Please register your interest to stay up to date with the progress of the investigation here:
Details of the Investigation
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slater and Gordon announced an investigation into the provision of travel vouchers in circumstances where travel has been impacted by COVID.
We believe that major travel providers may have breached their legal obligations by putting in place travel voucher schemes rather than providing their customers with a cash refund.
Status of the Investigation
- Since commencing the investigation, we are pleased to acknowledge that many travel providers and third-party booking operators have abandoned their travel voucher schemes and have instead provided monetary refunds to their customers.
- Notwithstanding this, we understand that there is a division of travel providers and booking agencies within the travel industry, who continue to implement a travel voucher scheme in lieu of monetary refunds. Slater and Gordon is aware of this conduct, and we are continuing to investigate potential claims against these parties.
- However, at this stage we have not and are not commencing Class Action proceedings.
Request a refund
If your travel provider has not provided you with a monetary refund, you may request a refund directly from your travel provider using the template letter of demand below.
We encourage you to independently seek a refund directly from your travel provider using our free tools to assist you.
Free Template Letter of Demand
While your entitlement to a refund (as opposed to credit with your travel provider) will depend upon the specific terms and circumstances of your booking, we would encourage you to review the terms of your booking and consider demanding a refund.
- The template should be completed based on your own experience and circumstances and provided by you to the travel provider directly.
- As you may already be aware, a letter of demand is a letter sent by one party to another, requesting the payment of money which is owed. The letter may set out the circumstances in which a debt was incurred, and details any potential breaches of the party’s legal obligations by failing to make the requested payment.
ACCC Best Practice Guidelines
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently published its ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ concerning the travel industry and the impact of COVID-19 on same (the Guidelines).
The Guidelines set out the obligations of travel providers and booking agents in relation to the treatment of consumers in the current climate, including the provision of travel vouchers and credit notes.
We encourage you to access the Guidelines to further your understanding of the obligations of travel providers and booking agents at this time.
We have identified a number of issues which give rise to possible claims, including:
Issuing ticketholders on cancelled flights with travel vouchers rather than cash refunds.
This may be a breach of the airline’s ‘Conditions of Carriage’, which oblige the airline to either rebook the customer on an acceptable alternative flight or, if this is not possible, provide a cash refund to the customer.
Relying on blanket ‘no refund’ clauses in its terms and conditions.
The ACCC has previously warned Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Tigerair that these clauses will not always be binding. The ACCC has accepted court-enforceable undertakings from each of these airlines, who committed to reviewing their refund policies and compliance programs.
We also consider that ‘no refund’ clauses may not be valid if the agreed contract of travel has been ‘frustrated’ by an event such as COVID-19.
Inducing customers to exchange their tickets for restricted travel vouchers.
The airlines have presented this as an act of generosity, however many customers will have had greater rights if they had held on their ticket than if they exchanged it for a restricted travel voucher. By doing so, the airlines may have misled their customers and engaged in a system of unconscionable conduct.
Continuing to offer and accept payment for international flights which are unlikely to go ahead.
This may breach the prohibition in the Australian Consumer Law on ‘wrongly accepting payment’ for a service when it is reasonable to expect that service will not be able to be provided.
Accordingly, if your travel has been impacted by COVID-19 and you’ve received a voucher, we consider that you may be entitled to a refund.
Register your interest for updates
Slater and Gordon is inviting affected consumers to register their details to receive any updates in relation to this investigation.
You can register your interest in our investigation using one of the forms below.
Frequently asked questions
To register your interest in the class action, it will not cost you anything.
We are investigating claims against airlines, tour companies, cruise operators, travel agencies and third party booking companies.
We will keep you up to date as our investigation progresses.
If we decide to commence a class action against your travel provider(s), we will get in touch with you closer to that time and provide you with more information.
At this stage we have not determined the structure of any proposed class actions, including whether they will be supported by a litigation funder.
Litigation funding companies cover the cost of legal actions – including the cost risks of an unsuccessful action. They do this in exchange for a fee, typically paid from any recoveries made by participants in the class action.
In circumstances you are involved in a litigation funded claim, you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket as payment is only made from the proceeds of the litigation. Additionally, all such costs in class actions must first be approved by the court.
If we decide to commence a class action against a travel provider or travel agency, we will get in touch with you to provide you with more information about the proposed funding agreement.
The value of your claim will depend upon the amount of your booking. Our mission is to recover the amount you paid for your travel.
We are investigating Australian travel agencies and travel providers, including airlines, tour and cruise operators. We are also investigating travel providers whose travel was departing or arriving in Australia.
This should be determined on a case by case basis. At this stage, we are not making blanket recommendations that people should or should not cancel their flights or travel bookings.
If you do wish to cancel your booking, we urge you to consider:
- if the booking is likely to be cancelled by the travel provider;
- if you are entitled to a refund under your booking contract;
- if you will have to pay any cancellation or change fees, pursuant to your contract.
If your booking has already been cancelled and you’ve been provided a credit voucher the travel provider, rest assured, we’re looking into your claim.
All you need to do is register using either the flight or tour/cruise registration form.
At this stage, you have not joined a class action, you have only registered your interest. If we decide to commence an action against your travel provider, we will get in touch with you closer to the time