travel, travel advice, travel scams, travel rip-offs, consumer rights

Travel should be all exciting adventures, stunning sunsets, delicious cocktails and rest and relaxation, right? But what happens if it all turns to shit?

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Be alert and alarmed dear reader, for travel crimes against humanity do happen, and when they do, it can be very handy to know what to do in the wake of a heinous travel rip-off. First things first – when you do suffer a horror travel rip-off, the worst thing you can do is stay silent and suck it up.

I only know this myself through bitter experience. I’ve packed a lot of travel into my 40 years and while travel will always be a true passion of mine, I have endured some toe-curling incidents that left me wanting to burn my suitcase.

And while I used to think complaining was a waste of time and energy – the advent of social media teaches us that sometimes it pays to loudly voice your opinion about travel rip-offs.

travel, travel advice, travel scams, travel rip-offs, consumer rights

Case in point: unfortunately for me, I recently got ripped-off by an online booking site I’d used many times with previous success, when my “4.5 star luxury hotel”, as advertised, turned out to be anything but!

When I arrived at said hotel, I felt sick to the stomach at the sight of my grotty room, complete with heinous carpet and mattress stains, disgustingly cheap furniture and a barely-working air-con unit. To make matters worse, my promised luxury “pool view” which I’d even paid extra for overlooked a run-down, burnt-out house (I’m being generous here) and the hotel manager was surly at best.

I knew in my heart I was in the wrong place, even before I got to my hotel room. For, despite the hotel’s good, central location (arguably its only virtue), when I checked in, I politely asked the hotel manager what the restaurant directly below was like, to which he snapped: “I’ve never eaten there.” Hmmph.

travel, travel advice, travel scams, travel rip-offs, consumer rights

And, like I say, the situation turned dire when I got to my horror hotel room, which was nowhere near worth the money I’d spent on it. It was an absolute dump! At best, more like one-star worthy. I was bitterly disappointed and fairly livid at being fleeced of my hard-earned.

Incidentally, sadly for me, I’d treated myself to a solo getaway in order to catch up on sleep; a rare night off from two toddlers under three, entrusted to my husband. Long story short: I complained to hotel manager – who couldn’t have cared less and refused to offer me another room.

I then voiced my disgust to my online booking service, which refused to take me seriously and/or issue a refund for my blatant travel rip-off until I sent them photos of the horror hotel via email and then finally, out of sheer frustration and rage, complained on social media when I didn’t get a response.

And, even then, I still only got HALF my money back. Oh the burn?!

In the end, I returned home that same night, a broken shell of a human, into the loving arms of my husband, who poured me a big glass of wine, having already put the kids to bed. And I did enjoy some solo beach time that day. Life wasn’t so bad…

travel, travel advice, travel scams, travel rip-offs, consumer rights

So, what do you do when your dream travel escape turns into a nightmare? My travel rip-off fight-back plan is as follows:

  1. Complain loudly: Voice your outrage, the quicker the better, to whoever has so ruthlessly fleeced you of your hard-earned.
  2. Be courteous yet direct. Don’t give in easily. Be a warrior woman: stand your ground! Consumers have rights.
  3. Always, always take photos of dodgy hotel rooms and/or keep any other evidence of your travel rip-off.
  4. Turn to social media if all else fails – ain’t nobody got time to be stuffed around, and most travel companies, if smart, do not want a PR disaster on their hands. Post often until you get a response.
  5. Contact Australia’s competition and national consumer law regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Visit or

Do you have a travel horror story? How did you fight for your rights?

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