The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) reports that it has learned of several recent ownership schemes that leave agents holding the bag. ARC cites cases in which the "new owner" was given complete access to ticketing, carrier funds, bank accounts, etc. without ever having submitted or obtained the required written approval for a change of ownership application.
“These cases resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of loss to the carriers and thus to the agency and/or agency owner(s) who permitted such complete control by a third party to the agency's financial and contractual obligations,” ARC said. “ARC's written approval letter establishes the date upon which the new owner becomes liable for all financial transactions (all transactions before such date are the responsibility of the former agency/owner).”
ARC urges agents to remember the basics:
* If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is
* Never agree to the proposed owner's suggestion that they will handle the ARC ownership application
* Never give control of, or access to your GDS for ticketing (either on site or remote), your agency's bank accounts, the ARC Pins/Passwords, the proceeds for sales of airline tickets, etc. to a buyer prior to written approval from ARC
* Advise ARC's FIFP department of any attempts by a proposed buyer who states that they: will submit the change of ownership application, want access to ticketing, need access to your ARC Pins/Passwords, etc
* Review Section 70.1 of the Industry Agents' Handbook on line at www.arccorp.com for additional ownership schemes ARC offers direct contact with its Field Investigation and Fraud Prevention (FIFP) office: Phone: 703.816.8137. Fax: 703.816.8138. E-mail: [email protected]
To assist agents to deal with fraud and scams, ARC plans a Travel Agent Fraud Prevention Forum, May 4, (One day before the TRAMS Technology and Marketing University, May 5-7, 2009), at the Rio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
“Fraud is unfortunately always evolving and with the internet, the ways one can be hurt are many. Keep yourself informed and armed with the knowledge that can keep you and your agency from being scammed,” ARC says.