Business

Wicked Travel goes bust: holidaymakers hit hard

A TRAVEL agency known for its aggressive sales techniques has gone bust, leaving holiday-makers thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Wicked Travel has been placed into administration, owing about $1.5 million to suppliers, customers and staff, according to liquidator Laurie Fitzgerald of William Buck Chartered Accountants.

Promising "the trip of a lifetime", the company specialised in selling backpackers packaged holiday deals to places like Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, the Whitsundays and a Sky Dive at Mission Beach.

Now would-be travellers who booked trips with the agency have been left empty-handed.

Canadian woman Taylor Gray reluctantly booked a $2000 package deal with Wicked Travel under pressure from its high-energy sales staff, she told the ABC.

"When I asked if I could come back the next day they pushed me to make the sale that day," Ms Gray said.

But she handed over the cash and set off on her first excursion, only to find it did not live up to her expectations.

Her efforts to secure a partial refund were thwarted when the company went into liquidation this week, and she was advised that she would be unlikely to get her money back.

"I would highly recommend anybody who comes to Australia not to go through a travel agent, and just to do it yourself," Ms Gray told the ABC.

"Get a car and camp around, the tours just aren't worth it, you pay far too much, or in my case far, far too much."

EMPLOYEES OWED THOUSANDS

Former staff member Justin Crux told travel news site The Byte he was owed more than $10,000 in unpaid wages, holiday pay and superannuation.

Wicked Travel, which operated 12 outlets in Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Byron Bay, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Airlie Beach, had recently co-branded with transport operator Greyhound Australia under a "strategic alliance" when the company failed.

On its website, the newly formed Greyhound Wicked Travel says that it is "in no way a part of the of the now liquidated Wicked Travel".

While it promised to honour all Greyhound coach travel previously purchased through Wicked Travel, it will not do so for tours and excursions from other providers - a position Mr Fitzgerald described as "unusual".

He said travellers would be unlikely to recoup their funds through the winding-up process, as there was "no wealth of assets left in a company like this".

Those who booked by credit card may be able to seek a refund from the bank, he said.

TRAVELLER COMPLAINTS

Online review sites are littered with horror stories about Wicked Travel's sales tactics, with disappointed travellers detailing how they were "ripped off" by the agency after being lured into its stores by the promise of free internet.

One backpacker detailed how he was convinced there were only two spots left on a canoe tour in Noosa, booking the trip only to discover that the excursion was unsupervised.

"Since our group was quite relaxed and easygoing and we managed to arrive at the destination and back to the base camp without causing a search operation," the man wrote.

"We just had a laugh about it. Nevertheless, it left a bit of a bitter aftertaste, since the guy at Wicked Travel strongly emphasised the quality of the 'products' they sell and how carefully selected they were."

The company found itself in hot water with the ACCC back in 2009, when it was among a trio of agencies subject to an enforceable undertaking after using misleading prices in their advertising.

Wicked Travel could not be reached for comment.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  business editors picks travel wicked


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'We'll hunt down Tweed bikie brawl thugs'

A bikie brawl erupted on the Tweed on Wednesday night.

“Bikies think they own turf ... but we won't tolerate turf wars.”

Byron Council reject rail corridor bypass option due to cost

The route of Byron Bay's new CBD bypass.

Byron Shire Council sticks with Butler Street for the Bypass

The Bay line up to Bangalow

LOCAL DERBY: Byron meet Bangalow this weekend.

Byron Bay play Bangalow this weekend' FNC Rugby

Local Partners

Big titles set down for Casuarina Beach

THIS weekend will see a big field of talented adaptive surfers on the Far North Coast for the second Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles at Casurina.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Is Jay Z coming to Bluesfest 2018?

US recording artist Jay Z performs on stage at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 'Get Out The Vote' concert at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 04 November 2016. The US presidential election is scheduled for 08 November 2016.  EPA/DAVID MAXWELL

MTV ranked him the Greatest MC of all time in 2006

Shoes make difference to kids in Zambia

MANY SHOES: Toowoomba Grammar School's Adrian Irwin and Fairholme College's Libby Stumer with shoes collected for children in Zambia.

Students are making a difference, creating a new project

King Judah through to The Voice grand final

NOT even losing his speaking voice through illness could stop the Laidley singer from performing tonight.

The top 10 TV shows that need to end

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in a scene from season five of House of Cards.

It’s now time to cull some of our favourites

Prince Harry reveals he wanted to leave the royal family

Prince Harry was the center of attention during his trip to Sydney.

Prince Harry has revealed he “wanted out” as a Royal

Why streaming movies will cost more from July 1

Australians can expect to pay more for streaming services such as Netflix when the new taxes kick in.

The new taxes from July 1 won’t hurt the MPs’ big pay rise

What's on the small screen this week

Ryan Shelton in a scene from True Story with Hamish & Andy.

HAMISH and Andy hear another funny story and Cleverman returns.

Digging down to find Clare

Australian actress and singer Clare Bowen, who got her big break on the US TV series Nashville, is touring Australia with her solo album.

After five years on Nashville it’s time to tell her own stories.

Gateway to $3 billion, 4800 home new Coast city opens

The start of Peter Crosby Way at Sippy Downs, the northern access into the Harmony master-planned community at Palmview.

Palmview's $3b master-planned community of Harmony

Millionaire Nathan Birch to offload $55M in property

Nathan Birch wants to focus more on developing properties.

Sydney property investor has announced he is selling up

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.

House prices surge by an incredible 39.5% in star-studded area

Grass is greener for Warwick real estate

Warwick's rural charm and affordable property prices are enticing buyers from Brisbane.

Quality houses for half the price of Brisbane attracting interest

New prison unlocks market growth

Works have begun on the construction of the new Grafton bridge.

Influx of workers for project drives healthy growth in house prices

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!