No matter how much you try to prepare for a trip, there is a possibility that something may go wrong with your trip. Travelers should be aware of their rights and on how they can complain if any of these rights is violated. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is an organization that is comprised of travel agents and companies that sell tours, cruises and airline seats. They are advocates of the traveling public and they have provided some tips on how consumers can file a complaint against a travel agency.
During The Trip
It is advisable to resolve an issue right away to prevent it from getting worse. Even though the issue won’t be resolved, you have to make them aware of your dissatisfaction should you want to file a formal complaint after you have returned from a trip.
Always review your itinerary to verify if your complaint has some grounds. Speak up about any problems that you have and inform the person in charge of your concern. It will also help to take note of the names of the people that you have spoken to about your concern along with the date, time, and location of your conversation. In the event that you have to spend some money to resolve the issue, keep all your receipts for reference.
After The Trip
Before filing a complaint after you have returned from the trip, it will be wise to review all the materials that were provided to you by the travel agency to verify if your concern has merit. It is also important to note that there are some things, such as the weather, that are out of the agency’s control. If you feel that the issue is valid, you can write a letter to the company that you feel should be responsible. Be as detailed as possible regarding the issue that causes your dissatisfaction. You can also include information on how you want to be compensated for what happened, but be realistic with your request. Make it a point to provide the travel agent a copy of your complaint letter.
Pursuance Of The Complaint
There are times that complaints cannot be satisfied by directly contacting the company involved or they fail to respond to your letter of complaint. For this situation, you may contact the Better Business Bureau, a Consumer Affairs office of the government, or the ASTA’s Consumer Affairs Department. Although, one of ASTA’s jobs is to informally mediate between the traveler and the travel agency, so the agency must be a member of ASTA and you can check it via ASTA’s website. The complaint must be less than 6 months old and a written complaint must be sent via email or regular mail to their Consumer Affairs Department. Remember that ASTA can only mediate but they can’t prosecute, impose fines or demand a refund for you.
It is really a big inconvenience when something goes wrong with your holiday trip, but there is a formal complaint process that you can go through to compensate for the trouble.