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Houseboats in hot water

Houseboats in hot water

An Echuca Company is being accused of not offering refunds to customers

Update: The ACCC have today confirmed it is investigating after receiving complaints from people who had booked with the houseboat operator during the lockdown period.

Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, told the Neil Mitchell program they had received 20 complaints in the last few days.

"We'll certainly be engaging with the company," he said.

Mr Sims said, in most cases, those who booked a houseboat during lockdown should be entitled to a refund.

Some people who had booked with Echuca Luxury Houseboats have now received offers for unrestricted vouchers at the full value of their bookings.

Earlier: Echuca Luxury Houseboats have responded to claims they're ripping off customers forced to cancel bookings because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The company released a statement to ACE Radio following claims some families have been left almost $30,000 out of pocket.

The statement reads:

"We genuinely feel for everyone that has been impacted. We too have been massively impacted by this pandemic.

We can assure you that we are working in good faith to provide the best outcome for our impacted customers. We are in the process of drafting correspondence to our impacted customers which will outline our offer of a voucher that they will be able to use over the next 3 years."

Dozens of callers to the Neil Mitchell program on 3AW said they are either being refused refunds or given unsatisfactory rainchecks.

Melbourne businessman Don McLardy was the caller claiming he and his friends paid $30,000 to rent a houseboat over Easter but were forced to cancel due to travel restrictions.

"We actually got something that gave us a voucher with a lot of conditions of less than 50 percent of what we've paid," Mr Mclardy said.

"We won't be taking that but we wish they'd be transparent with what they're thinking.

"We keep saying we don't want to go legal but I suppose we'll have to and that will bring it to a head, but it's really disappointing."

A State of Emergency in Victoria prevented unnecessary travel from March 24 to May 12, which included the Easter period.

Current regulations now allow travel, but overnight stays are still prohibited.

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