When you accommodation, you enter into a contract. Contracts can be in writing or made orally and can be entered into in a variety of ways, including:
- signing a document
- verbally over the phone
- clicking an ‘I agree’ button on a web page.
Online bookings - Online Travel Agents (OTA's)
If you book using an online booking agent or website, they will have their own terms and conditions in relation to deposits, booking fees and cancelations. Sometimes these terms and conditions may conflict with or supplement the terms and conditions applied by the accommodation provider, so it is important to review all relevant terms and conditions of both the online booking provider and the accommodation provider.
You should also be aware that:
- The OTA is predominantly responsible for the resolution of any issues relating to the transaction of funds such as the booking, accuracy of advertising and prices, cancellation, refunds etc..
- The OTA cannot independantly effect a post stay refund of any description.
- OTA's will naturally and fairly apply a commission or fee for services. In some cases these are applied to both you as the consumer and the accommodation provider.
- You may be able to save on accommodation by booking directly with the accommodation provider.
- As most OTA's (and many other related sites) are located outside Australia they do not always use the nationally accepted STAR Rating program and the representation of stars as Star Ratings may not be accurate. To be sure you are booking the standard of accommodation you are seeking you may wish to refer to the official star ratings website. More information on Star Ratings here.
- Discounts shown on some OTA sites may be a reflection of the maximum "Rack Rate" vs the available rate from the OTA. The same rate or less may be available via the property direct.
- OTA's may place numerous demands on properties dictating trading and operating restrictions including tarrif, restrictions on discounting and a requirement for photo-ID on check-in.
Assistance for Visitors to Australia
While visitors are in Australia, they are covered by Australia’s Consumer Protection laws which require all businesses to treat consumers fairly. If you would like to lodge a complaint about an Australian business, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism can assist you in reporting your complaint and can advise you on how to submit your complaint in another language. For more information visit the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism's website.
You can also lodge a telephone complaint while you are in Australia by ringing the Australian Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Hotline 1300 552 263 (local call cost within Australia). The call will be automatically forwarded to the fair trading agency in the state or territory from which you are calling.