It’s one thing to know that travel agent associations are lobbying the government on agents’ behalf. It’s another to actually hear it and see it in action.
TORONTO — WestJet Vacations is now offering refunds for eligible WestJet Vacations bookings, and that means recalls for at-source commissions.
Agents have been dealing with commission recalls since the start of the pandemic in March, part of the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis in a situation that’s beyond the control of both the retail distribution channel and suppliers.
News of refund eligibility from such a major supplier, and the commission recalls that go with it, coincided with the formation of a new Facebook group, Canadian agents against commission recalls, now with more than 1,000 members and counting.
WestJet Vacations’ agent update, which went out late last week, lets agents know that WestJet Vacations passengers who meet eligibility requirements may qualify for refunds to original form of payment.
Clients can also choose to retain their travel credit in the form of WestJet dollars for use on a future WestJet Vacations package. With this option, clients will receive a bonus of 100 WestJet dollars per person, valid for 12 months from date of set up. Terms and conditions apply. To earn the bonus, clients must make their selection by Nov. 30, 2020.
On the heels of the WestJet Vacations refund eligibility, WJV says that more information on WestJet Vacations Groups will be available the week of Nov. 9. WestJet first announced on Oct. 22 that it would refund WestJet bookings.
In the FAQ section of the update that went out to agents, the last Q&A deals with at-source commission recalls.
If clients choose a refund to original form of payment, then the at-source commission will be recalled.
Here’s a look at the terms and conditions for the refunds process, and the bonus offer process …
ELIGIBLE: Packages (including land-only) cancelled between March 10 and April 24, 2020. Cancellation must have been completed greater than 45 days prior to departure. Package or land-only price must have been a minimum of $1000. A minimum of $1,000 must have been paid toward a package or land-only price by credit card or cash.
NOT ELIGIBLE: Deposit only bookings; Service fees and penalties already paid; Chargebacks submitted through your client’s bank; Successful travel insurance claims.
WestJet Vacations will send an email if clients meets the eligibility criteria to receive a refund to original form of payment, with the option of selecting a refund to original form of payment or accepting the bonus offer of 100 WestJet dollars.
BONUS OFFER PROCESS
ELIGIBLE: Packages (including land-only) cancelled between March 10 and April 24, 2020. Cancellation must have been completed greater than 45 days prior to departure. Package or land-only price must have been a minimum of $1000. A minimum of $1000 was paid toward a package or land-only price by credit card or cash. To earn the bonus, clients must make this selection by Nov. 30, 2020.
NOT ELIGIBLE: Deposit only bookings. Chargebacks submitted through your client’s bank. Successful travel insurance claims.
Again, WestJet Vacations will send an email if clients meets the eligibility criteria to receive the WestJet Dollar bonus offer, with the option of selecting a refund to original form of payment or accepting the bonus offer of 100 WestJet dollars. If clientS choose to retain their travel credit (in WestJet dollars), an additional bonus of 100 WestJet dollars will be deposited to their account. The bonus WestJet dollars will be valid for one year from issue date and may only be applied to the base fare.
If a client has already used a portion of their WestJet dollars, then they are not eligible to receive a refund to original form of payment or the bonus WestJet dollars.
WestJet Vacations’ FAQs include questions about refunds, WestJet dollars and commissions.
If clients only paid a deposit on their booking and received WestJet dollars when the booking was cancelled, they are not eligible for a refund to original form of payment or the bonus WestJet Dollars, says the company.
Also, any clients who had successful travel insurance claims are not eligible for a refund to original form of payment, bonus WestJet dollars or retaining their travel credit in WestJet dollars. However, if a client was denied insurance and is able to provide evidence, they will be eligible, as long as they did not already use their WestJet dollars.
The final Q&A confirmed that at-source commission will be recalled if clients choose a refund to original form of payment.
Jennifer Trofimuk, who runs Planes, Trains & Kids Travel in Calgary, says the WestJet Vacations announcement, at first caused a lot of commotion.
“For starters by releasing this information over a weekend catching most of us agents by surprise was unprofessional,” says Trofimuk. “After reading over their terms for eligibility – specifically the fact that clients had to have cancelled 45 days prior to departure – calmed most of us down. Most clients would have cancelled within that 45-day window, not outside of it, so for most of us I think will be unaffected.”
She adds: “With that being said, the agent community is really getting angry and frustrated that the possibility of more commission recalls exists after so many months have gone by.
“No other profession has this kind of loophole and agents want and need this to change.”