Abta is looking into a potential breach of its Code of Conduct after an agent lost a £12,000 booking to a travel insurer.
Hays Travel homeworker Michelle Halsey said she spent more than nine hours creating a tailor-made trip to Australia and New Zealand for an elderly couple, but advised them to contact travel insurers before booking.
“As far as I was concerned it was a booking,” said Halsey. One of the clients required complex insurance and after failing to get through to Hays’ preferred insurance provider Rush, he called Staysure.
The over-50s insurance specialist, which operates a travel agency as part of its business, asked whether the customer had booked his holiday before transferring him to the travel department, which quoted the holiday for £150 less than the agent offered, with £75 off insurance.
Halsey said: “We have a preferred insurance provider, Rush, but I’ve always been open to customers about shopping around for the right cover. Frustratingly, when the clients tried to call Rush, no one answered. Staysure’s actions were underhand.”
Halsey said she could have matched the holiday price and had already requoted with a second, cheaper supplier.
Other agents on social media said they too had lost potential bookings to Staysure.
Alison Westall, managing director of Staysure Travel, said: “At that stage we wouldn’t know whether an enquiry had come from an agent or if work has gone into a booking.
“The customer in this example was categorised as having seen our TV advert.”
Staysure has a partnership scheme that ringfences agents’ customers. Westall urged agents who believed they were referring multiple customers to get in touch.
“We too win some and lose some bookings; that’s the nature of competition these days,” she said.
An Abta spokeswoman said: “We have been in touch with Staysure and are looking into this matter as a potential breach of our Code of Conduct.”
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