How to Report a Company for Refusing to give RefundsDisclosure: This post contains affiliate links & I may earn commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
With half the UKs businesses closed, and millions of us out of work, refunds from cancelled travel plans are very welcomed at the moment, but even though you are legally entitled to a full refund if your travel/hotel provider is closed, many people are finding that this isn't the case.
The government has now set up a service for consumers to report businesses that are behaving unfairly (and illegally) during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Rules Regarding Refunds
ABTA have recently confirmed that you are legally entitled to a choice of either a full cash refund, a credit note or a date change for holidays cancelled by the provider. The rules are different if you choose to cancel and the property is still open - in this case it would be down to the retailers discresion.
Please note that if you do opt for a cash refund, the money could take weeks, or possibly months to arrive, due to the massive amount of refunds they are trying to process at the moment, coupled with lack of staff.
Although the law is clear, many customers say they are being forced to accept vouchers because the retailers are stating that 'refunds are not an option'. This is illegal and you can dispute it.
How to Report a Business for Illegally Refusing to Refund
There's a simple form to fill out on the gov.co.uk website where you will be asked some questions about the behaviour you witnessed, as below...
- Unfair prices for products or services I’m buying for me and/or other people,
- Unfair prices for business-to-business sales
- A business making misleading claims about products or services
- Problems with the cancellation, refund or exchange of products or services
- Other unfair behaviour
For refunds use point 4: Problems with the cancellation, refund or exchange of products or services
You then need to provide a description of the issue, make sure you add that the hotel/business in question is actually closed and unable to provide you with the service you paid for.
Remember to keep any email correspondence with the company in question, as evidence.
To report a business go to the gov website here
Other Ways to Obtain a Refund
If your travel provider is refusing to give you a refund, you might be able to get one through your bank by issuing a Section 75, which is part of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
If your transaction was between £100 and £10,000 and you paid using a credit card, you have purchase protection. The CCA means your credit card provider is jointly responsible for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by a retailer or trader.
If you didn't use a credit card, you still may be covered by visas 'chargeback scheme', which you would need to get in touch with your bank or building society to apply for - this is at VISAs discretion.
A chargeback allows your visa card issuer to provide you with a refund, if:
- You do not get the goods or services you paid for, including if the company has gone out of business
- Goods or services turned out to be faulty, counterfeit or defective (you will need to return the goods)
- You're charged the wrong amount, or charged twice by mistake
- You're charged for a repeat payment after cancelling a subscription.
Some people are contacting hotels directly and getting refunds secured. I tried this myself and was told no, but this was last week, so I may push them again for cancellation now that the situation in Prague has gotten worse.
UPDATE: The hotel refused my refund twice, even though they are closed until May 1st and can not provide me with the service I paid for, but thankfully Agoda.com overruled them and refunded me.
If you took out travel insurance, or a lucky enough to have yearly multi-trip, then you will also be covered - even for non-refundable rate bookings
If all else fails and you have tried every other way above to try and secure your refund, and your claims have prooved unsuccessful, you need to complain to the financial ombudsman service which is free to use.
Things to Remember
If everyone demands refunds, the travel companies are at huge risk of going bankrupt, so if you are in a position to have a voucher, please do so.
Due to high demand and low staff numbers, refunds are likely to take a lot longer than the current 14-day required period, please be patient.
If your travel provider offers you to change dates, and the change of dates means your holiday is more expensive, ask for a price match. Many companies have been obliging, and again this will help keep them afloat and give you something to look forward to.
This advice extends to all areas of retail where a company can no longer provide you with a service. Such as spa/experience days, Package Holidays, Non-refundable Hotel & Flight bookings, goods and services.
Lastly, I would like to urge you to remember the businesses that were forthcoming with refunds, and the ones that supported their staff and customers adequately during all of this - then when all of this is over, support those businesses over the ones who made us fight for our own money.
Again, to report a business go to the gov website here and If you have had any success getting a refund from a non-compliant business or need any further help, please let us know in the comments below...