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Travel Compensation Fund 

This page provides information to consumers about the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF). The TCF ceased accepting new consumer claims from 1 July 2015, and closed at the end of 2015.

Travel industry reforms

On 7 December 2012, a majority of state and territory Ministers for Consumer Affairs approved a Travel Industry Transition Plan setting out reforms to travel agents’ regulation.

Travel agents are no longer required to hold a licence or be members of the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF), however, they still have to comply with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The ACL protects consumers when purchasing travel services, under a range of 'consumer guarantees'. Under the ACL, travel agents must:

  • ensure that their promotional material and other information is not false or misleading
  • inform consumers of any increase in costs or changes as soon as possible
  • provide accurate quotations and ensure optional surcharges are clear and prominently displayed.

Using an accredited agent

Consumers can consider booking travel with an accredited agency which is required to meet certain professional standards and criteria. The AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) provides accreditation for general travel agency services, while other bodies provide accreditation for specific areas of the industry such as ticketing or particular types of travel. Agents who belong to any industry-based accreditation or membership schemes will also need to meet any ongoing requirements imposed by those schemes. To find an accredited agent, visit the ATAS website.

If things go wrong

The following options may be available:

  • lodge a complaint with your state or territory consumer affairs agency
  • if you used an ATAS-accredited agent, they should have a dispute resolution procedure in place or you can contact ATAS directly
  • if you paid with a credit card or selected 'credit' on your debit card, contact your bank or credit card provider as soon as possible as you may be eligible for a refund as the services were not provided under their chargeback* rules.
  • if the problem is with an airline you may be able to complain to the Airline Customer Advocate (ACA) scheme, visit the ACA website for information about participating airlines and the complaint procedures
  • check your travel insurance policy, to see what you are covered for. 

*A chargeback is the term used for debiting a merchant’s bank account with the amount of a transaction that had previously been credited.

State and territory consumer affairs agencies

Access Canberra 
NSW Fair Trading 
NT Consumer Affairs 
Fair Trading Queensland 
SA Consumer and Business Services 
Tasmanian Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading 
Consumer Affairs Victoria  
WA Department of Commerce