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Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures

OBJECTIVE OF THE POLICY

As a responsible travel agent, Defence Escapes we seek to maintain and elevate our reputation of providing you with quality products and services.

We are committed to being responsive to the needs and concerns of our customers or potential customers and to resolving your complaint as quickly as possible.To this end, we value your feedback and complaints as they assist us to improve our products, services and customer service.
 Defence Escapes is committed to being responsive to the needs and concerns of our customers or potential customers and to resolving any complaint/s you may have as quickly as possible.
 This policy has been designed to provide guidance to both our customers and staff members on the manner in which Defence Escapes manages your complaint. We are committed to being consistent, fair and impartial when handling your complaint.

The objective of this policy is to ensure:

  • You are aware of our complaint lodgment and handling processes,
  • Both you and our staff understand our complaints handling process,
  • Your complaint is investigated impartially with a balanced view of all information or evidence,
  • We take reasonable steps to actively protect your personal information,
  • 
Your complaint is considered on its merits taking into account individual circumstances and needs.
DEFINITION OF A COMPLAINT

In this policy a complaint means an expression of dissatisfaction by a customer relating to a travel service provided by us.

HOW A COMPLAINT CAN BE MADE

If you are dissatisfied with a travel service provided by us and you have not been able to resolve the matter with the local Service Provider in the destination country, you should consider communicating directly with the staff member you have been dealing with and address your concerns to them by lodging a complaint with us in one of the following ways:

  • 
By telephoning us on +61  4926 1148
  • By writing to us at Defence Escapes PO Box 2122 Noosaville Qld 4566
  • By emailing us at info@defenceescapes.com
INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED TO PROVIDE

When investigating a complaint, we will be relying on information provided by you, information we may already be holding and information we may seek from our local Service Provider overseas.
To assist us to investigate your complaint quickly and efficiently we will ask you for the following and keep these details on file. A timeline will be kept to track resolution process between the parties:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The name of the person you have been dealing with at Defence Escapes
  • The nature of the complaint
  • Details of any steps you have already taken to resolve the complaint
  • Details of conversations and communications that may be relevant to you complaint.
  • Copies of any documentation that supports your complaint.
  • We may need to contact you further in order to clarify the details your have provided or to request additional information as required.
YOUR CONTACT WHEN MAKING A COMPLAINT

The person receiving or managing your complaint at Defence Escapes can provide you with any assistance you may need, however, if you consider you need further assistance please contact : Shane Nelson – Director

RECORDING YOUR COMPLAINT

When taking a complaint, we will record your name and contact details. We will also record all details of your complaint including the facts and the cause/s of your complaint, the outcome and any actions taken following the investigation of your complaint. We will also record all dates and times relating to actions taken to resolve the complaint and communications between us.
As part of our on-going improvement plan, complaints will be monitored for any identifying trends by management and rectification/remedial action taken to mitigate any identified issues.
If you lodge a complaint we will record your personal information solely for the purposes of addressing your complaint. Your personal details will actively be protected from disclosure, unless you expressly consent to its disclosure.
Where a third party travel supplier such as a tour operator, was involved in your travel services, we may be required to speak with them to fully investigate your complaint.

FEEDBACK TO CUSTOMERS

Defence Escapes is committed to resolving the issues you have raised within an acceptable time frame, however, this may not always be possible in which case, a more formal complaints procedure will be followed.

We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 business days. Once received, we will conduct an initial investigation into the issues that have given rise to the complaint which may take some days to conclude. Nonetheless, our aim is to resolve your complaint within 10 days of lodgement with us keeping in mind that this time frame may have to be extended according to circumstances beyond our control.
 If we have sought clarification or documentation from you and we are waiting on you to provide this information, we may not be able to meet our 10 business day finalisation commitment. In such circumstances upon receipt of your clarification or documentation we will indicate to you when we expect to finalise your complaint. Once we have finalised your complaint, we will advise you of our findings and any action we have taken. We will do this in writing, unless it has been mutually agreed that we can provide it to you verbally.
You have the right to make enquiries about the current status of your complaint at any time by contacting us.

Our complaint process

  • Accknowledgment – within 3 business days of receiving your complaint we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint.
  • Review – we undertake an initial review of your complaint and determine what if any additional information or documentation may be required to complete an
  investigation. We may need to contact you to clarify details or request additional information where necessary.
  • Investigation – within 10 business days of receiving your complaint we will investigate your complaint objectively and impartially, by considering the
 information you have provided us, our actions in relation to your dealings with us and any other information that could assist us in investigating your complaint.
  • Response – Following our investigation we will notify you of our findings and any actions we may have taken in regards to your complaint.
  • Action – where appropriate we amend our business practices or policies.
  • Record Keeping – we will record your complaint for continuous improvement process and monitoring through regular review, your personal information will be recorded
 in accordance with relevant privacy legislation
COMPLAINTS ABOUT ONE OF OUR EMPLOYEES

If you have reason to complain about a member of our staff, we will treat your complaint confidentially and impartially. Your complaint will be investigated thoroughly with a view to fairness to both parties as assess the facts surrounding the issues that have given rise to the matter/s concerned.
We will bring the matter to the attention of our staff member objectively by :

  • Informing them of any complaint about their performance
  • Providing them with an opportunity to explain the circumstances
  • Providing them with appropriate support and counseling
  • Updating them on the complaint process, investigation and result
COMPLAINT RESOLUTION WITH ATAS

We will always try to resolve your complaint using every means at our disposal, however, if you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your complaint or the resolution we have provided, you can request us to seek another independent opinion through AFTA, (Australian Federation of Travel Agents), who will conduct an external review of the case with ATAS, (AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme).  
ATAS’s approach will be to attempt to resolve your complaint through consultation, that is, by mediating between you and us to determine the relevant facts and establish a common ground. ATAS will remain open and impartial throughout the consultative process and will consider the merits of the case in order to reach an appropriate solution. 
If after this process, you are still not satisfied with the outcome and resolution,  your case can then be reviewed by ATAS Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (ACCMC).  The ACCMC is an independent committee comprising of 5 members, including 2 consumer representatives. The ACCMC will investigate your complaint and reach a fair and independent view of the issues involved. The ACCMC may recommend a refund to you should this be deemed appropriate.
 Should your wish to speak to ATAS about your complaint you can contact them in the following ways :

  • By completing a feedback form on their website :  www.atas.com.au
  • By telephoning them on 02 92879900
  • By writing to them at level 3, 309 Pitt St. Sydney, NSW 2000
  • By emailing them at :  atas@afta.com.au
YOUR RIGHTS UNDER CONSUMER LAW

You are further able to refer your complaint to your relevant federal, state or territory protection agency.

COMPLAINTS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY A REGULATOR OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

If your complaint is currently being assessed and investigated by a relevant federal, state, or territory consumer protection regulator or law enforcement agency, we may cease to be involved in the matter pending finalization of the investigation. 
We will naturally assist any agency with their investigations.