How to complain
Before you complain
- Know what the business must do — read Your rights above.
- Check the terms and conditions of your ticket — this will help you understand what you can expect, eg you may not be able to change your travel date without being charged.
- Gather proof, eg emails between you and the travel agent or airline, bank statements, details of conversations and dates.
- Decide your ideal outcome, egan apology, travel vouchers, money back.
- Think about what you will say, eg what you are unhappy about and what you would like the business to do.
- Stick to the facts — explain the problem in detail and provide any evidence you have.
- Be clear it is a complaint — use the word "complaint" in your phone call, instant message or email.
- Tell them what you want — be clear what will fix your concern.
- Take time out, if needed — if the conversation is getting heated or you need time to consider their response, arrange a time to call, email or message back. Explain you need time to think about the conversation.
How to complain
2. Claim on insurance
Travel insurance may cover expenses when it is not the airline's fault, eg you miss your flight, bad weather means the flight is cancelled or delayed. Check your travel policy to see what it covers.
3. Apply for a chargeback
Your bank or credit card company may reverse credit or debit card charges in certain situations — called a chargeback. Do this if you've paid a travel agent, or overseas airline, for a flight they haven't then booked. Chargebacks are only available for a short time after you made the transaction — usually about 30 days. Ask your bank what their time limit is and how to apply .
Chargebacks(external link) — Banking Ombudsman
4. Take your complaint further
If you aren't getting anywhere with the travel agent or airline, going to the Disputes Tribunal may be your next step. If you're disputing more than $15,000, you will need to go through the District Court. In this case, talk to Community Law Centre or a lawyer first.
Bear in mind, if the travel agent/airline is overseas it may be harder to enforce any formal decision.
What the tribunal can help with(external link) — Disputes Tribunal
You can report the business to the Commerce Commission if:
- you think you have been misled
- the business has said something that is not true.
Commerce Commission can't investigate every complaint, or solve your individual problem. But they can warn or prosecute the business. Your information helps them assess which consumer issues are causing the greatest harm.
Make a complaint(external link) — Commerce Commission
5. More help
Get support at any point from:
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) — a free, independent service, run by volunteers. CAB can advise you on your consumer rights and obligations, in person, by phone, or online.
- Community Law Centre — offers free one-on-one legal advice to people with limited finances. The organisation has 24 community law centres throughout the country. You can find legal information and other resources on its website.
Find a CAB(external link) — Citizens Advice Bureau
Our law centres(external link) — Community Law Centres