Tips to Keep Your Travel Agency Legal
Here is your “card” to stay out of jail or to stay in business as a travel agent and not lose everything.
Many new agents have no idea what kind of tasks they are performing that could land them in jail, or maybe not quite so harsh, but cause them to lose everything in a lawsuit.
This article is not intended to be legal advice, you must consult a travel attorney. What is is intended to do is let you know what you may be doing that may be dishonest and subject to prosecution.
Travel Agent Do’s and Don’t’s:
- Taking deposit money that you have been holding for a client’s trip and appropriating it for something else, saying you will pay it back later. In states with Seller of Travel Laws, you can lose your business license, all your association memberships, and be fined heavily.
- Taking cash and putting the payments on your agency or personal credit card so you can get air miles. This is against the airline policies and can cause you to lose your air miles. Probably not a court case, but could be the cause of loss of air miles that are worth money.
- Lying to a client to cover up a mistake you made thinking it will make you look good. Just be honest up front and let them know you messed up. You may lose the sale, but it will help you sleep at night and not keep trying to think up something new to tell the client.
- Advertising in print with the price and date and not putting in the Seller of Travel number for the states that you are advertising in that require it. Be aware of what states have this licensing requirement. When making flyers, sending email promos either made by you or a supplier, or advertising in print, be sure you have those numbers on the bottom of the advertising piece. Know which states have that license requirement.
- Not sending an invoice to the client within 3 business days. I don’t have the legal advice on this, but have been told all my career that it is required. Besides, it makes you look professional to inform the client where their money has gone and when.
- Holding onto a client’s deposits instead of passing them straight through at the time you get them. Again, this is something the Seller of Travel Laws cover. No matter what form that deposit comes in, apply it immediately when you get it so you don’t forget and the client won’t have a trip.
- In a group booking, taking deposits before you have the space confirmed by the supplier. This may or may not be a legal issue, but if the space cannot be confirmed, you don’t look professional.
Staying way above the legal line keeps you from getting ulcers and gives your clients confidence in your professional business.
For more on how to be a profitable professional, please take my online training classes.