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From cancelled sporting events to advice against going on international school trips, the coronavirus has started to affect plans for almost everyone. This guide will show you how to get refunds for coronavirus cancellations.
While mass gatherings are not yet banned, we’ll also take a look at what you can do to prepare if you’re planning your wedding or have a future event or holiday booked.
- Always check with the supplier first
- Check public health and Foreign Office advice
- What if you get ill or have to self-isolate?
- Get in touch with the ticketing platform
- Contact your credit card company
- Prepare for coronavirus affecting your wedding plans
- Looking ahead: should you book things now or wait?
Whether you’ve bought a ticket to a football match or a business conference has been cancelled, get in touch with the organiser first.
Find out what they’re going to do about refunds. If an organiser cancels an event, they should refund your ticket straight away. It could take a few weeks to get your money, especially if it’s a large event – but keep in touch with the organiser to make sure your refund happens.
However, if the event is postponed – not cancelled – you might not get a refund. This little loophole allows organisers to keep hold of your money until they offer a new date for the event.
If you then can’t make the new date of the event, they need to refund your ticket. However, they don’t HAVE to return your money until a new date is set.
Keep an eye on public health services for advice about coronavirus and gatherings.
At the moment, in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, gatherings are not officially banned. Organisers may choose to cancel (and many already have), but as it is not official advice they do not have to do so as yet. So, even if you no longer want to attend because you want to avoid the virus, you’re unlikely to get a refund.
International school trips have been advised against by the public health authorities. But that’s currently only advice and not official recommendation. Unless your trip was planned for a country now under lockdown (read below), you may not get a refund.
In Scotland, gatherings over 500 people have been banned. This should make it easier to get your refund – contact the event organiser in the first instance.
In Ireland, gatherings have already been cancelled and schools are closed – which means school trips that you’ve already paid for should be refunded. This could take some time, however, while the school arranges the refund with travel operators and insurance companies.
If you have a holiday booked
We’ve covered coronavirus holiday cancellations here, but the short version is this: if the country you planned to visit is officially advised against by the Foreign Office, you should be entitled to a refund. However, you must have had travel insurance in place PRIOR to the announcement of the country being placed in lockdown.
Check with your travel insurance and operators to find out whether your insurance covers a coronavirus cancellation refund.
Normally, most event organisers and travel operators or insurance companies won’t allow a refund without medical evidence that you weren’t fit for travel.
At the moment, each event organiser and travel company is deciding this on their own terms. That’s because public health advice is to stay at home and not see a GP if you have even mild coronavirus symptoms.
You can get a sick note by calling NHS 111, although it’s advised to only call this service if you absolutely must, as it’s currently overwhelmed. You can check the NHS 111 website for more information in the first instance.
It’s also much harder to know what’ll happen if you’re required to self-isolate but have no symptoms of the virus. Going to an event would be against public health advice – but it’s hard to prove you’ve been placed in self-isolation for a genuine fear of either getting the virus (if you’ve underlying health conditions) or you have been in contact with someone who has (or may have) coronavirus.
We’ll keep this section updated as time goes on. For now, the first thing to do is contact the event organiser or travel operator to find out what their policy is if you’re too ill to travel or are self-isolating and unable to attend an event or travel.
Most ticketing platforms for events have lots of add-ons when you go to buy a ticket. It’s easy to ‘accept all’ and not really know what you’re paying extra for.
If you can’t attend an event, and the organisers are still running it or have not returned your refund queries, check the ticketing platform. You may have paid for event cancellation insurance, or insurance for your own cancellation of the ticket.
A refund may not include the original booking and delivery fees you paid. Legally, you only need to receive the face value of the ticket.
If you’re having no luck getting a refund for your ticket and you used a credit card get in touch with your provider.
Anything worth between £100 – £30,000 is covered by the Consumer Credit Act. That means your credit card company is jointly responsible for a breach of contract (like when an event is cancelled). That means you can claim your money back directly from them.
For anything under £100, or tickets bought on a debit card, you can ask your bank for a chargeback. It’s not a legal right – but many providers are happy to help.
If you’re getting married this year, coronavirus is likely to have been at the forefront of your worries lately. You don’t want to change your big day because of it – but what if people don’t attend, or mass gatherings are banned?
The first thing you need to do now, if you haven’t already, is to get wedding insurance. It’ll ensure you get refunded if you have to cancel the wedding. More than that, it covers you for out-of-pocket expenses that are out of your control – for example, if your florist goes bust because of a business slowdown, you can claim from your insurance. Or if your caterer pulls out last-minute because their staff are ill, your insurance can help recover the costs (including premiums for short-notice supplier bookings).
Talk to your VIPS
Secondly, talk to your most important guests. Find out if they’re still willing to attend the event. If you’re worried they’re going to miss out on the big day, look into virtual wedding attendance!
Find out if your wedding venue can set up an internet link with a live video streaming option. This lets people watch your wedding from anywhere in the world.
Finally, if your wedding is still in the planning stage and you’ve not yet set a date, consider delaying it until later this year or to next year. It’ll give you more time to save up for it, too, and ensure the peak of the pandemic has (hopefully) passed to make sure it doesn’t ruin your special day.
If you had your heart set on a summer full of music festivals you’ll be wondering whether to book anything now or weather the storm.
Tickets are still selling out for big events, so if you want to make sure you’ve got a place if it goes ahead – definitely book! Just make sure you include any insurance cover for illness or cancellations – including coronavirus cancellations.
If your event or plans don’t have a set date, it’s worth considering delaying them for a little while. This also means you benefit from better market rates, too. Some industries, like travel and hospitality, are going to struggle in the next few months. To entice people to use their services, prices are set to drop. Make sure you add comprehensive insurance cover to your plans. Always book insurance at the same time you book your tickets – never wait until later. This covers you immediately in case of cancellations.
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