Travel Agent Legal Obligations

The advent of specialization requires a bit of «covering your own ___». There are specific and unusual risks that accompany areas such as student travel, senior travel, or adventure travel. It is therefore advisable to consult your legal advisor to create appropriate authorizations or warnings to protect your agency. This article discusses six specialized sales-related roles in the travel industry: travel consultants (also known as travel agencies), travel agencies, hospitality agencies, tour operators, tour guides, and meeting planners. Since jobs in these environments depend on understanding consumers` travel needs and preferences and evaluating and selecting travel solutions, experience in one environment can be practical for a different role in another. However, it is always important to consider the risks associated with each role and mitigate them with appropriate errors and omissions insurance. One of the elements that must be established to establish a case of negligence is the direct cause; In particular, the negligence of the defendant was the main or subsequent cause of the damage or injury suffered. Although in many cases where the travel agent is not directly involved, an immediate reason seems to be missing, the plaintiff`s lawyers will cite the careless choice of supplier as the immediate reason. In other words, without hiring and using a specific supplier, the incident would never have happened.

Obligation to confirm reservations: When a travel agent makes travel reservations and travel programs, the travel agent must confirm that the reservation has been made and prepared for the customer. The state attorney general said the travel agent violated the state`s Deceptive Marketing Practices Act by misrepresenting the following: There are four specific types of tour operators: incoming, outgoing, domestic and land operators. Incoming tour operators are based in the destination country. You sell tours to a resident of a foreign country and then manage that trip from start to finish. For example, an American interested in traveling through Japan can contact a Japan-based tour operator and purchase a travel package. The most serious claims are for bodily harm or wrongful homicide. Again, it must be established that your agency`s action or inaction directly caused the violation. It appears that, regardless of the questionable immediate cause, travel agents are increasingly being prosecuted for injuries that occur during a customer`s trip. Travel agencies provide information and help consumers prepare to travel. For example, a travel agent coordinates a traveler`s flight, hotel reservation, car rental, or visit. Travel agents provide advice and answer common questions from travel agencies, such as inquiries about weather conditions, exhibitions to visit, exchange rates, required travel documents, and local customs. Given the magnitude of these risks, prudent tour operators protect themselves with adequate professional liability insurance, specifically tailored to their increased professional obligations and expertise.

If their negligence contributes directly to a problem, or if a client interprets that they have been harmed in some way, clients can sue. E&O insurance can mitigate the financial consequences of such litigation. State courts have also ruled that due to the relationship between customers and travel agencies, the quality of maintenance of travel agencies is high and they have duties and obligations. Travel agents are subject to these responsibilities and obligations: the customer`s responsibility to pay the difference depends on the circumstances. For example, if the travel arrangements were booked on the basis of the price quoted by the travel agent, it is likely that the intermediary will be responsible for the costs if the customer relied on the intermediary`s offer. On the other hand, if the agent has indicated the correct price but has inadvertently charged less, the customer is responsible for paying the additional amount due. Several state courts have ruled that travel agents are agents of the consumer and not of the travel service provider. According to these states (including Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia), travel agents are trustees who have a high level of care. This makes their obligations and obligations to the consumer independent of their relationship with airlines, cruise lines, hotels or tour operators. In addition, it exposes them to potential liability for damage or injury caused to their clients by the travel arrangements they have made. Those procedures should in any case cover the way in which funds are disbursed and transmitted.

If you book with a charter operator, make sure to make the payment to the escrow account provided. If an agency acts as a tour operator, it must open an escrow account for transfers. Any opportunity to protect a client`s funds should be considered. Use credit card payments as an additional way to protect the customer. Each cardholder has certain chargeback rights that are granted to them if the services are not properly provided. Make sure the payment method is well documented, credible and traceable. These common-sense guidelines should seem even more fundamental given the proliferation of supplier bankruptcies and travel scams that have plagued the travel industry. And while the travel agent may not be the culprit, it`s the «most accessible.» Foreign remote providers raise procedural issues such as jurisdiction, jurisdiction or choice of law. It is imperative that a travel agent is fully prepared to apply to Small Claims Court.

Some states do not allow representation by a lawyer, so it is recommended to consult a lawyer before attending the hearing. All files and documents should be thoroughly reviewed and brought to the hearing. Tour guides combine many professional roles in one job. They serve as teachers on the area in which they guide clients. They act like artists, offering fun and entertaining remarks that attract and hold the attention of their customers. They serve as experts in travel logistics and ensure that the tour operator`s plans are properly executed. Finally, they act as the security director of a tour group to ensure that everyone respects local safety rules and avoids injuries. While most business owners are familiar with the concept of being legally responsible for actions or conditions that may cause harm or financial loss to others, many are confused with how insurance companies can and cannot protect their interests.

The mere fact that a claim or lawsuit has been filed against a travel agency does not in itself mean that an insurance policy automatically hires a lawyer or covers alleged damages. Unlike first-party damages, where an insured sends proof of damage and receives a loss payment in return, liability insurance covers the financial consequences of one insured`s legal liability to another. The concept of simple complaint and receipt of payment does not apply to (third-party) liability actions. In order to determine the obligations of a travel agent to a consumer, it is first necessary to determine the capacity in which the travel agent acts towards the consumer, which may vary at any time during the transaction. Its missions are then defined by reference to this quality and to the terms of any contract between the travel agency and the consumer. The duty to investigate and disclose includes the obligation to investigate travel plans and inquire about the area to which the traveller is going. These include whether there are certain conditions that would impact consumers` travel plans, such as a community event that could result in travel disruptions or delays. New legal obligations are introduced, such as the obligation to inform customers of any information that may negatively affect their travel plans, including the financial situation of their suppliers. Perhaps the most basic advice is to remain attentive and polite to the customer. This is a common reaction when the customer`s complaint provokes a defensive attitude or, worse, a need. If a customer is dissatisfied with a trip or encounters an incident, the travel agent can become the main target of their frustration.

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