Consumer NZ has warned travellers to avoid online travel agent eDreams after it received multiple complaints from customers who have had a hard time getting support and refunds from the company.
The watchdog recommended those in Aotearoa book with a New Zealand-based travel agent or directly with the airline to ensure issues are more easily resolved.
Alejandra Hernandez said she has been waiting for a refund from Spain-based eDreams for nine months.
"They pretended to do things but they didn't do anything," she said. "They wasted my time and stole my money."
Alesha Canham is another who struggled to get support from eDreams. She booked flights with the company for a family holiday with her terminally ill partner and toddler son.
After noticing her son's name was spelt incorrectly, Canham spent weeks trying to get it changed, but eDreams failed to resolve the issue. Qatar Airways eventually stepped in and fixed the spelling.
They are just some of the "many posts" online who claim they've been scammed by eDreams, Consumer said.
"It can be very stressful when travel plans go wrong," said Consumer investigative writer Rebecca Styles.
"If you can't get help and support from your travel agent, it makes a bad situation even worse.
"To prevent travel nightmares, we recommend you book with a New Zealand-based travel agent with a good reputation for customer service, or book directly with the airline."
eDreams has been approached by Newshub for comment.
Your international travel rights, according to Consumer NZ
- If your international flight is cancelled, your rights differ depending on a number of factors including the reason for the cancellation, where you are, where you're heading and where the airline is based.
- At a minimum, you'll have the right to a refund, a credit or to be rebooked on another flight.
- You might also be entitled to compensation for any costs arising from the flight cancellation, such as the cost of food, taxis and accommodation.
- Check your travel insurance policy to see if you might be able to make a claim under that.
- If a travel agent or airline is taking a long time to process a refund for a cancelled flight, you could request a chargeback through your bank if you paid with a credit or debit card.
- If you have an issue with a New Zealand-based travel agent, you could take them to the Disputes Tribunal to resolve the problem.