I’m sure you have heard of the online travel agencies (OTA), when you search for your flights and hotels. They are agencies like Travelgenio, Travel2Be, Tripmonster, and Schiphol Tickets. Just a note: these online travel agencies are SCAMS. Here are why these online travel agency scams are something you need to be wary about.
It’s All The Same Company
These sites, Travelgenio, Travel2Be, Tripmonster, and Schiphol Tickets? They all belong to the same company.
All these are the same company! They are not competitors. They are the same wolves, hiding under a sheep’s skin.
5 Online Travel Agency Scams
The call center bluntly told their employees to omit mentioning refunds unless the passenger specifically asked for it. The refund process is also very tedious and they charge unnecessary fees.
Travelgenio, Travel2Be, Tripmonster, and Schiphol Tickets offer airplane tickets at a cheap price, while also offering “services” like faster customer service, cancellation insurance, flex-ticket service, things like that. As a lot of online travel agencies, they tend to have some sort of “fine print” on what they offer. Their sites are not an exception, I would say they basically run on fine print.
They Steal Your Air Ticket Tax
If a passenger wants to cancel their flight, and the ticket is non refundable (by the airline, that is), the person has the right to be refunded the taxes on their ticket. However, these Online Travel Agency will never refund the taxes.
Only if the passenger requested to be refunded the taxes, then they would refund the taxes MINUS 50 euros for “administration fees”. I will break this down: Ticket = Fare + Taxes. When the airline says “cancellations are non refundable”, they are saying “the fare is non refundable”. The taxes are legally from the passenger, so the passenger has the right to demand to be refunded their taxes. So the fact that OTAs omit this information to the passengers and keep the money that is legally theirs, that is stealing.
If the passenger demands their taxes back (that they are obliged to), the company takes 50 euros from that refund for making the transaction. And if your taxes are less than 50€, say goodbye to the money.
Stupid Admin Fee
- Administration fee of 50€ is for any transactions, e.g. cancellation, change of flights, etc.
- Service fee of 20€ like adding bags, booking a seat, adding a pet
These fees are per passenger, per transaction. If you want to reserve 2 seats for you and your partner and to change that flight, good luck paying a lot of money. Travel agencies can charge what they want, it’s a free market, I understand.
But you can book directly with the airlines! These Online Travel Agency are not any cheaper!
Call Center Staff are Useless (because of the company’s policy)
People get their flights cancelled or their tickets are never created because of pure wrongdoing. The company has a disastrous training. This means when the call center agents start taking calls and making changes in flights and everything, they have never even done that once, they learn as they go.
This means that a lot of times flights get cancelled by mistake, and this cannot be undone. Sorry passenger, you will get refunded in a million years. Or the passenger payed for everything but the ticket is never issued, because an agent never sent it to the right department. Other examples include people paying for additional check-in, but the OTA did not purchase and that is just a mess.
At the end of the day, it’s humans behind the booking. If a human is booking it anyway, you are better off booking on your own, directly with the airlines.
Refunds Never Work
Refunds take an average of 3 (!!!) months to be completed. It’s also totally normal for refunds to take 10 months. Online Travel Agencies claim that refunds take a long time due to processing and getting the funds from the airlines.
If you book directly, you get refunded within 2 weeks by the airlines. Some airlines even credit the cash directly into your bank account.
Some people have been waiting for more than a year to get a refund. You can imagine that time is money. So to wait 7 months to get back 100€ with constant chasing and following up, you can see how these OTAs are wearing customers down by delaying until customers are too tired with getting that 100€ back.
This is called a “bait-and-switch“. You see pop-up ads or even prices advertised on search engines like google flights. They claim to sell flights at X€ or help you to save Y€. When you go to the site, you see the figure. But when you check out, prices suddenly become twice the amount due to admin fee, service fee, convenience fee, special ticketing fee, etc. You only notice it after going through the entire booking process.
Now that you know they are a scam, BOOK DIRECTLY. Stop being scammed. Next, we share 7 tips on how to prevent Online Travel Agency scams and explain the science behind how air ticket pricing works.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.