The suspension of the traditional Les Amis agency for breaches related to travel rescheduling that were pending due to the Covid-19 pandemic It is just one chapter in the saga of companies that came under the scrutiny of the National Ministry of Tourism and Sports. According to sources from that portfolio to THE NATION, in total there would be 10 companies suspended temporarily for these behaviors.
Companies have a file through which they can operate as an agency. That file was momentarily suspended and in some cases (Les Amis and Garbarino Travel) It is already in the process of deregistration.
Regarding the Les Amis case, the Ministry said that “the suspension is due to the complaints received, which amount to more than 40, and the lack of response to these complaints.” “At first, the company presented itself to the hearings at the Ministry to regularize its situation, but since January they stopped doing so,” they added.
The complaints are for refunds of money or rescheduling that they did not do as stipulated in article 28 of Law 27,563.
According to this article, in the event that the consumer has contracted services through subjects included in article 4 of regulatory decree 2182/1972 of law 18,829, which have been canceled due to Covid-19, they may reschedule their trips. or receive a voucher to be used within 12 months from the end of the validity of the outpatient restrictions and their extensions, for an amount equal to the reimbursement that would have corresponded.
After the validity period of the voucher has not been used, the consumer may request a full refund of any payment made.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the subjects covered must proceed to reimburse consumers and users in the event that they request termination of the contract, provided that the service providers have proceeded to fully refund the amount corresponding to them.
Meanwhile, individuals can report breaches to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Consumer Protection and/or file a court filing.
Lawyer Santiago Aramburu represents clients affected by Les Amis and another company called Manhattan Travel, also suspended by the Ministry.
“The case of Manhattan Viajes is similar to that of Les Amis. The clients paid for trips, the trips ended up being canceled due to Covid, they were postponed and postponed again until they claimed the money and the company closed. When this happens, it is difficult to find them and that they have something to return because perhaps they can prove that they are insolvent because in the middle they declared bankruptcy”, explained the professional, and said that in the context of Covid-19 and travel suspensions there was “a big mess” in the sector.
According to data from the Ministry of Tourismbetween March 2020 and the same month of this year, 252 agencies requested the cancellation and From October 2021 to the present, 143 new agencies have been registered, to which they would join 47 more in April. The The total number of authorized agencies as of today amounts to 5,170.
“The number of casualties was partially contained by the palliative measures that were issued to prevent the agencies from losing the file. Some 1890 agencies made use of instruments such as virtual premises, temporary closure and unification of structures”, portfolio sources said.
Meanwhile, as a result of the digitization and administrative reorganization of the agency registry, 930 suspended files were found as of July 2021, which came with registry problems prior to the pandemic. Of those, they recovered 380, which were rehabilitated between March 2021 and March this year.