Getting help for Coronavirus cancellation claims and shopping

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.

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.

Coronavirus and price hikes

Help with getting the refund you are owed from business

Posts which will help with various scenarios:

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!

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

Coronavirus - how to ensure you gain redress when a venue cancels

Wedding venues and insurance Watchdog The One Show

Further help with getting redress

Top 20 Tips How to Complain! Use these tips when you complain to be effective! 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.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


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?

Stressful time? Alternative therapy

green background how to assert your legal rights Covid-19 related issuesCOVID-19 scams – How to stay safe a guest post by Paul Newton regarding current Covid-19 related scams.

3 more habits of an effective complainer

Techniques to improve your complaining skills!

If you are not used to complaining, don’t like complaining, get fobbed off easily, but don’t like being out of pocket there are things you can do to help you improve your technique. Look out for the new book soon!

But in the meantime here are another three tips to start you off!

border shapes how to improve your complaining habits

1) Craft your tweet carefully

If you do tweet to call out a company on their poor response time, for example, take a moment to carefully word your tweet so that it clearly gets the message out to them and to the public, for the best response. Make sure you include the Twitter handle of the company (“@companyname”) so that they get to see your messages about them.

Jacob had been an emailing a company about a delivery that hadn’t arrived so he sent a tweet “hello @retailer my order hasn’t been delivered”. The company apologised and took it into direct messaging to get the personal details and order number. The company’s twitter team took ownership of the issue, contacted the courier department and located the parcel.

See 5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should).

2) Be principled

It’s always about the principle of the thing. If it’s an injustice then be ready to fight for it, to win.

Clive told me about a delivery pass he took out with a supermarket to cover 12 months delivery. After 3 months he received an email stating he would be charged 5p a plastic bag. They had estimated 8 bags per visit, a cost of £20 a year. He contacted customer services and was told that he had had 3 months to cancel the pass. Clive said he did not know he would be charged and requested either no charge for 12 months or 70% of the delivery cost back. Clive waited on the ‘phone for a supervisor for twenty minutes. “I now have £55 in vouchers. It’s only 5p a bag but it’s the principle!” he said.

3) Write well

It’s important to make sure your correspondence is written in good English. If the correspondence is not clear, you make it much harder for the reader to understand and provide assistance. Ask someone to help you if you think your letter writing isn’t good or if English isn’t your first language.

Unfortunately, too many businesses do not welcome complaints or do not make it easy to complain. If your correspondence is written poorly, many companies will assume that you won’t take matters further and will ignore you or fob you off. I have worked with companies who put in effort t

o understand what people want when correspondence is poor. But others do not, so if you want a solution to your problem then make your message clear.

101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo


More tips in the best selling book 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer



Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo



For lots of help, consumer laws, advice and  templates have another best seller! GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!