Zuji refund worries mount in Hong Kong after Singapore exit

Zuji is now facing 25 complaint cases, mainly involving air ticket refunds, totalling HK$130,000 (S$22,500), Apple Daily reported.
Zuji is now facing 25 complaint cases, mainly involving air ticket refunds, totalling HK$130,000 (S$22,500), Apple Daily reported.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ZUJI.COM

HONG KONG • Zuji's Hong Kong customers fear they will not be able to get refunds for services they booked through the once-popular online travel platform, less than two months after The Straits Times reported its exit from Singapore.

ST reported in November that Zuji was suspended from issuing airline tickets through the International Air Transport Association's centralised air ticket billing service after it failed to pay up for those it sold to customers.

The report added that Zuji had cut staff in Singapore to focus on operations in Hong Kong. Its Hong Kong and Singapore websites have been closed since November.

Zuji Hong Kong on Dec 5 said on Facebook its "website will be taken offline due to the tight deadline for the new website development".

It added: "We aim to launch our new website in early Q1 2019. All passengers who have purchased from us should not be affected."

Hong Kong's Travel Industry Council said there are 25 complaint cases against Zuji, mainly involving air ticket refunds worth HK$130,000 (S$22,500), Apple Daily reported.

One complainant who gave her surname as Chung told Apple Daily she had bought three air tickets in June via Zuji for HK$8,900 for a Sept 17 flight to Osaka but the trip was scuttled by Super Typhoon Jebi, which hit Osaka and flooded Kansai International Airport, forcing its closure.

 
 

She said Zuji initially told her she would get a refund in 12 weeks, but this was later pushed to 16 weeks. It has been four months since but she has yet to see the money.

"They are still saying the system is upgrading... (I) fear it will close down," Ms Chung said, adding that she has heard that Zuji Hong Kong's travel agent licence has expired.

The Travel Agents Registry (TAR) has confirmed that Zuji Hong Kong's licence expired on Wednesday and was not renewed.

But a TAR spokesman noted that while Zuji Hong Kong may not continue to operate as a travel agent in Hong Kong, the company has said that it will honour flight and hotel reservations made on its website.

Zuji Hong Kong yesterday apologised for the inconvenience.

"We regret to share that we are experiencing technical difficulties on processing refund," it said on Facebook. "Please be reassured we are looking into this."

Zuji was once a leading Asia-Pacific online travel agency, offering flight, hotel and car rental bookings as well as package deals.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Zuji refund worries mount in HK after S'pore exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe