The cancellation of millions of holidays, as well as all foreseeable concerts and sporting events is weighing Australians down – but add in attempting to get a refund amid so much economic uncertainty, and it’s no wonder consumers are worried.
Mastercard’s Johan Gerber and Marie Russo have acknowledged that the current COVID-19 situation is creating additional stress for consumers who are currently out of pocket, but stated that it’s not all bad news.
“Many businesses are supporting their customers and offering refunds or instituting flexible policies such as fee waivers, store credit or vouchers,” they indicated.
Here are their top tips for streamlining the refund process:
1. Do your research:
Check the business’ website to understand your options, whether it be a refund, credit or voucher. Many businesses are posting updated policies, helpful tips and alternative contact options on their websites to make the process as easy as possible, Mastercard has noted.
2. Start with the business:
With any purchase inquiry as well as to request a refund, be sure to contact the business first. They can and will usually handle this directly.
3. Be patient:
Waiting on hold is not an enjoyable pastime. Remember, you aren’t the only one whose plans have changed. Most, if not all businesses are doing their best under extremely difficult circumstances. These are unprecedented times, so what was immediate previously may now take longer.
4. Ask questions:
When you contact a business, it’s a good idea to ask what their expected timeline is for reimbursement so you can plan accordingly. Even then, Mastercard recommends adding a few extra days just to be safe.
In saying that, it is okay to ask for updates throughout the refund process.
5. If all else fails:
If all else fails and you can’t resolve things with the business, check to see if you are covered by trip insurance or purchase protection plans.
The final fallback can then be calling your bank or the credit union that issued your card. If you do, have all the key details ready to help the process – starting with the transaction amount and date, Mastercard has advised.
Be ready to share any prior communication you’ve had with the business.
Ultimately, Mr Gerber and Ms Russo said it’s best if you can come to an amicable resolution with the business before involving the bank that issued your card.
Once the bank or credit union does dispute a charge – whether for suspected fraud, damaged product or, as is increasingly the case, a trip or event has been cancelled – the process can take longer than most people would like.
Not sure whether you are entitled to a remedy or refund for your event or experience? Here are your legal rights, according to the consumer watchdog.