TICO's Role in Consumer Complaints
We hope that the travel services you receive from Ontario's registered travel retailers and travel wholesalers are excellent. However, if you are unsatisfied with any aspect of your travel services, AND you have already tried to resolve this issue with your travel agent, you may contact the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) for information or assistance in dealing with your complaint. Learn more about TICO's role in assisting with consumer complaints.
TICO accepts complaints from consumers against Ontario registered travel retailers and/or travel wholesalers, and its role is to facilitate the flow of information between the consumer and the travel company to assist in resolving a dispute. Pursuant to its mandate of administering and enforcing the Travel Industry Act, 2002, TICO also reviews all information received to determine if regulatory action is required. If such is the case, this will be dealt with separately from assisting with the resolution of the complaint. It is important to note that TICO does not have the authority to settle a dispute, or to impose a settlement, and it does not have the authority or mandate to act as an arbitrator in any complaint matter. TICO recommends that you put your complaint in writing to the travel company involved, explain why you are not satisfied and explain how the matter could be resolved to your satisfaction. If the company's response is not satisfactory to you, then you have the option of filing a written complaint with TICO.
How to Contact TICO
Remember, if you would like to talk to someone about your travel experiences or have concerns or questions, contact TICO’s Complaints Department.
TICO’s Complaints Department is here to assist you with any questions.
Phone: (905) 624-6241
Toll free: (888) 451-TICO (8426)
TICO Complaint Handling Process
Tell Us About Your Complaint:
If you are not sure of the obligations of the travel agent or wholesalers, you can call TICO and speak with one of our Complaints Officers. They can provide you with information about the Travel Industry Act, 2002 that may assist you in determining what your next steps might be.
Initiating a Formal Complaint:
If you have attempted to resolve your complaint by contacting your travel retailer or travel wholesaler, and after speaking with our Complaints Officers you would like to submit a formal complaint, TICO will send you a Complaint Form. You then need to complete the Complaint Form in full and return it to TICO with all supporting documentation.
Investigating Your Complaint:
Once we know your concerns, we can begin looking into your complaint. In most cases, TICO will contact your travel agent or the wholesaler you dealt with about your complaint and ask him or her to respond to us. We will then tell you what he or she said in reply. As well, TICO will review all information received to determine if regulatory action is needed.
When TICO receives a complaint, it may be resolved in anywhere from a few hours over the telephone to a few weeks or months for a formal written complaint. The length of time varies depending on the complexity of the issues, the availability of information and documentation and the level of cooperation of those involved.
Where possible, TICO will try to assist both you and the company involved in reaching a settlement that is satisfactory to both parties. Should a satisfactory outcome not be reached, you may wish to seek legal counsel and/or pursue your complaint through the legal system.
Resolution of a Complaint:
Once a complaint has been resolved or it has been determined that a mutual settlement between the parties is not possible, TICO will close its complaint file.
Should TICO not be successful in assisting you to reach an acceptable solution, you have the option of seeking legal counsel and pursuing the matter through the legal system. TICO’s complaint’s process does involve a review of all the information and documentation received against the provisions under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05 to ascertain whether there has been a contravention of the legislation by the travel retailer or travel wholesaler involved. Any possible infractions are referred to TICO’s Compliance Department for further review based on the information provided. The purpose of this referral is to enable TICO’s compliance staff to review the file to determine whether there has been any non-compliance with the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and/or Ontario Regulation 26/05 and that such referrals are therefore not directed at obtaining compensation for specific complaints, but for the purpose of enforcing the legislation.
Any administrative action that may be taken in relation to TICO’s enforcement of the Act and Regulation is between TICO and the travel retailer or travel wholesaler involved. Where appropriate, TICO does require the registrant to initiate corrective measures in an effort to prevent similar situations from affecting future travelers. Any such action or measures taken by the Registrar would be dealt with separately from assisting with the resolution of the complaint. Information provided by consumers is helpful to the Travel Registrar in enforcing and administering the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05.
Compensation for Problems Experienced:
TICO does not have the authority to force or compel a registrant to provide compensation. TICO does not have the authority or mandate to act as an arbitrator or to impose a settlement in any complaint matter. Consumers that remain dissatisfied may consider discussing the issue with legal counsel and pursuing the matter through the legal system.
It should be noted that the Compensation Fund does not reimburse consumers on the basis of dissatisfaction with travel services that were received or to provide compensation for customer service issues. For more information about the Compensation Fund and its coverage – click here.
Dissatisfaction with TICO’s Handling of a Complaint:
TICO will strive to reach an equitable resolution acceptable to all parties involved; however, TICO’s power is limited as it does not have the authority to force or compel its registrants to provide a reimbursement or compensation and it cannot act as an arbitrator in any complaint matter. The purpose and function of TICO’s complaints process is to assist consumers with complaints against Ontario travel retailers and travel wholesalers and to work towards reaching an equitable resolution for the consumer. In some cases, TICO is successful in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution; however, this is not always possible. Where appropriate, TICO does require the registrant to initiate corrective measures in an effort to prevent similar situations from affecting future travelers. Any action taken by the Registrar is dealt with separately from assisting with resolution of the complaint.
However, if you remain dissatisfied with TICO’s handling of your complaint, you may proceed to TICO’s Complaints Committee, whose responsibility is to review the manner in which your complaint was handled by TICO staff and to determine if further action is necessary. If you wish the Complaints Committee to review TICO’s handling of your complaint, please contact TICO’s Complaints Department with your request.
TICO’s Complaints Department is here to assist you with any questions.
Additional Useful Information about Complaints
When you have a complaint against an Ontario travel agency and/or tour operator:
TICO will address a complaint only after the consumer has made an attempt to resolve the matter directly with the travel agency and/or travel wholesaler. TICO recommends that you put your complaint in writing to the travel company involved, explain why you are not satisfied and explain how the matter could be resolved to your satisfaction.
If you remain dissatisfied with the company’s response, then you have the option of filing a written complaint through TICO.
Examples of some complaint issues with which TICO can assist:
- I was denied boarding for my flight or cruise because I was not advised by my travel agent of the proper travel documentation.
- I did not receive an invoice/receipt from my travel agency after booking and making a payment for travel services.
- My invoice did not contain the Terms and Conditions of my booking.
- My travel agent charged me a counseling/service fee that was never brought to my attention prior to completing my booking.
- I was not advised at the time of booking of any fees or penalties for making changes or cancelling my travel services.
- My travel agent did not advise me of the availability of trip cancellation or out-of-province health insurance.
- My hotel or cruise ship was changed without notice.
- My flight departure time was delayed or advanced by more than 24 hours.
- My hotel did not supply all the amenities that were advertised by the tour operator in their brochure or on their website when I booked.
- I have a question about a price increase.
Examples of complaint issues with which TICO cannot assist:
While the problems listed below may be valid, they are unfortunately outside the scope of the legislation:
- Dissatisfaction with the customer service provided by my travel agent.
- My hotel in destination was not up to my expectations with regards to food, cleanliness and the customer service provided by hotel staff.
- The hotel is advertised as a 5 star property but I feel it is no more than a 3 star property.
- I experienced customer service issues while in destination.
- I decided to cancel my vacation due to a hurricane and I want a refund.
- I made a booking last week and now the price has dropped.
TICO recommends that consumers keep in mind that different living standards exist outside Canada and there is not an international standard for rating hotels. You may always contact TICO’s Complaints Department to see if your issues fall within our jurisdiction.
Requests for information regarding complaints against a particular travel company:
TICO’s records in relation to the administration and enforcement of the Act and Regulation are confidential and details of any complaints can not be released to the public. TICO will confirm whether or not a travel company is properly registered with TICO as required under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 to operate and sell travel services in the Province of Ontario.
Administrative action against a travel agency or travel wholesaler by TICO:
TICO examines all complaints to see if there has been a breach of the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and/or Ontario Regulation 26/05. When a complaint involves allegations of non-compliance with the Act, the Registrar will undertake the necessary compliance and enforcement activities. TICO will require the registered travel company involved to initiate corrective measures in an effort to prevent similar situations from affecting future travelers. Any compliance activity is dealt with separately from assisting with resolution of the complaint. Any compliance or enforcement related activities conducted by TICO are confidential and are between the travel agency and/or travel wholesaler and TICO.
Complaints against an Airline:
Airlines are not covered by provincial travel legislation. They are federally regulated. You can contact the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to obtain assistance with airline problems.
Canadian Air Transportation Agency
Air Travel Complaints Program
15 Eddy Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N9
Tel: 1-(888) 222-2592
Complaints regarding bookings made with a travel company located outside of Ontario:
TICO’s jurisdiction is limited to travel retailers and travel wholesalers located and operating in Ontario. We have no authority with respect to travel companies operating outside of the province. With internet booking engines, it is increasingly possible to book with companies located anywhere in the world. Always look for the TICO registration number to ensure that you are dealing with a company that is registered in Ontario.
If you are unsure whether the company is registered with TICO, contact TICO at 1-888-451-TICO or go to TICO’s website at www.tico.ca to use TICO’s Travel Agency Search feature to find out if the company is registered.
Complaints in relation to timeshares and travel membership companies:
Travel timeshare and membership companies are not regulated under the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002. Therefore, TICO would not be able to assist you. For questions or concerns related to timeshare or membership companies you should contact:
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Tel: (416) 326-8800 or1 (800) 889-9768