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Much Ado About Rebates

March 20, 1988

Nothing in the Travel Section in recent years has upset me quite as much as "Kickbacks From Your Travel Agent" (March 13) by Toni Taylor. She is telling the public to ask travel agencies to split the 10% commission. If Taylor had any idea about the economics of this travel agency business, she would not have made the suggestion. We travel agents still work "free" in that our commissions are paid by the airlines, cruise lines, tour companies, hotels and car companies.

I wonder if Taylor knows that the average travel agency is marginal, that is, barely able to make a profit, let alone make a "killing." My agency is average in size and bookings. In 1987, after servicing my debt and paying income taxes, I had about $26,000 to live on. And I work at least 45 hours a week, or for about $11.50 an hour.

Just to set something straight: Our commission on a domestic airline ticket is not 10%, but 9.26%, as our commission is calculated on the fare after deducting the 8% federal tax. Next time Taylor writes about the travel agency business, I hope she does some research and gets her information from the agency owners and employees and not from the Department of Transportation.

RON RARIDON

Owner

Travel Network of Laguna Hills

Taylor is reporting on a present situation and writes that it is against the law. Also, he does not claim that all travel agents are pursuing a kickback policy: "Be aware that not all travel agents will agree to rebate, even if the DOT (Department of Transportation) issues a positive ruling. Some don't think they can afford it; others will refuse on principle."

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