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  1. Registrants Charging Fees or Penalties

A Registrant can not charge a fee or penalty to process a refund when it was not disclosed at the time of booking nor stated on the customer’s invoice

It has come to TICO’s attention that some customers are being charged and/or invoiced for fees and/or penalties to process refunds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we appreciate the frustration that many of you feel as a result of the strain the travel industry is currently under, it is imperative that you continue to adhere to the laws and regulations that govern your business.

Relevant section of the regulation: 36(c) and 38 (d) of Ontario Regulation 26/05

 

  1. Registrant Obligation to Issue Voucher or Similar Document

This requirement pertains to registrants who have engaged suppliers to bundle multiple travel services (e.g., airfare, accommodations, cruise and/or ground transportation), which you advertised as pre-packaged travel services and re-sold to either other registrants or customers for a single price.

TICO continues to receive customer complaints regarding a number of registrants who are not reimbursing customers, or at a minimum issuing vouchers representing value equal to travel services purchased and not provided, for future travel services for packaged tours and holidays that were cancelled by the registrant, indefinitely postponed and/or no longer available to the customer as suppliers declared a failure to provide services (ex. airlines, cruise lines, hotels, etc.) related to COVID-19.  This may include situations where it has been suggested to the customer that they have the option of cancelling when in fact the services are no longer available.

We understand some customers may have purchased insurance which may provide full or partial reimbursement, but unless fully covered, the Registrant still has the obligation to ensure the customer has been made whole.

For comprehensive information on vouchers, please refer to our Registrar Bulletin on Vouchers and Similar Documents . “Voucher” includes a certificate, coupon or similar document redeemable for travel services.

Note: Where a registrant has only sold another registrant’s package, and not acquired any rights to those components for resale, the registrant that sells to the customer is not subject to this provision.

 

  1. Reimbursement required for customers whose trips were cut short

As outlined in above, the issuance of vouchers also applies if the customer was at the destination and their travel services (e.g. vacation) abruptly ended. Those registrants who packaged services are required to provide a voucher for the value of travel services not provided.

Example:

TICO understands that these are challenging and uncertain times for businesses; however, it is important to note that as the Regulator, TICO is legally obligated to uphold the legislation.

 

Should you have any questions regarding this issue, TICO’s Compliance Team will be pleased to assist you and may be contacted at Tel: 1-888-451-TICO  (8426) or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.