Travel Agent Communications

PED 10/19/2014

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Unsolicited Corporate Account Scheme Targeting Agents in the Midwest

A fraudster is calling travel agents and independent contractors, particularly in Iowa and Minnesota, stating that he represents an auto repair, contracting company or building company (engineering/moving company, etc.) in need of a travel agent to fulfill their travel needs. The first tickets are often for domestic travel, followed by international departures. Once you become suspicious of the number of tickets and credit cards being used as well as the international departures, it may be too late. Credit cards may already be compromised. Even though you have obtained a credit card authorization code, your agency can be held responsible if the real cardholder rejects the sales as fraudulent.

What to consider as high risk:

  • A new corporate account approaching you to do international tickets for immediate departure
  • Third-party transactions (passenger and cardholder are not the same)
  • The so-called company website domain may look legitimate, but additional webpages are not developed or under construction
  • The website/domain is only a few months old
  • International departures (mostly to/from South American airports, i.e., BOG, LIM, EZE, GRU)
  • Multiple credit cards used

Consider using ARC's Red Flags list to determine the risk before you issue tickets. To find the Red Flags list, visit the My ARC homepage and click the Best Practice tab under Fraud Prevention. Provide a copy of the Red Flags document to each of your front line staff, including full/part-time employees and independent contractors.

If you suspect such a scheme and want assistance to assess the risk, contact ARC's Fraud Prevention Team to at 855-358-0393 or fifp@arccorp.com.


Visa and MasterCard Voice Authorization Service to be Discontinued

The Visa and MasterCard Voice Authorization Service (phone: 888-706-1526) was put in place to support travel agents when System Providers' links to obtain Visa and MasterCard authorizations were unavailable. Due to improvements in technology on the part of the System Providers, and following confirmation that the credit card authorization links through the System Providers are always available, a decision has been made to eliminate the service.

If you are unable to obtain a valid approval code via the System Provider, this could be an indication of a problem and it is suggested that you request a new form of payment.


Notice of Changes to the Agent Reporting Agreement

On July 24, 2014, following consultation with travel agency representatives, ARC’s Board of Directors approved changes to the Agent Reporting Agreement (ARA) and an associated section of the Industry Agents’ Handbook (IAH).

ARA Section 8.3.6.2. is amended to remove the requirement for the ARC Specialist to be a “full time employee” of the agent. This change provides the flexibility for an agent to outsource the ARC Specialist business functions based on their business’ needs and requirements.

IAH Section L (Variable Remittance) is updated to remove references to the “Direct Form of Payment with Invoice” Variable Remittance Plan (“DI”), which is no longer used operationally by industry participants.

These changes will be effective on November 3, 2014. Please note that in accordance with Section 5.1.3. of the ARA, your continued participation with ARC after the November 3 effective date will serve as your acceptance of these amendments.

You can view these changes in more detail by clicking here.


2014 Quarterly Transaction Fees – 3rd Quarter

This is a reminder about the agent/CTD transaction fee that is assessed on a quarterly basis. In 2014, the quarterly fee is set at $.017 per transaction. An agency reporting an aggregate of less than 1,000 transactions per quarter will not be assessed a transaction fee. The maximum number of transactions for which an agency can be charged in a quarter is 2.25 million transactions (per entity). A separate debit representing this fee will be drawn against your ARC designated bank account on or after October 23, 2014. Only one draft will be issued for consolidated drafting agents.


Tip of the Week: How Do I Complete the Annual Agency Affirmation Update?

The purpose of the annual Agency Affirmation submission is to confirm ARC has up-to-date, key agency details on file.

The submission date is based on when the agency became active with ARC (the anniversary date). ARC will email the agency's My ARC Primary Administrator 105 days prior to their anniversary date. This email will request the affirmation of key agency details, such as business address, ownership and operational contacts. Upon receipt of the email, the Primary Administrator may forward the request to anyone within the agency as long as that individual has Accreditation Tool access. This new annual affirmation will enable ARC to confirm that the agency information that is on file is up to date.

Completing Agency Affirmation is simple. If all of the agency information is accurate, simply select "yes" under each section. If changes are required, please explain which items have changed. We understand how important our customers' time is and have made every effort to make this process as quick, easy and seamless as possible.

It is very important that the agency information is reviewed and either confirmed or corrected on an annual basis. Maintaining accurate information is critical because it allows us to better serve our travel professional community.


ARC Customer Care Center | Tel. (703) 816-8003 | Fax (703) 816-8039 | csc@arccorp.com

ARC Corporate Communications | Tel. (703) 816-8525 | Fax (703) 816-8168 | corpcom@arccorp.com

www.arccorp.com