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Canada/Canadian-Media: Travel agents across Canada have been asked by travel companies to repay earned commissions in order to refund their customers to for trips cancelled due to COVID-19, media reports said.
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. Image credit: acta.ca
Some agents are being asked to repay as much as $50,000 to airlines and tour companies, said Ontario-based Judith Coates, one of the travel adviser and founders of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) said.
"It is impossible for us to pay back money that we do not have because we're not even earning a living, not to mention the fact that it was money that was earned and has been taxed in some cases — because it was paid in 2019 and it's been spent," said Coates.
Canada's the federal government is being called by the ACITA for a bailout, as Coates said that larger commissions are usually earned on trip packages, like destination weddings and not individual flights.
Coates said about 200 travel agencies in Ontario have closed their doors for good, and there's fear more will be gone forever if the federal government doesn't step in with a bailout.
Coates agents are reluctant to withdraw money from their earned commissions, which are placed in trust accounts.
Coates added if there isn't enough cash in the trust account, the company will take the money out of future bookings, which leaves the agents with little incentive to do any more business with companies.
Cordy said she's paid back $6,000 so far so her clients can get refunds, but she stands to lose as much as $20,000 if all her commissions on her other bookings are recalled.