Credit card companies need to respect current licencing arrangements when demanding large cash deposits from travel agents adversely impacted by Covid-19, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Following yesterday’s meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications Network, Committee member Senator Jerry Buttimer said: “It is worrisome and disappointing to have heard from Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) representatives that some credit card companies are taking a very hard line and demanding substantial security cash deposits from travel agents.
“Covid-19 has had a profound impact on the travel industry, and fairness and flexibility must be prioritised to ensure that agents have the best possible chance of getting back on their feet over the coming months.
“This is a very serious issue for the sector, after what’s been a devastating 14 months for the tourism and travel industry. Taking a hard line here is just unacceptable as the Government currently has strong bonding and licencing arrangements in place for travel agents.
“The benefit to consumers of travel agents being bonded with the Commission for Aviation is that there is no risk to them; consumers are 100% protected.
“The bonding provision under the European Commission’s regulation also ensures there is no risk to Merchant Service Providers. There is zero risk to credit card companies and as a result of these protections, demands for cash security are onerous and unnecessary.
“This issue is putting many businesses at risk of closure. We need these businesses to survive; to ensure we have a strong tourism sector once restrictions are lifted, and the Government must look at addressing these demands for cash security to guarantee the future of our travel industry” concluded Senator Buttimer.