Refunds during the pandemic
During the current crisis, most businesses are doing the right thing when it comes to refunding consumers affected by cancellations.
For example, I had tickets booked for a charity comedy night full of A-list comedians and waited for news about the event. I was interested to see if they could reschedule (highly unlikely given all the names involved) and whether they would ask if I would like to make a donation to the charity. In fact, I received an email to say they were looking to reschedule a number of events and, soon after, received an email listing all the dates that were cancelled and those that were rescheduled. Ours was, of course, cancelled. The refunding of the card was already underway, according to the email.
However there are a number of companies still not doing the right thing. For example, those which are trying to give credit notes instead of cash refunds.
Whilst even I would say to allow companies a little extra time to give you that refund (and I would normally NEVER say that!) due to the amount of refunds that they are having to be processed, your consumer rights remain the same in all circumstances whether they are COVID-19 related, or not.
The crisis has hit nearly every sector. There is some support for many businesses, so it is not right for the consumer to bankroll these companies and also be out of pocket.
Report businesses acting illegally during the pandemic
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is closely monitoring businesses through this period. It has the power to open a consumer enforcement if it finds strong and compelling evidence that the law might have been broken. It can call on the company to change their behaviour by committing to formal undertakings or promises. If they refuse, then the case can be taken to court. It won’t take on individual cases but it is worth reporting any offending companies to the CMA.
The CMA is also monitoring price hiking (also known as “gouging”) and will similarly tackle companies that are attempting to profit from the current situation.
Unused gift vouchers during Covid
Normally there are restrictions on gift cards. Will your Gift Cards keep on giving? However, many people have not been able to use their gift cards in store while shops are shut. If the gift card could have been used online then you should use it online. You would expect companies to extend the gift card deadline in these cases where the cards can only be used in store because they have not been able to provide normal service. However due to the unprecedented nature of the reason that you have been unable to spend the card it is yet to be tested in court which is, ultimately, the test.
Help with getting the refund you are owed from business
Posts which will help with various scenarios:
Coronavirus and travel – who’s taking advantage? outlines the law and what the different relevant agencies are saying/doing about travel companies and airlines and refunds.
Travel in the time of Coronavirus – Your rights explained outlines what your rights are and how to assert them regarding holidays and flights in this country and abroad.
Coronavirus related cancelled and postponed events your rights outlines your rights and how to assert them when events in this country or abroad are cancelled.
Online shopping – know your rights during the pandemic explains your rights and how to assert them when things go wrong with an online shop.
Gym Contracts During COVID : Your Consumer Rights a guest post I wrote for Emma at the Money Whisperer.
Don’t get tied in knots over wedding cancellation some venues are not fully refunding couples, charging them fees, not providing a like-for-like alternative next year etc. Here’s what to do about it!
Further help with getting redress
Top 20 Tips How to Complain! Use these tips when you complain to be effective!
Ceoemail.com is a site which gives you the contact details for CEOs. The CEO may not respond personally but it does get the matter escalated and you should get a response from one of the executive team.
For more advice, tips and templates for complaining GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!
Stressed out by the situation?
COVID-19 scams – How to stay safe a guest post by Paul Newton regarding current Covid-19 related scams.