Member for Baulkham Hills, David Elliott, and the Member for Castle Hill, Dominic Perrottet, are reminding graduating students heading to 2011 Schoolies celebrations to scrub up on their consumer rights and to take some basic but important precautions when planning their activities.
Mr Elliott said Schoolies can easily end up out-of-pocket consumers if they fail to do their research and neglect the fine print when purchasing goods and services.
“For many young people this will be their first experience looking after a holiday budget and paying their way,” he said.
“Young and inexperienced consumers need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, particularly when it comes to booking travel and accommodation.”
New South Wales Schoolies runs from 26 November to 11 December. More than 70,000 NSW year 12 students will graduate this year and many are expected to converge on popular locations including Byron Bay, the NSW south coast, the Queensland Sunshine and Gold Coasts, Fiji, Bali and Vanuatu.
Mr Elliott said if booking accommodation with friends be sure to ask how many are allowed to stay in the room as failure to do so can leave you far from home without a roof over your head.
“Also be aware that when sharing accommodation the person who made the booking can be left with the mini-bar or room service bill, regardless of who actually used it,” he said.
“Schoolies’ complaints to Fair Trading tend to relate to overbooked, substandard or misrepresented accommodation while traders often seek advice on overcrowding in accommodation and noise issues.
“Be aware of the conditions attached to your flights and accommodation check-in requirements. With some tickets, if you miss your plane there may be no option other than to buy a new ticket.”
Mr Perrottet cautioned that with so many off-guard and inexperienced young people gathered together, scammers and confidence tricksters see Schoolies as the perfect prey.
“Be on the look-out for un-authorised ticket sellers, peddlers of deals that seem too good to be true and anyone who doesn’t have an established and reputable business behind them,” he said.
“Finally remember to keep your receipts. Whether its accommodation or clothes, a receipt is the best way to protect yourself if you end up in a dispute over something you’ve purchased.”
If in doubt about refunds, accommodation or anything else related to purchases of products and services, call the local consumer protection agency (in NSW, Fair Trading on 13 32 20).