It is unfair for Kiwis to foot the bill for cancelled travel bookings when it is completely out of their control, Consumer NZ says.
Many people were being forced to front up for cancellations with airlines and travel agents despite having no hand in cancellation decisions.
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, airlines had stopped flying to specific destinations and countries worldwide were on lockdown.
In one case, a family was charged $1400 in cancellation fees by a travel agency for a trip to Thailand worth $2300 which could no longer go ahead.
Several complaints had been made along those lines and businesses needed to be fair with consumers, Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said.
"What we're dealing with here is circumstances that are beyond the control of the consumer, and in fairness, beyond the control of the business as well," he said.
"But you've got to step back and [ask] where does the balance of power lie? The businesses charging these fees have got a much better position … consumers have very little power in these circumstances.
"We think businesses should be doing what they can to help consumers through. That's not taking the view that there aren't businesses out there struggling."
People who thought they were being treated unfairly or illegally were told to go to the Consumer NZ website for advice.
They were also told to check where they were at with their travel provider and Consumer NZ was always available "in your back pocket", Duffy said.
There was also a chance cancellation fees could breach the unfair contract provisions of the Fair Trading Act.
Meanwhile, consumers who booked their tickets directly with airlines were in a weaker position in New Zealand, Duffy also said.
Airlines were not liable for financial losses when flights were cancelled due to circumstances beyond their control, such as Covid-19.
However, flights to the United States or to the European Union with an EU airline, jurisdictions meant consumers could be entitled to a refund.
Those countries were signatures of the convention but had amended their obligations so airlines would be required to offer passengers a refund, Duff said.
"We don't see why New Zealand should be any different, frankly," he said.
Elsewhere, Air New Zealand passengers being offered credit instead of refunds could only act depending on the type of ticket they bought, Duff said.
The national airline had a tier system in regards to its tickets and most people who were being offered credit had tickets bought for domestic flights.
"The fully flexible tickets are fully refundable so if you've got one of those you're entitled to a refund," Duffy said.
"If you're at the other end, the cheaper fares, the non-refundable rules apply now as they would if it wasn't during the lockdown. So, you wouldn't be entitled to a refund."