The defunct WA travel agency who took to social media to allegedly abuse customers has left travellers $175,000 out of pocket.
According to latest news reports, the warning by Consumer Protection for customers to check if flights and accommodation bookings made by Sky Air Services had been paid to operators, sparked calls from 51 clients with an estimated total loss standing at $175,000 yesterday afternoon.
Perth Now reports eight West Australian travellers to be currently stranded in Serbia or Croatia with no confirmed return flight.
Consumer Protection told the paper there were 9 other customers who had to make re-bookings costing an estimated $30,000.
In a surprising move, it appeared the Fremantle travel agency posted abusive comments hurled at consumers on Facebook after complaints were made. The company’s Facebook page appears to be inactive today.
Consumer Protection advises customers who bookings using a credit card to potentially seek a chargeback from their card provider. Unfortunately those who made cash payments or direct bank transfer will most likely be unable to recoup lost funds.
“Unfortunately those who have paid by direct bank transfer may not be able to access redress in this way, which serves as a reminder not to pay for travel services in this way. People in this situation should still speak with their bank about what options they may have,” Consumer Protection Commissioner, Anne Driscoll said.
“It is also worth checking your travel insurance policy and speaking with your insurance provider to see whether you are covered in this particular situation.”
Sky Air Services is no longer affiliated with a company of the same name in Melbourne, and the agency was neither a member of AFTA nor ATAS accredited.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has since deregistered the business.