Scheme launched to help Kiwis retrieve refunds for trips cancelled by Covid-19

A new scheme to help retrieve money and credit from cancelled travel due to Covid-19 is being established, aiming to incentivise travel agents by paying them a percentage on top of the customer's refund. 

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Officials estimate about $700 million of New Zealanders’ money is locked up because of travel cancellations. Source: 1 NEWS

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said a consumer travel reimbursement scheme would help with the return of locked up offshore money to New Zealand consumers via travel agent, costing a maximum of $47.6 million.

It is estimated about $690 million of New Zealanders' cancelled travel money is locked up.

"We want to get that money back for Kiwi customers and into the local economy as quickly as possible," Faafoi said. 

"The scheme we are announcing today will help those in the travel industry with financial support to facilitate the recovery of those funds.

"I know that travel agents and wholesalers have been working hard to recover refunds and credits owed to New Zealand consumers, but are under severe financial pressure, with many facing the prospect of insolvency." 

Agencies would be paid 7.5 per cent of the value of cash refunds and five per cent of the value of credits secured on behalf of consumers.

"This will mean, for example, that if an agent recoups $10,000 in a cash refund on cancelled travel, the customer gets that money back and the agent will receive $750. If it’s a credit for the $10,000 cancelled travel, the customer gets the credit and the agent receives $500."

Faafoi said the reimbursement scheme should increase the likelihood of people getting their money back or credit for cancelled travel.