Didn’t get travel services?
Looking for information for situations where your travel was cancelled by the supplier, perhaps for COVID-related issues or bad weather? If you booked your travel online, by phone, email, or fax, and the services weren’t provided to you by the supplier, you may have options to pursue through BC’s distance sales laws.
Travel agents and wholesalers in BC must be licensed and meet certain requirements. Ensure that your travel plans are protected by booking with a licensed BC travel agent. The Travel Assurance Fund (TAF) is a possible source of compensation if you don’t get the travel services you bought and is only available if you booked with a licensed agent or wholesaler.
Book with a licensed travel agent/wholesaler.
Each claim is assessed on a case-by-case basis and the dollar value is for the travel services that were not received, it does not cover the travel you purchase to replace the lost travel (even if it is more expensive). The Travel Assurance Fund is also available to licensed travel agents or wholesalers who compensated consumers who did not receive travel.
It’s important to know that this is a fund of last resort, which means if you plan on applying you will need to have tried to get a refund from all other sources available. This includes:
- your licensed travel agent
- your credit card company (if you paid by credit card)
- your travel insurance provider (if you purchased travel insurance)
- if you booked your travel online, by email, or by phone, you must also try to get a refund through BC’s distance sales laws
You must go to these sources first and get written proof that you have been denied a refund. Please keep all records of your communications.
Please read what isn’t eligible in the next section.
Understand the claim process in the section below called “steps to take before making a claim to the Travel Assurance Fund”.
While the Travel Assurance Fund may reimburse up to the cost of the original services in a contract, it doesn’t cover the cost of any replacement bookings you make such as booking at another hotel or flight.
The following is also not covered by the Travel Assurance Fund:
- gift certificates, or unused credits
- dissatisfaction with the quality of service you received
- your plans changed or you missed your flight
- natural disasters or bad weather (this includes pandemic-related changes to travel)
- cancellation due to health or other issues when you were the one who cancelled the services
- lost or stolen baggage
- insurance top-ups
Check the licence of a BC travel agent/wholesaler.
STEP 1: Start by attempting to get a refund from the following sources:
- contact your licensed travel agent to request a refund, if denied, go to the next bullets
- if you paid by credit card, contact your provider right away to request a chargeback
- make a claim against your travel insurance, if applicable
If the business has filed for bankruptcy, file a claim with the bankruptcy trustee.
If you have proof that you’ve been denied by your travel agent, credit card, and/or if applicable, your insurance provider, follow Step 2.
STEP 2(a): Did you book online/by email/by phone with a licensed BC travel agent?
When you buy something online or over the phone and the business doesn’t supply your goods or services, you may be entitled to a refund under BC’s “distance sales” laws.
You must follow the steps below exactly. Please understand that this process takes a fair bit of time, and the timelines are outlined in law.
- 30 days after your scheduled travel: Cancel your contract with your travel agent using our cancellation form and send it directly to the BC travel agency you purchased in a way that proves it was delivered (registered mail, fax, or email). If applicable, you may also want to share a Bankruptcy notification with your cancellation. The law gives them 15 days to provide a refund. If the travel agency has ceased operations, it’s still important to send this cancellation notice to the address/email address/fax you have for them (and keep proof that you’ve sent it).
- If you haven’t gotten a full refund from your supplier within 15 days, go back to your credit card provider and officially request a reversal of charges using our form in a way that proves it was delivered (registered mail, fax or email). The law gives them 15 days to provide a refund. If applicable, you may also want to provide them with a bankruptcy notification.
- If your credit card company denies your request for a reversal of charges, you may be eligible to claim against BC’s Travel Assurance Fund. Claims must be made within six (6) months of the date of loss (your travel date and include all supporting documentation).
STEP 2(b): Did you book in person with a licensed BC travel agent?
You may be eligible to claim against the Travel Assurance Fund. Read the rest of this page to understand the process and eligibility.
To submit a claim, fill out the claim form and provide all of the following supporting documentation:
- proof that travel services were not provided. This could be a purchase of alternate travel, a letter from the airline, or a letter from a travel agent.
- if you purchased travel services with a credit card you must provide a letter from your credit card provider stating they are unable to reverse the charges
- if you purchased travel insurance you must provide a letter from your insurance provider explaining why they cannot reimburse you
- if the travel agent is still in business you must provide a letter from them stating why they cannot refund you
- any other documents you have to support your claim
If you do not have one or more of the items mentioned above, you must include a letter in your claim explaining why you can’t provide it.
This receipt must have the following information:
- the date you made payment or received a refund
- the name and address of the person making the payment
- the business name, address, telephone number and license number
- the amount paid, along with any outstanding balance
- a detailed description of the services, including the travel dates
This is a summary, not an exhaustive list.
Read the Travel Industry Regulation, section 12.1
Read our consumer tips on travel services.