SEOUL, Jun. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — An increasing number of South Koreans booking their own flights and accommodations online rather than using travel agency package products when they travel abroad.
However, there have been a number of complaints regarding the use of global lodging and airline reservation websites.
According to the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) on Monday, related consumer complaints received between January 2017 and May 2019 amounted to 394 in 2017, 1,324 in 2018 and 306 in the January to May period of 2019.
Of all the complaints, 80.6 percent were related to the top five companies and agencies such as Agoda (Singapore) and Booking.com (Netherlands).
Most consumer complaints were related to ‘agency refusal, rejection or delay on cancellation and refund’ at 73 percent.
In particular, there have been many cases of complaints for situations in which excessive fees were charged for schedule changes due to personal circumstances after “non-refundable” products had been booked, or that they cannot be refunded for cancellations.
The KCA pointed out that most of the global lodging and airline reservation agencies are overseas operators, so it is often difficult to resolve consumer complaints.
Those booking “non-refundable” products should be careful because it is difficult to change reservations or obtain refunds, even if one wishes to simply make a schedule change, the KCA added.
The terms of the transaction presented by the booking agency on its website take precedence over the individual terms of the accommodation or airline.
Therefore, in order to prevent damages, it is necessary to make a reservation after checking the agency’s refund and compensation criteria thoroughly, the KCA advised.
The KCA also asked consumers to apply for a “chargeback”, in which transactions that have already been approved are cancelled, with credit card companies by collecting evidence in case of problems such as a loss of contact with operators and site closures.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)