Online travel agency Bestjet Travel Pty Ltd (Bestjet) entered voluntary administration on 18 December 2018. The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has published information for affected customers.
“This is a peak period for families and individuals going on holidays and we know that many people have been affected by Bestjet’s collapse,” said AFCA CEO and Chief Ombudsman David Locke. “We want to make sure that these customers know what they can do to try and recover their payments to Bestjet.”
“We understand that some Bestjet customers have either not received their airline ticket, or have had their ticket cancelled. Depending on how you paid for your airline ticket, there are different courses of action to get your money back,” continued Mr Locke. “If you’re not sure whether your ticket is valid, you should contact your airline to get confirmation.”
If the ticket was purchased using a credit card
Customers that purchased their tickets via credit card may be able to get their money back by asking their financial institution to “chargeback” the transaction.
A chargeback is a process of reversing a charge made on a cardholder’s credit card account.
Credit card schemes (e.g. Visa, Mastercard and AMEX) have rules outlining when a transaction can be charged back. One reason can be when goods or services are purchased but are not provided by the merchant, such as in this case.
Time limits do apply to when a chargeback can be raised. The time limit is usually 120 days from when the customer becomes aware the merchant will not provide the goods or services they purchased.
We recommend that you check the time limit for your credit card company directly to ensure you act within the appropriate time limits.
We also encourage all customers who purchased tickets from Bestjet by credit card to contact their financial institution as soon as possible to request the chargeback. Customers should note that it can take 4-6 weeks for the outcome of a chargeback to be finalised.
For customers who are unhappy with their financial firm’s response, the next step is to lodge a complaint with us online, via email or by telephone.
If the ticket was purchased using cash
If the ticket was purchased using cash, customers may qualify as an unsecured creditor of Bestjet. For more information about what it means to be an unsecured creditor, please visit the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.
Whether unsecured creditors receive their money back will depend on the outcome of Bestjet’s administration.
We encourage all customers who paid Bestjet by cash and have not received their ticket or have had their ticket cancelled contact Bestjet’s administrator, and complete a Proof of Debt or claim form.
If you have travel insurance
Your travel insurance policy may provide cover for the insolvency or collapse of travel agents. Whether you are covered will depend on the policy type and wording, including any applicable exclusions. If you have travel insurance we encourage you to contact your insurance company directly to ensure you have the correct information for your situation.
If you have raised a complaint with your insurance company but have been unable to resolve the matter, the next step is to lodge a complaint with us online, via email or by telephone.
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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a free and independent ombudsman service that resolves complaints by consumers and small businesses about financial firms. AFCA was established following the 2016 Ramsay Review into how Australia’s external dispute resolution framework could be improved to deliver effective outcomes for all Australian consumers and small business.
On 1 November 2018, AFCA replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal as the one-stop-shop for financial dispute resolution. Consumers and small businesses can lodge a complaint to AFCA online at afca.org.au, via email to email@example.com or by phoning 1800 931 678.