Why use a Travel Agent reason #1

What would you do in another country after finding out you had just been had?
One of my work mates just told me yesterday of a friend that went online and booked a trip and guided tour to Russia themselves. When they arrived at the airport other folks that had booked through a Travel Agent or Travel Supplier had rides waiting to transport them to their hotels. These folks had no one to greet them, or anyway of tracking down who took their deposit. They had no representation at home! Fortunately they found another company to take them. They did loose the deposit however.
Travel Agents are there to make sure you only are booking with a legitimate Tour Company and that you have an advocate at home should a problem arise.
How would you have handled the situation?