Agent ordered to refund RM5,000 for cancelled holiday to India

SIX holidaymakers who had booked a winter holiday to India, only to have their travel plans dashed when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, want the travel agent to refund their money.

They had initially booked the trip to Kashmir for December 2020, but following the pandemic outbreak and imposition of the movement control order, the Kota Kinabalu-based travel agent cancelled the trip.

“We had been planning this trip since April 2019, but nobody anticipated the pandemic would hit,” Farah Syahirah Hamzah said when met outside the Johor Baru Consumer Claims Tribunal.Farah Syahirah wants the travel agent to refund the RM5,000 paid for the package to Kashmir, India.Farah Syahirah wants the travel agent to refund the RM5,000 paid for the package to Kashmir, India.

She had booked the 5D/4N Kashmir private trip for her husband and two children.

Joining them were Farah’s friend, her husband and their toddler.

The travel agent set up the ground arrangements for the group in Kashmir.

They paid RM5,000 in total in September 2019 for the four adults and two children.

The balance of RM1,494 was to be paid 30 days before the departure date in December.

No charges were imposed for the toddler.

“We chose the travel agent from Kota Kinabalu as the prices quoted by the company were much lower,” said Farah who works as a clerk.

The package included houseboat accommodation, transportation in Kashmir, meals (breakfast and dinner), airport transfer, tour guide, car parking and transport toll charges.

“It did not cover our return flight tickets from Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi, New Delhi to Srinagar, lunch, entrance fees at places of interest and tour activities,” she said.

Farah said following the MCO in March 18, 2020, the travel agency cancelled the package as Malaysia’s international borders were closed.

However, the agency did not give any notice of cancellation or get feedback from Farah.

“The holiday could have been postponed instead as we did not mind waiting until the situation improved and travel restrictions were lifted,” she said.

“I contacted the company and asked them to return the RM5,000 we had paid but they claimed the sum had already been forwarded to the travel agent in Kashmir.”

Farah said the company was only willing to reimburse them by offering two domestic packages as replacement but she declined the offer.

Tribunal president Lee Chee Thim ordered the respondent, who did not turn up for the hearing, to return RM5,000 to the claimant within two weeks.

Those who need assistance with regard to Tribunal matters can contact 07-227 1755/1766.

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