Travel Agents

Travel agent scam leaves Aussies thousands of dollars out of pocket

A travel agency that continued to trade after being placed in liquidation has left dozens of Aussie travellers thousands of dollars out of pocket, with some left stranded at the airport.

In interviews with Nine’s A Current Affair (ACA), two couples told similar stories of having booked airfares only to later find they had been cancelled.

Carolyn and Rodney Baldwin told ACA they arrived at the airport only to be told their tickets to Bali had been cancelled. The couple tried to call Habib Jabir, their travel agent and the owner of Swan Travel but were unable to reach him.

The two were forced to purchase new tickets for $2,600.

“First I was embarrassed, but it quickly turned to anger when I realised he [the travel agent] had been stringing us along,” Rodney told ACA.

Another couple who had booked flights with Swan Travel were not so lucky. Ursula and Ahmed had booked flights to Lebanon to see Ahmed’s sick father along with tickets to Bali for their own wedding. The couple became suspicious when Jabir demanded they pay close to $8,000 in cash for the tickets but handed over the money anyway, fearing they would miss out on the flights.

“He kept contacting my partner over and over again by phone and then he said, ‘look, I’ll just come over and pick up the money’,” Ursula told ACA.

Ursula called Emirates directly and discovered their tickets had been cancelled, but by the time they went looking for Jabir, he had already disappeared, emptying his office, selling his apartment and deleting his social media.

The couple were forced to use the money they’d saved for their honeymoon to attend their own wedding.

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) an application to wind up Swan Travel was launched in February last year, which ACA reported was due to its inability to pay a debt to Helloworld Travel, leading the company to be placed into liquidation two months later.

Despite this, it’s being reported Jabir continued to trade until mid-October.

“He’s a dishonourable person,” Carolyn told ACA.

“He’s just immoral.”

Jayson Westbury from the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) also commented on Jabir’s illegal dealings.

“If this person is taking the money off these people on the basis that they’re going on a holiday and then doesn’t provide them with that holiday, that is fraud,” Westbury said.

Fair Trading NSW said consumers who are dissatisfied in their dealings with Swan Travel prior to 17 April, when the company was placed into liquidation, should contact the liquidators to request further assistance. Those who paid with credit or debit cards are also advised to contact their credit provider to apply for a credit card chargeback.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “Travel agent scam leaves Aussies thousands of dollars out of pocket”

  1. Ah yes!! Wasn’t life so much better under the ‘old’ licensing system.
    Qualifications and experience … and the TCF to protect consumers from ‘shonky’ operators.
    Have we really moved forward? I think not. I cringe whenever I read that consumers being taken for their hard earned, it smears the whole not just the one.
    For mine, it was an opportunity missed to continue with a system that actually worked and protected the consumer to move to a system of quasi-self regulation.

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: MSC to launch eco-conscious tours, cruise returns to bushfire-affected NSW South Coast + MORE!

If, like us, you’re avoiding a stockpile of emails accrued over the long weekend like the plague, this week’s Cruise Wrap is the perfect five-minute distraction.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Sabre announces new deals with two hotel giants

The tech player has eked out fresh partnerships with two hotel behemoths, one of which has been in the news lately for controversial reasons.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes off the coast of Jamaica and Cuba

An earthquake that triggered a tsunami warning has hit off the coast of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands, with reports alleging it was felt as far as Miami.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie travel company shares take a hit amid Coronavirus fears

by Christian Fleetwood

As growing fears of the scale of coronavirus continue to reverberate across the world, Australian travel companies are among those taking hits to their share prices.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Pilot busted for writing racial slurs and pro-Trump graffiti in airport

The pilot was caught allegedly scrawling “TRUMP4EVER” around the airport, among other things. It is not confirmed whether the Trump comment was written inside a love heart with an arrow through it.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Instagrammer accidentally captures penguin porn while trying to take perfect selife

An Instagrammer has admitted to being so caught up in capturing the perfect selfie she failed to notice a pair of fornicating penguins had photobombed her shot.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Carb-themed hotel room opens in New York

If you’re celiac, gluten-intolerant or just trying to avoid deliciously unhealthy food, you should probably skip this one. Or, use it as an excuse to stock up on croissants like we did.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise & Maritime Voyages joins CLIA Australasia, rejoins CLIA Europe

Did you hear champagne corks popping in the CMV offices this morning? Click here to find out why.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

The Travel Corporation’s John Veitch exits

TTC’s Aussie CEO has announced he is flying the coop to take up a role outside of the travel industry.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Reef House’s Ben Canham

This week, Reef House’s executive chef cooked us a feast while we picked his brain… just kidding! We devoured an entire tub of hummus and emailed him the questions.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Delta’s world-first parallel reality experience, Boeing’s new jet takes flight + MORE!

With only four days of work, we’re welcoming this week with an Aviation Wrap, a handful of hobnobs and an overwhelming hangover.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Indonesia seeks massive $9.7bn investment alongside ‘10 New Balis’ project

It might be a few years away before you can sell a few equally wonderful alternatives to Bali, but keep these Indonesian destinations on your radar.

Share

CommentComments