they fail your business can chargeback and reimburse your clients (even those who paid by cash or cheque!). The other point is no amount of insurance schemes, central funds and regulation will prevent dishonest people ripping people off. We need to be very careful as an industry to avoid seeking costly regulation and protection schemes which protect consumers against the 1% of bad apples. Because the 99% end up paying for it. Be careful what you wish for. Honest and prudent businesses will be okay.

  2. ATAS accredited, and the Directors partner had two failed businesses under TCF. As he wasn’t listed as a director – they passed the test. De-regulation will kill this industry. Tip of the iceberg here.

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