KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) wants consumers to be vigilant over ‘cheap travel packages’ offered by travel agencies especially via online.
MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang in a statement yesterday said there is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’, therefore consumers should practise diligence before signing up for travel packages offered online such as through the social media.
“Browse online to check the company’s legitimacy, trip reviews, track record and get referrals from friends, clients or relatives on the company. Consumers who had been cheated by irresponsible or illegal travel agents must immediately lodge a police report and file a claim with the Consumer Tribunal. Consumers could pursue the matter with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, who are the regulatory and licensing authority for travel agents,” he said.
Tan was commenting on a media report over a travel package scam where 120 travellers lost over RM810,000.
“MATTA is taking this matter seriously and swift legal action including criminal charges must be taken against any company or individual found to be involved or associated with such fraudulent activities, culprits should be jailed and charged with the maximum penalty as a deterrent,” he said.
“However, like any other industry, there are bound to be some bad apples. Not all travel agencies or tour operators are out to cheat people, and many, if not most, are legitimate businesses.
“To protect the interest of genuine travel agents and consumers, swift enforcement actions need to be taken and a review of current practices to close loopholes for such fraudulent activities,” Tan added. — Bernama