The unholy trinity: a 'bad' travel agent, an injustice, and consequential legal action

Have you got what you paid for with your travel agent? We are a retired couple who some months ago had a bad encounter with a travel company called Our Vacation Centre . ***** After consulting with our lawyer, we believe the company has contravened Australian Consumer Law and ACCC Guidelines in a number of serious and significant ways. All attempts to work with the company and its parent, over about eight months, to reach a resolution have been met with little response from the company. Essentially, they have mostly tried to either ignore us or fob us off, probably hoping we would eventually just give up and go away. They eventually resorted to engaging a lawyer who wrote a “strong-arm” letter trying to “convince” us the company was faultless and for us to therefore give up and go away – but which letter appears to have further contravened the law in multiple ways. More recently, their lawyer has followed that initial letter up and written informing us that the company is now refusing to engage with us any “further!!”. On advice received, and as the company continues to refuse to act in good faith, or at all, our evidence is being prepared in order to escalate the matter into the legal justice system.

After looking into this area while all this has been going on, there seems to be a long line of travellers experiencing problems who get either ignored, fobbed-off or inadequately dealt with by travel agents and travel companies; or, who decide it is not worth the effort trying to pursue the matter at all. For example, recent CHOICE research (2014 to 2017) shows that: 48% of travellers experienced a problem in the last 12-month period surveyed and this percentage is “significantly” increasing; 61% of those experiencing a travel problem did not complain; and, of those travellers who did complain, only 23% said the matter was resolved to their satisfaction. That is to say: of every 100 travellers with a problem, only 9 end up being satisfied with the outcome. On industry figures for travellers into, out of, and within Australia each year, and using these percentages, there are potentially around 12 million travellers with a problem either unresolved or unresolved to their satisfaction, each year.

Has anyone else had a “bad” experience with Our Vacation Centre, or any of its brand names, ***** or with any other travel agent or travel company? We would love you to share it with us.

***** The company is a subsidiary of I.C.E. Vacations Asia Pacific and the ultimate parent is a large American company, The International Cruise and Excursion (I.C.E.). The company also operates a large number of brands in Australia including: ICE Vacations; Cruise Megastore; Lifestyle Loyalty Group; Travel Megastore; Cruise Mega Deals; Hotel Megastore; My Just Rewards; My241 Cruise; Cruise Pilot; Cruise Superstore; Car hire Megastore; Tour Megastore; Our Vacation Club; among others.


Hi @Strolly,

Welcome to the forum.

It appears that you haven’t been satisfied with the services or products provided by Our Vacation Centre (OVC). To provide context to your original post, and also for readers of this forum, it would be great if you could provide further information on the products/services which lead up to your complaints with OVC.

Other forum members may be able to provide advice on your circumstances and also information on how to assist with its resolution.


I had a look at the OVC website, would be really interested to hear more from consumers about this company if they find their way to this thread. Do you need to pay to use the OVC service? I noticed that some of the hotel/resort package are in timeshare destinations like Vida Vacations.


Hi phb, and Brendan,

Re: Our Vacation Centre (OVC) ***** and associated entities and brand names

Thanks for your replies.

It has been possible, in relation to an international travel booking, to allege and document a very large number of individual instances of contravention by Our Vacation Centre ( OVC ) ***** of the Australian Consumer Law and the mandatory AFTA/ATAS Code of Conduct . The company has also failed to comply with ACCC Guidelines . Our Vacation Centre (OVC) ***** is an accredited member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents – AFTA – and is also part of the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme – ATAS. It’s an amazing number of contraventions - and we are still identifying further instances. We have not yet gone near AFTA’s Code of Ethics .

These four principal sources of consumer protection have been cast aside by the company in virtually every possible respect. Other areas of the law have also been transgressed – for example, negligence, fraud, agency, and contracts. Nevertheless, accordingly to its lawyer, the company regards itself as entirely faultless.

To cite the detail of each contravention would be too long for this forum. We will instead simply categorise the main areas in which we believe the company has contravened the consumer protections and other relevant laws:

  • false or misleading representations; misleading or deceptive conduct; unconscionable conduct; unfair terms; hidden terms; terms not provided; non-adherence to terms; wrongly accepting payment; guarantee as to skill and care; guarantee as to fitness for purpose; proof of transactions; itemised bills; information supply; information standards; refunds; cancellations; negligence; fraud; absence of a complaints process; conflicts-of-interest; mismanagement; self-interested prioritising of the commercial interests of its partnerships and other commercial associations at the expense of consumer interests; prepayments; conflict between its own commercial interest and those of its consumers; failure to hand over all money collected; non-performance of duty of care and diligence; financial viability; rapacious pricing; unfair selling tactics; nexus between staff reward and misconduct; misuse and abuse of asymmetry of power and information to its own advantage; conflict between duty and self-interest; failure to hold itself to account; overcharging; breaches of directors’ and officers’ duties; pricing disclosure; false advertising; misleading and deceptive website; incompetence; charges above quotes; supply of incorrect services; misleading representation regarding membership and obligations under AFTA/ATAS; unsatisfactory service; contract termination fees; disputed and unreasonable charges; non-disclosure; denial of relevant information requested; disinterest in resolution of issues; exploitation of vulnerable consumers; a culture based on self-interest and consumer exploitation; failure to treat seriously, or even read, dispute and claim documents from complainants; failure to act in good faith; among others.

The details of each contravention have been documented (so far around 260 pages) and sent to the company and the company’s lawyer. This evidence has described more than 100 individual contraventions. The evidence has been met with disdain and disinterest from the company and its lawyer. In eight months we have received one phone call – during which only one relatively minor issue was briefly discussed with the remaining and more substantive issues being ignored; one email (of just over 2 pages) – which again referred to only one relatively minor issue and ignored the rest (it also made a number of false or misleading representations and produced a previously ‘invisible’ set of terms and conditions ‘replacing’ those on its website); and two lawyer’s letters. The first (of just over 4 pages) of which made further false and misleading representations, among other things, and asserted that the company was entirely innocent of all allegations. The second (of one sentence) simply stated that “our client has expressed its position and does not propose to engage further with you in relation to this dispute”– not that the client really had, anyway.


Our Vacation Centre (OVC)* is tied into timeshare. We were referred to OVC by our timeshare company - Holiday Concepts . We didn’t pay a separate fee to get access to OVC’s services. Some of the OVC documentation we received from OVC also had the Holiday Concepts logo on the top.

OVC also makes reference to Our Vacation Club which is a timeshare with 650,000 members and books travel through OVC . OVC also makes reference to I.C.E. Gallery . It also makes reference to I.C.E. Vacations which requires a membership number to access.

Lifestyle Loyalty Group, a brand of OVC , offers to create and develop reward programs for other companies under the names Discover365 Travel and Lifestyle Rewards and Two for One Rewards Travel Program . It makes bookings under these programs and for a number of other companies, at least some of whom are timeshare companies. These companies are: ACCOR Vacation Club; Marriott Vacation Club; Wyndham Vacation Resorts; Two for One Cruises; RCI; Sears Lifestyle Loyalty; GOV Vacation Rewards; American Express; Virgin Australia; Flybuys Travel; Cruise Megastore; Velocity Frequent Flyer; Expedia; Readers Digest; and Sunsuper Dream Rewards.

***** The company is a subsidiary of I.C.E. Vacations Asia Pacific and the ultimate parent is a large American company, The International Cruise and Excursion (I.C.E.). The company also operates a large number of brands in Australia including: ICE Vacations; Cruise Megastore; Lifestyle Loyalty Group; Travel Megastore; Cruise Mega Deals; Hotel Megastore; My Just Rewards; My241 Cruise; Cruise Pilot; Cruise Superstore; Car hire Megastore; Tour Megastore; Our Vacation Club; among others.


Would you be willing to share the longer document you have put together? You can email it to me -


agreed! I recently got roped into purchasing an $800 transfer of cruise vouchers to a new “discovery” program. I should have read the warning signs because whenever I asked a question about the product they were very vague with the answers. was told up to 90% savings on trips and tours. anyway, they actually took $999 out of my account, not $800. and the trips listed on their website are only 5-10% discounted. its an absolute rort.

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