Over 1,000 complaints against budget tourism company

Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission is asking relevant authorities to look into Blatrip after it fails to improve its services and customers complain.

Over 1,000 complaints have been received by Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission about a local tourism company delaying refunds or failing to provide promised services.

The company, Blatrip, is known for providing flight and hotel packages at lower prices than other outlets. But it requires customers to complete payment first before their trips are confirmed or flight information provided. 

According to a staff member surnamed Cong, the company purchases discounted products from airlines, hotels and ticket agents, and then creates packages which are usually cheaper than the market price. Customers can book months in advance, but it’s only when a customer receives confirmation from Baltrip that the booking can be considered successful. Otherwise the customer can book another date or ask for a refund.

Due to uncertainty over the availability of discounted products from airlines and hotels, Blatrip can only provide flight information days before departure. 

Customers also complained their bookings proved “unsuccessful” too often.

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Blatrip offers travel packages which are usually cheaper than the market price.

According to the commission, there were 1,036 complaints about the company in 2017. Some cited delays or failure to pay refunds after unsuccessful bookings. Some complained about the low success rate of Blatrip’s booking system.

A few complaints were about Blatrip’s membership service. The company sells membership cards priced at 888 yuan (US$138) and 3,999 yuan. A cardholder is promised services including priority in booking and refunds.

In one complaint, a cardholder surnamed Wang purchased a 3,999-yuan membership card last year to enjoy “priority” in booking. She was interested in a travel package to Thailand’s Phuket later this month. Wang had been trying to book her holiday since November 11, but still hadn’t received any conformation.

The commission said it had received around 120 similar complaints against Blatrip in 2016. However, the company had not improved its services over the past year.

The commission said they would inform relevant authorities to look into the company.

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