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buying online after checking with a travel agent

Baku, Azerbaijan
posts: 4
reviews: 2
buying online after checking with a travel agent

Is it ethical to check with a travel agent and after they have found one or two options for your trip, buy something online because you found it cheaper there? I've always thought that was just part of their job--that, like a car salesman who sometimes sells and sometimes doesn't, they are expected to invest the time, knowing that you may or may not buy from them. I recently bought online after asking a travel agent to check on a price, based on this assumption, and the travel agent was offended.

32 replies to this topic
London
posts: 1,261
reviews: 73
1. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

If you managed to get a better deal online, then I don't see the problem?

Italy
Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
posts: 39,160
reviews: 127
2. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

I wouldn't worry, it's your money and you can book with who you like, anyone else would have done the same thing if they'd found a cheaper offer but be careful with 3rd party booking websites it's always better to book directly with the airline.

Chicago
posts: 3,927
reviews: 1
3. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

I am old-fashioned, but if you used the travel agent to do your legwork and then used that information to buy online, I don't think that is right. But then I don't buy books off Amazon if I see a book I like at my bookstore either.

If you found a different deal then that is a different situation in my book.

I realize that the younger generation is used to going to stores just to scope things out, but it is after all the guy's livelihood, time and expertise.

wirral
posts: 15,355
reviews: 69
4. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

I consider that to be poor form. Travel Agents are paid by commission on sales. If they don't make a sale they don't get paid. So how do they stay in business if they find good deals for customers they regard with good faith and treat accordingly only to be snubbed later?

If you use the services of a Travel Agent then he deserves to be paid. However if you do all your own searching and selecting then by all means book direct.

Worthing, United...
posts: 4,842
reviews: 11
5. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

Hi

How does the travel agent know you bought the deal online?

I suppose it is poor form but who hasn't found something in one store then bought it in another because it was cheaper, or bought it online to save carrying it home. If we were all ethical about our purchases then our high street would be full of local shops and businesses and poor kids in developing countries wouldn't be sticking soles on trainers.

So this is a first class example of 'He that is without sin .....'

Jackie

Edited: 9:48 am, December 04, 2013
Baku, Azerbaijan
posts: 4
reviews: 2
6. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

What I wound up buying online was completely a result of my own research and was not the same itinerary as what the travel agent found. He did his research and I did mine and then I made what I thought was the best choice. I actually thought it was common practice to check both places until I received the email indicating that he was offended.

Leyland, United...
Destination Expert
for Playa Blanca
posts: 19,888
reviews: 34
7. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

As an ex travel agent I agree it's most frustrating when people use an agent to do their research for them, and then just go off and book it somewhere else. While they're spending time doing your work for you, they could be losing customers that do intend to book with them.

I think looking at an item in store and buying online or elsewhere isn't quite the same. You aren't using someone else's time (and sometimes it goes into hours) and knowledge to the same extent, if at all.

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 19,983
8. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

If you ask a travel agent what the best deal they can get you is, and they can't beat what you can find online, I see no reason to spend more just to make them feel better. If you ask them to research a complicated itinerary that wouldn't be otherwise easily found, and then you take that work and use it to price compare and piece together your own, cheaper, version, I might feel differently, but I'd question why a good travel agent can't find those same fares him or herself.

Chicago
posts: 3,927
reviews: 1
9. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

If you found your own itinerary via your own research then no issues in my book.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 4,710
reviews: 32
10. Re: buying online after checking with a travel agent

A family member once owned a travel agency. I saw first hand that some agents clearly are not thinking of their clients first...they don't last in that industry, (and the good ones do). The fact your agent sent you an email chastising you shows that he or she has no essence of what being a good sales person is. Their e mail should have been more along the lines of how better could they have served you in the future so that you would use them, and not to show their "annoyance" at your actions.

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