I AM perplexed with the Bernama report “1,057 tourism package fraud complaints made with the CCT” (July 9). Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told the Dewan Rakyat that between 2016 and May 31, 2019, 1,057 complaints of tourism fraud were filed with the Consumer Claims Tribunal (CCT).
He said total claims amounted to RM6.6mil, RM3mil had already been awarded by the CCT, and that “tour package companies have 14 days to comply with the tribunal verdict”.
This was my first time reading about “tourism fraud”. Travellers dealing with licensed tour operators are protected by the Consumer Protection Act 1999 and could easily file a claim with CCT should they be short-changed or dissatisfied, but it would be wrong to describe poor service as fraud.
It is interesting to note that CCT had awarded RM3mil out of the total RM6.6mil claimed. The minister stated that “tour package companies” have 14 days to compensate customers but did not disclose the actions taken on those that do not comply.
As long as many strata of our society remain vague on the risks of dealing with unlicensed or disreputable tour operators and the authorities are clueless in cracking them down, many travellers will continue to be cheated or short-changed.
While it is fine to buy goods at the cheapest possible prices, the same cannot be said for services. Just as we expect to be paid a reasonable salary, we should also pay others fairly for services rendered to us. Those looking for bargains are easily fooled into paying for tour packages that are much cheaper than the rest.