TAANZ Code of Ethics & Practice

As approved by annual general meeting in Auckland, 19 September 2007 and amended on 2 September, 2009.
To operate as a travel agent in New Zealand it is not necessary to obtain any government licences. There is no specific legislation proscribing what travel agents may or may not do, or how travel agents are to conduct their businesses.

This is the case despite the fact that travel agents are involved in a complex, highly specialised dynamic industry with ever increasing alternatives in product and provider. Travel agents also handle large sums of money for customers and principals to whom they owe fiduciary duties.

The industry is in large measure self-regulated and TAANZ has taken the leading role in this regard by requiring that its members, which comprise the majority of New Zealand travel agents, meet and maintain high standards in terms of financial integrity, premises, qualified staff and ethical conduct.

It is vitally important to TAANZ and its membership that every TAANZ member maintains and promotes the reputation that TAANZ has as the organisation that represents professional, trust worthy, highly qualified, financially sound and bonded travel agents in New Zealand. To that end each is required as a condition of membership to commit to and each has agreed to be bound by this Code of Ethics. All TAANZ members are required and have committed to conducting their businesses in accordance with the principles and values set out herein.

1.1 TAANZ members are to treat their customers’ interests as paramount. TAANZ members must not allow the interests of principals, other parties, or their own interests to influence their duty to be objective in advising their customers of the options and alternatives that are relevant and available to satisfy the requirements of their customers. TAANZ members are to make reasonable endeavours to find out and to facilitate for their customers the best available services at the best available prices relevant to the specified needs of the customer.

1.2 It is the duty of all TAANZ members to keep themselves and their staff fully informed as to all aspects of domestic and international travel and associated services in order to be in a position to give their customers truly professional advice. As part of this responsibility TAANZ members are required to ascertain all pertinent facts concerning every tour, transportation, accommodation facility, or other travel service offered to their customers for which they accept an agency.

1.3 TAANZ members shall treat every transaction with a customer as strictly confidential.

1.4 TAANZ members shall treat their customers and the public with respect, consideration and courtesy.

1.5 It is the duty of all TAANZ members to:

(a) protect their customers and the public at large against dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation and unethical practices in their own business and within the industry as a whole;

(b) comply with all statutes, regulations and common law rules insofar as they govern and regulate business generally and the business of a travel agent in particular;

(c) comply with the Constitution and Rules of the Association, the Membership and Bonding Criteria, the TAANZ Bonding Committee Regulations, this Code of Ethics and all agreements entered into by TAANZ on behalf of the individual members of TAANZ. In particular, it is the duty of all TAANZ members to properly receipt and account for moneys received from customers. Moneys received by TAANZ members from customers are to be held in trust for the customer and are only to be utilised by the TAANZ member for the purposes for which the customer has paid the TAANZ member such moneys. Once a TAANZ member has implemented contractual arrangements between a customer and a principal moneys received from the customer are to be held in trust for the principal.

1.6 TAANZ members shall advise their customers of the fees they charge prior to or at the time they undertake work on behalf of the customer including advice as to whether the customer will be required to pay a cancellation fee or charge in the event that a booking is changed or cancelled. When specifying cancellation fees that are applicable to a particular transaction the TAANZ member shall advise the customer as to what portion of the cancellation fee or charge is payable to the principal and what proportion of the cancellation fee or charge will be retained by the TAANZ member.

1.7 TAANZ members shall not when promoting or advertising their services or the services of their principals make false, misleading, deceptive or dishonest statements. This prohibition shall apply equally to direct communications to customers, to indirect communications to customers and the public at large, and to their advertising.

2.1 TAANZ members shall fairly and responsibly represent the interests of all principals with which they have agency arrangements.

2.2 TAANZ members shall in their dealings with their principals honour the terms and conditions of their agency agreements. They shall fully acquaint themselves with the terms of their agency agreements and of their obligations thereunder.

2.3 TAANZ members shall familiarise themselves with the products of their principals and honestly and faithfully represent such products to their customers. TAANZ members shall not make any false, misleading, deceptive or dishonest statements concerning a principal or a principal’s products or services.

2.4 TAANZ members shall be cognisant of and shall further the interests of their principals by releasing promptly all unsold space and returning cancelled bookings with a minimum of delay.

2.5 TAANZ members shall not improperly attempt to influence the employees of their principals for the purposes of securing preferential consideration in the assignment of space or for any other purpose.

2.6 TAANZ members shall take all reasonable steps to help bring about resolution of any complaint or grievance that a customer may have with a principal. TAANZ members will promptly advise any principal of any complaint or grievance expressed to a TAANZ member by a customer concerning the principal’s product, facilities or services.

2.7 A TAANZ member who issues an e-ticket on behalf of another TAANZ member and does not require payment for the same at or before the time the e-ticket is issued shall be deemed to have extended to the other TAANZ member credit. The TAANZ member so extending credit shall not cancel the e-ticket it has issued and obtain a refund in relation to the same except where:
(i) the customer in whose name the e-ticket was issued requests that this be done; or
(ii) the TAANZ member who issued the e-ticket is requested to cancel the ticket by the TAANZ member on whose behalf the e-ticket was issued because the customer has not honoured the arrangements agreed upon for paying for the ticket.

3.1 TAANZ has established a reputation as the organisation that represents professional, trust worthy, highly qualified, financially sound and bonded travel agencies in New Zealand. To become a member of TAANZ an applicant must meet specified financial criteria, be bonded, have qualified staff and operate out of premises which meet specified standards. As such, TAANZ members owe TAANZ and their fellow TAANZ members a duty to uphold and maintain these standards both individually and collectively.

3.2 TAANZ members must at all times comply with the TAANZ Constitution and Rules, the TAANZ Membership and Bonding Criteria, the TAANZ Bonding Committee Regulations and with this Code of Ethics.

3.3 TAANZ members shall comply with and agree to be bound by the terms of the Hospitality Division Accommodation Agreement and any other collective agreement entered into by TAANZ on behalf of its membership.

3.4 TAANZ members in all dealings with other TAANZ members, with customers and with principals and in the conduct of their business generally shall not engage in unfair competitive practices.

3.5 TAANZ members shall treat each other with proper consideration and respect. They must not act in a manner that damages the reputation of TAANZ.

3.6 TAANZ members shall not seek to obtain any competitive advantage over another TAANZ member by simulating or copying any name, design or style, mark or pattern used by another TAANZ member or by a principal without first obtaining the written permission of the party in question.

3.7 TAANZ acknowledges that its members are free at law to deal with all travel agents irrespective of whether they are members of TAANZ or not and irrespective of whether they are bonded or not. However, if a TAANZ member deals on any terms whatsoever involving payment of any commission or remuneration in lieu thereof in respect of international air services, or facilitates purchase on any terms whatsoever in respect of international air services, with persons holding themselves out as travel agents, who do not provide members of the public with protection by way of a bond based on turnover, or some other legitimate form of consumer protection, or, who are not approved passenger agents of the carriers with whom they are attempting to arrange travel on behalf of customers (as those words are defined in the Civil Aviation [Passenger Agents Commission Regime] Notice 1983 (“the Notice”)), such conduct will be deemed by TAANZ to be contrary to the Notice and inconsistent with both this Code of Ethics and Practice and with the responsibilities that go with being a member of TAANZ. Members undertaking such conduct may, as a consequence, have their membership of TAANZ terminated pursuant to the Rules of the Association.

3.8 Should a dispute arise between two TAANZ members each will promptly respond to the reasonable requests of the other made with a view to resolving the dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved, then, if both parties agree, the dispute shall be referred to the TAANZ Board for resolution. For a dispute to be referred to the TAANZ Board for resolution, both parties must agree that the decision of the TAANZ Board shall be final. The TAANZ Board shall, as appropriate, seek the advice or assistance of a solicitor in formulating its decision.