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ATAS Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (ACCMC)

The ACCMC is an independent review body specifically established under ATAS to review and determine customer complaints and allegations of non-compliance with the ATAS Charter and Code. The ACCMC reviews complaints elevated to it by the Compliance Manager and can issue binding decisions, including sanctions against a Participant.

In situations where both parties cannot come to an agreement the ACCMC plays a vital role in addressing the ATAS participant’s compliance with the ATAS Code of Conduct and ensuring a fair outcome for all parties.

ACCMC 2018 Meeting Dates

26 February
21 May
20 August
19 November


Decisions Relating to Consumer Complaints

ACCMC meeting decisions in relation to Consumer complaints received.

HEARING DATE
 OUTCOME DETAILS

26 Feb 2018


Breach of s 3.2(a)


Ref #17-1102
Was an online advertisement with imagery of
orang-utans and reference to being able to visit an orang-utan sanctuary misleading?

OUTCOME: The Committee found that the agent must take responsibility for checking the detail of what is stated in the promotional material as it is this documentation on which the travelling public relies when deciding to purchase a holiday package. The Agent had already removed the images and references.

SANCTION: The Committee overturned the decision of the ATAS Compliance Manager and ordered a refund of the amount paid for the holiday of $1099.


26 Feb 2018


Breach of 3.2(a)


Ref #17-1037
ISSUE: Was the complainant misled during a telephone conversation about being allowed to smoke on a balcony at the resort? The matter was then referred to the ACCMC for determination.

OUTCOME: Whilst the Committee agreed with the ATAS Compliance Managers decision that a breach of the Code had occurred, they also found that the Agent had not confirmed that smoking was not permitted on the patio and smoking was not completely banned on the premises and that a full refund was not warranted.

SANCTION: The Committee ordered half of the accommodation cost to be refunded rounded to $1500.


30 April 2018

No breach


Ref #18-0215
ISSUE: Complainant sought to cancel and get a refund following the Mexico earthquake however the Agent did not cancel the trip and proceeded. Complainant alleged that tour was impacted and sought refund for faulty product and for agent to change terms and conditions where a natural disaster occurred. ATAS Compliance Manager found no breach by the Agent.

OUTCOME: The ACCMC upheld the decision of the ATAS Compliance Manager and found no breach had occurred.

SANCTION: n/a.


8 Dec
2017

Breach of s3.2(a)(iii)


Ref #17-0927
ISSUE: Had the Agent breached the Code for failing to disclose ‘all relevant information in a plain and easy-to-understand form’ in relation to advice regarding visas contained in the terms and conditions.


OUTCOME: The Committee found that the Agent had breached the section as they had provided general advice in regard to U.S. visa requirements but no relevant information under the heading ‘Travel to Canada/Mexico’.


SANCTION: Agent to reimburse applicant sum of $2916 for additional costs and for the terms and conditions to be amended and expressed in a plain and easy-to-understand form.


8 Dec 2017

No breach of 3.2


Ref #17-0922
ISSUE: Tour guide had failed to pick up the complainant; the complainant had missed out on time in departure city; and complaint was about Agents response and handling of complaint. Appeal was based on complainant seeking increase of refund that had been offered.


OUTCOME: The appeal was dismissed.


 

25 August 2017

 

No breach of s3.2

 

Ref#17-0529 Appeal by Complainant.
ISSUE: Was the term “pristine beaches” misleading and thus a breach of the Service Quality Promise?
No breach was found and finding s of the Compliance Manager were upheld.

 

16 June 2017

 

Breach of s3.2(a)

 

Ref#17-0339 Appeal by Complainant.
ISSUE: Was the failure to advise that the sale price was limited to a 24-hour window a breach of the Service Quality Promise?
The Committee found that the travel intermediary had breached its obligations relating to the service quality promise, however as no financial loss was suffered no rectification of costs was ordered.


A Rectification order was sanctioned to review internal processes when communicating with clients to ensure that all relevant and important information is provided when a quote is provided. Further to this, operating procedures must also be reviewed to ensure that when staff members are away ill from operation that alternative arrangements are in place to ensure that pending customer enquiries are appropriately dealt with and in a timely manner.

24 February 2017

No breach of s3.2


Ref#16-0722 Appeal by Complainant.
ISSUE: Had the Agent failed to provide the complainant with the requested service and breached the Service Quality Promise?
No breach found and findings of Compliance Manager were upheld.


24 February 2017


Breach of s3.2 found


Ref#16-0856 Appeal by Complainant.
ISSUE: Had the Agent failed to disclose relevant information and breached the Service Quality Promise?
ACCMC found Agent had failed to disclose all relevant information in a plain and easy to understand form. The Agent failed this obligation as it advised a refund would be “approximately $2500” yet this amount changed to $1803.72. The notification did not contain any advice that the amount of “approximately $2500” was subject to change and the Agent is thus contractually bound to the statement. The Committee determined that the term “approximately” allows only a 10% window either side of the stated figure.


The Committee ordered a Rectification Order of an additional $500 to be refunded to the complainant.


28 October 2016


Breach of s3.2(a) found.
No breach of s4.1(b)(iv)


Ref #16-0826 Matter was referred to the ACCMC by Compliance Manager.
ISSUE: Had the Agent disclosed the terms and conditions to the complainant and had the Agent acted with respect and courtesy?

OUTCOME: Participant was required to write a written apology to the complainant and provide a report to the ACCMC detailing actions taken as required by the Improvement Notice.


10 February 2016


No breach of s3.2 found.


N/A

8 May 2015


Breach of s5.1(c).


Breach of 5.1(c) identified with respect to not meeting the timeline in responding to a complaint. An Improvement Notice in relation to breach was issued to the Participant and the Participant was required to write apology to the complainant


8 May 2015


No breach of s3.2 found.


N/A




ACCMC COMMITTEE

Committee Position
 bio
 

ACCMC Chair
Graham MacDonald


Graham MacDonald
 

Graham is a lawyer originally from WA where he was involved in the establishment of the Aboriginal Legal Service. After a period of private practice as a barrister and solicitor where he undertook appellate and administrative law cases Graham was appointed a Presidential Member of the Federal Administrative Appeals Tribunal.


Among other appointments Graham has served as the inaugural Australian Banking Ombudsman, Chairman of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. as an independent director of auDA ltd (the regulator of Australia’s domain name industry) and as a member of an international expert panel advising the Californian based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on dispute resolution.


Graham and his wife live in Victoria on a farm in the Macedon Ranges.



 

Consumer Representative
John Berrill


John Berrill

 

John is on the boards of the Consumer Action Law Centre, the Chronic Illness Alliance and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal Advisory Council.


He was a member of the Financial Industry Complaints Service Board & Panel, the Superstream Advisory Council, the Stronger Super Implementation Committee and the Natural Disaster Insurance Review Panel.


He has worked in the areas of insurance, superannuation and financial advice for 20 years, providing advocacy and advice to consumers, workers, community groups & disability groups.


Consumer Representative
Paul Holmes
Senior Lawyer, Civil Justice Services – Legal Aid Queensland


Paul Holmes

Paul Holmes is a Senior Lawyer working in the Civil Justice Services (Consumer Protection) Unit of Legal Aid Queensland. Before joining Legal Aid Queensland over 6 years ago, Paul worked as a lawyer at Clayton Utz in Brisbane.


Paul represents and assists consumers in trouble, which includes people who have been ripped off, are in financial difficulty and those who need assistance in accessing their legal rights under the Australian Consumer Law.


Industry Representative
Ian Carew-Reid
Director, ICR Management 


Ian Carey-Reid

Ian was an executive at Qantas for 20 years before creating his own travel agency. He held director and senior management positions with three of the global corporate agencies. He was the Chairman of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents for six years.


He has provided travel management consultancy services to Telstra, KPMG, Federal Government Departments, large companies and to the travel agency and tourism community.






 

Industry Representative
Jayson Westbury
Chief Executive, AFTA


Jayson Westbury
 

Appointed to the role of Chief Executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) in 2009, Jayson Westbury has recently lead the travel industry through a national regulatory reform which has resulted in a de-regulated environment underpinned by an Accreditation Scheme owned by AFTA.


With over 25 years of experience in the hotel/tourism/travel/hospitality industry, Jayson has a track record in leading successful organisations. Currently undertaking his MBA and with formal training in the hotel industry his experience has included working for hotel technology companies, hotel labour service provider companies, industry associations, business travel and events management companies.


Jayson currently sits on several global boards and committees which include the Passenger Agency Global Joint Council, Chairman of the World Travel Agents Association Alliance (WTAAA) which represents over 80% of the global air sales travel turnover by distributors and is deeply involved in the dialog with IATA on NDC.

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