Tourism. DECO will certify APAVT travel agencies

“There is no reason for business associations to be on one side and consumer protection associations on the other”, said the president of APAVT, Pedro Costa Ferreira.

“The objective is the defense of clients and they do not have to have conflicting interests”, added the president of DECO, Luís Silveira Rodrigues.

Between the application and the ‘Checked by DECO’ certification, it can take about three weeks. Agencies that are interested in displaying this seal must fill in a form in which they answer several questions and are tested, in particular, with the visit of “mystery shoppers”.

There are objective criteria, which relate to compliance with legislation on consumer relations and sectoral legislation, the type of information provided to the customer, whether it is transparent and accessible. The assessment also takes into account whether the agency has had complaints and how it resolved them. And how will you solve the ones you eventually have in the future. Basically, the aim is to help the customer choose companies that have good practices and provide the best service.

If the agency “passes the exam” receives the seal; if not, DECO experts make recommendations and resubmission may occur. The certification is valid for one year and if the travel agency no longer meets the criteria, it can be withdrawn.

Agencies are not obliged to join this initiative, but the president of APAVT, Pedro Costa Ferreira, considers that they have every interest in doing so and expects the overwhelming majority to do so.

“APAVT’s obligation is to create positive differentiation, to serve agencies beyond their capabilities. I think most are well prepared and go through the first assessment; those who don’t, I hope they do their homework to improve”.

Luís Silveira Rodrigues, in turn, stressed that the pandemic has come to show more clearly the advantages that travelers have of working with agencies: “the more complex the trip, the greater the need to work with agencies. It is an opportunity to take advantage of and generate greater confidence and security with consumers”.

Checked by DECO does not invalidate the work of the Customer Provider of Travel Agencies. The objective is to reduce the number of cases that reach it and even these, in most situations, are incidents that are not directly related to the service of the agencies, namely delays or cancellations of flights due to strikes or bad weather conditions, emphasizes Costa Ferreira .

In fact, one of DECO’s experts stressed that there is a clear decrease in complaints about agencies, contrary to what happens with air carriers or with trips that customers decide to organize at their own risk. But the lack of information is one of the most frequent reasons for complaints.

The president of the Portuguese Consumer Protection Association admits that this type of certification can be extended to other sectors of activity, but without haste.

Source: Renascença – Noticias by

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