|lucas6280|| Wing On Travel cancels tour and refuses full refund to customer |
Posted: 2009-04-12 00:53:43
An unfair trade practice unheard of anywhere in the world.
Only in Hongkong the customer has to pay even if the tour is canceled by the travel agency. We just experienced this in our last trip to Hongkong (March 9th to April 1st)
Before we left Vancouver, on March 6th we booked Tour CDF06TD (6-day trip to Jiuzhaigou departing March 14th 2009, Booking No. PA17756, departure was confirmed as Wing On had the right number of participants) with Wing On Travel through by phone and deposited HK$1,000 on Visa card. The balance was paid by our friend on the following day direct with Wing On in Hongkong. We then purchased air passage and prepaid hotel in Kowloon based on the tour scheduled dates.
Two hours before the pre-trip briefing on March 11th, we received a call from Wing On that the trip had to be canceled as Jiuzhaigou was temporary closed. We were offered three options:
1) going on another trip through Wing On departing on/ about March 14th, no penalty
2) accept travel coupon valid for 6 months, no penalty
3) take cash refund subject to a penalty (Wing On call this service fee) HK$300 per person
We went to at Wing On's branch at the Bank Centre, Nathan Road, Mongkok. Our efforts in searching for a substitute tour with Wing On was in vain. We reasoned with the counter staff Yip and manager Chu was of no avail, since apparently they were acting on a Travel Industry Council Directive. We finally had to accept cash refund, less HK$600 deducted by Wing On as operating costs.
At the time of making the deposit and/or balance of the payment, we were advised of the various penalties if we withdraw. No mention was made about charges in the event the travel agency cancels the tour.
Terms in all contracts of sale only exempt the contracting parties from liabilities in certain circumstances. In an era when consumers and merchants are getting more and more used to full refund satisfaction guaranteed (or refund by returning the goods within 15/30 days, sometimes subject to restocking fees), it is absurd to ask the customers to pay even though failing to deliver the product.
In the present circumstances, the product (Tour CDF06TD) was NEVER DELIVERED. How could Wing On charge us HK$600 to cover their operation costs for a tour they canceled? How could Wing On expects us to accept travel coupons which means we have to incur additional expenses for airfare and lodging on another trip within six months just to utilize the coupons? We just wonder, if the travel agencies are allowed to charge fees whether the tours depart or not, who in future dare to buy such products?
We placed a complaint with the Consumer Council (File Number CC301/181781/2008). Sadly to say the Consumer Council cannot tell the difference between complaint against the travel agency staff/travel agency and complaint against the TIC directive. They told us that Wing On had the right to take away $600 from us, based on the unfair TIC directive. We were hoping the Consumer Council would fight on the consumers' behalf against an unfair and unreasonable TIC policy.
Similarly, our complaint direct with the Travel Industry Council (File number EL05061) led us nowhere. The TIC officer, Miss Tsui, was courteous, but she cannot help as the TIC directive empowered Wing On to do so.
It is interesting to see how Hongkong promote herself as a travel haven when such unfair trade practice precisely undermines tourists' confidence.
|travelbag|| Re: Wing On Travel cancels tour and refuses full refund to customer |
Posted: 2009-05-06 12:08:50, Edited: 2012-01-02 19:01:59
It is a double trouble when the travel to a nice place is unfulfilled
and on top of that the hassle with the agent...very sad.