Couple’s bitter battle with Flight Centre
A QUEENSLAND couple battling to get a $2000 deposit returned after their holiday was cancelled are pushing for a class action against Flight Centre.
Robyn and Paul Wright said they joined a group called Flight Centre Class Action Australia after a bitter eight-week wrangle for their money, which included $198 for Gold Seal Protection travel insurance.
The couple, from Logan, said Flight Centre had also told them they had to pay an additional $300 each in cancellation fees.
However, the additional $600 charge was overturned yesterday after a deluge of more than 6000 complaints to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Some Flight Centre customers received letters and emails last night from Flight Centre executive general manager Allisa O'Connell alerting customers that the additional fees would be waived.
"The decision to waive fees will impact our business," the letter said.
"Nevertheless we have heard your feedback and we believe this step is the right one for the current economic conditions where stand-downs and job losses are a daily occurrence for many Australians.
"Please note this waiver applies to our fees - we cannot waive fees or conditions that airlines and other third-party suppliers impose."
Flight Centre announced in March it would close 100 of its most underproductive stores across Australia this year due to the impact of the coronavirus.
But the Wrights said they would continue with their class action push as there was still no guarantee they would get their deposit back.
They said their two-month battle with the travel centre took its toll last week when Mr Wright tried to commit suicide and was admitted to hospital over the incident.
The couple signed up to take their first overseas trip to Europe in February when they attended the World Travel Expo at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
They paid $1000 deposit to Flight Centre agent at the expo which was advertised for having access to exclusive travel deals for cruises, rail and flights.
Mr Wright made a further $1000 payment a week later, stipulating that it would also include $198 to take out Gold Seal Protection insurance
"This was a deal we signed up for at a travel expo on February 16 where the industry's experts were gathered but were still selling these packages," Mrs Wright said.
"We also took out the additional Gold Seal insurance to cover ourselves in case anything went wrong.
"The trip to Europe was not until April next year so we thought it would be safe but now with many airlines going broke, we want out.
"My husband has taken this very seriously as he is concerned about his own work prospects over the next year and not being able to get the money back was the last straw."
Flight Centre yesterday said the couple would be refunded $1400 and the remaining $400 would be returned after Flight Centre received that money back from Trafalgar Tours, which organises itineraries.
If you or someone you know needs help call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Originally published as Couple's bitter battle with Flight Centre