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‘Just didn’t exist’

For Nicole Vris and a large portion of her family, this year was going to involve the trip of a lifetime.
Ms Vris and 35 members of her family were gearing up to travel to Greece, and meet up with friends and family — until they found out that not a cent of the $106,000 they’d paid Travel World Sydney had gone towards their booked flights and accommodation.
After receiving what appeared to be flight reservations for the group, Ms Vris soon realised the documentation was a fake.
“We called Emirates directly,” Ms Vris told A Current Affair.
“They asked us for numbers that were on that itinerary. They [the numbers] just didn’t exist. We were not in the system.”
Travel World Sydney scammed a family out of their travel money.
After being told of the itineraries Ms Vris had received on behalf of her large travel group were essentially fake, she quickly approached the director of Travel World Sydney for which she claims she was given empty answers before allegedly being ignored entirely.
Now, she and her family are out $106,000 with no plane or accommodation tickets for their dream holiday.
“It is a hell of a lot of money,” she said.
“Had we have not found out we would’ve shown up at the airport on this particular day … all 35 of us … to be told that we don’t have a ticket.”
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Ms Vris is one of 28 complaints received by Fair Trading in relation to the Arncliffe travel agency.
In a statement sent to news.com.au, a spokesperson confirmed the official complaints received amounted to almost $154,000 — and an investigation into the travel agency had commenced.
“NSW Fair Trading has received 28 complaints about Travel World Sydney since 1 January 2023 involving consumer purchases valued at [$155,254],” the statement read.
Ms Vris is one of 28 complaints received by Fair Trading in relation to the Arncliffe travel agency.
“NSW Fair Trading is investigating the business about the complaints. Complex Investigations can take months to complete, requiring interviews with relevant parties, gathering of documentation, records and seeking advice from technical experts.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses must not accept payment for products or services if they don’t intend to supply the product or service.”
The current office of the travel agency in Arncliffe is currently closed, with a note that has been posted on the window to say the landlord has regained possession.
On Wednesday, NSW Police confirmed to news.com.au that a strike force investigation had been launched into the fraud, urging anyone who had been affected by Travel World Sydney to contact St George Police.
“St George Police Area Command have commenced an investigation under Strike Force Baile regarding alleged frauds involving a travel agency at Arncliffe,” the statement read.
“Police have been told that a number of people have come forward to report that they had made travel arrangements with the agency and those bookings had not been honoured.”
News.com.au has contacted the director of Travel World Sydney for comment.

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