In the midst of the pandemic, without doubt, tourism is one of the most badly affected. Hence, several programs and campaign has been launch especially to boost local tourism as well as to promote domestic travel.
With so many packages around and a lot of travel packages can be found online or offline. Among all of them; there are at least one or two cases that they been scammed and happened last week whereby "the agent" sold few packages to a well-known hotel in Port Dickson.
Actually, to prevent incidents of being cheated or trapped by fake travel agent traps, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) has set 7 guidelines that can be followed in order not to get scammed or how to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate travel agency.
#1. Registered and Licensed Agent / Company
To avoid being cheated, be sure to deal only with a registered agent or company and have a license with MOTAC. Companies that offer holiday packages must have a license and to ensure their validity, can refer to their license number.
Example license number: KPK/LN 10041
To check the status of a certain agency or company, you can take the company number, or company name and do a search on the MOTAC website or check here.
# 2. Make sure the Company Exists / Still Active
There is certain time that the company may have had its license revoked or not renewed. Sometimes this is because they had to do certain offence.
As a customer; you can check their status on the MOTAC website or contact any MOTAC office to get company status.
Do check out their latest activity on social media (if any) or call them through their landline number.
#3. Packages Info
Make sure the package information offered is complete. Whether it is an umrah package or a holiday package, check all the details and make sure what is included in their offer and what is excluded. To be safe, ask the company to provide with an official email to you.
Things to note includes; round trip flight ticket, visa (if necessary), type and location of the accommodation offered, food (if provided), a full itinerary of packages, insurance, travel documents and all the perks that been promised by the agency.
#4. Terms and Conditions
Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions for the holiday package that you've been taken. You should also need to understand the responsibilities of the agent, and your rights as a customer etc.
In addition, be sure to read the terms and conditions thoroughly, especially the cancellation and compensation section, in case you want to cancel or request a change of date and so on.
#5. Make Sure To Make A Deal At An Office
If you are satisfied and want to complete the booking and purchase of the package, make sure you do it at the travel agent's office. This can indirectly prevent you from becoming a victim of scams.
Usually, victims who are cheated by the agent only do business outside the office or via WhatsApp only or through a third person. So, this should be avoided. If you are in doubt about the identity of the agent, take the name, ask for a business card and so on.
Always remember not to perform any payment to a third-person account. If the company is legit, they must have a legit company account as well.
If you have a doubt of a certain account number, you can always check at the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) website here.
#6. Payment Dan Receipt
Payment normally will be made to the agent through cash or online transactions. It is COMPULSORY for any agency to issue a receipt of payment received. On the receipt, please make sure that the agency writes the payment for which package and so on.
Online payments must be made directly to the travel agency account and not a third party. No matter what story is used, be sure to continue making payments to the agency account. Usually, theft, agents run away after the money goes into their account.
Save the receipt for reference.
#7. Always Follow Up With The Agent / Agency
Although it is a bit tedious, make sure you can always contact the agent until all matters been completed. Make sure all the necessary documents such as receipts, tickets, hotel reservations etc. are safe in your hands before you fly or depart.
There are some cases that occur when customers arrive at the hotel location, the hotel claims that they did not receive any payment from the agent. Eventually, customers had to spend money to find another hotel.
Finally, scams by these travel agencies or individuals do exist. Make sure you are not one of the victims.