Cancelled event and ticket holders: Choose refund credit notes over vouchers
Complaints about travel, cultural and entertainment firms have soared amid the coronavirus pandemic, and as many businesses struggle to meet cancellation refunds, they’re pressuring customers into accepting vouchers instead of giving them their money back.
London Trading Standards (LTS) is reminding consumers that they have a legal right to a refund in the event that no service is provided. People are also warned over refund vouchers and admin fees charged as a result of a cancellation.
It said vouchers aren’t financially protected if a firm goes bust and a Refund Credit Note (RCN) – where available – is a better option. This is because it may be financially protected, such as by ABTA, and you have the option to exchange these for a cash refund at a later date.
LTS also reported that some travel agents have been deducting significant ‘admin’ fees from refunds – contrary to law – and this should be reported and stopped, it said.
Stephen Knight, operations director at LTS, said: “The travel and event industry is obviously facing an enormous challenge in the current pandemic, but it is not the responsibility of individual consumers to provide an industry-wide bail-out. Consumer rights to a refund are enshrined in EU and UK law and must be upheld.
“Where package holiday consumers are willing to accept an alternative to a cash refund, then financially protected Refund Credit Notes, such as those backed by ABTA, that can be exchanged for a cash refund or future travel is much safer than a simple voucher.
“We are also aware of some travel agents seeking to charge ‘admin’ fees of around £75 per person for processing refunds. This is unacceptable and consumers should report any such cases to trading standards.”
It has produced a Covid-19 travel and event cancellation Q&A for more information.
To report concerns about companies that are engaging in unfair practices, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline on 0808 223 1133 or via their chat service online https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/.
Or you can report online using the LTS reporting tool – http://www.londontradingstandards.org.uk/report-consumer-crime/