Bruce and Anne* were just three short weeks away from their once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa. The couple purchased their vacation through a licensed BC travel agent. A few weeks before their trip, Bruce received an unexpected email from his travel agent. The business had gone bankrupt. Bruce and Anne were not going to Africa.
“I was in shock, but I felt I should do whatever I could to protect myself,” says Bruce. The travel agent sent a link to Consumer Protection BC’s website, noting that some clients may be able to get help there.
Bruce called Consumer Protection BC right away. “I honestly wasn’t expecting anything from the organization, and certainly not expecting to talk to someone so quickly.” Bruce spent the next day and a half getting his paperwork together. Speaking to the process of the claim procedure, Bruce recalls “I was able to phone in, more than once, and speak with the same person. I also faxed my paperwork attention to that person. I always felt like someone was there for me.”
After some hard work and quick planning, Bruce and his wife were able to get to Africa, spending three extraordinary weeks meeting new people and soaking up the culture. Shortly after their return, Bruce received a cheque from Consumer Protection BC’s Travel Assurance Fund, covering the majority of money he had paid to the licensed travel agent for services not received. “I feel very lucky to live in British Columbia, and it’s a wonderful thing to have this assurance.”
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
Interested in more information?
This is a real story of consumers who came to us for help. Consumer Protection BC is responsible for regulating aspects of the travel industry in the province, including the licensing of all travel agencies and travel wholesalers based in BC. The Travel Assurance Fund (TAF) provides a possible source of compensation when consumers do not receive the travel services they purchased through a BC licensed travel agent. As Bruce and Anne purchased their vacation package through a BC licensed travel agent, they were able to receive compensation.
For more information including the eligibility requirements of the TAF, please visit our Consumer Help page. If you are interested in reading more consumer stories, please read our 2015 Annual Report.