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Why a stage 4 travel ban could put you out of pocket

  • March 19 2020
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Why a stage 4 travel ban could put you out of pocket

By Grace Ormsby
March 19 2020

As borders close down and flights are grounded, it doesn’t look like Australians will be travelling any time soon. So, can you get your money back?

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Why a stage 4 travel ban could put you out of pocket

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  • March 19 2020
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As borders close down and flights are grounded, it doesn’t look like Australians will be travelling any time soon. So, can you get your money back?

cancelled flights

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has provided up-to-date information for consumers who may be affected by cancellations to their travel plans.

It comes as the federal government has announced a stage 4 travel ban.

nestegg does note that a huge number of businesses and companies in the travel sector have been impacted by changes to policies and government advice on a continuing basis and are therefore being inundated with queries from concerned persons.

To combat long communication wait times, information about refund and remedy processes is being placed on relevant websites in many instances.

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Here’s what the consumer watchdog is saying:

A flight, cruise or tour I was meant to be going has been cancelled. Can I receive a refund?

Under normal circumstances, if your travel plans are cancelled by the provider, the ACCC said it expects you to receive a refund or other remedy, such as a credit note or voucher, in most circumstances.

However, where an event is cancelled due to government restrictions, your rights under consumer guarantees are impacted.

You may still be entitled to a refund under the terms and conditions of your ticket – the ACCC is advising Australians to contact the business directly to request a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher.

Am I entitled to compensation for other expenses I have already paid out in relation to my trip, such as accommodation?

The ACCC is advising consumers to first approach the related service provider to see if they are prepared to offer you a refund.

Also, check your travel insurance policy – as well as the fine print - to see if it covers such expenses.

According to the watchdog, you may be entitled to compensation for these expenses under Australian Consumer Law, but this will depend on your specific circumstances and is unfortunately unlikely to be the case where the travel is cancelled due to government restrictions.

Can I cancel a travel booking due to my concerns about COVID-19 and receive a refund?

In this scenario, such a decision may be treated as a “change of mind”.

The ACCC said in this instance, you can contact the provider to see if you are entitled to a remedy – possibly a full or partial refund, a credit note or voucher.

It is especially worthwhile trying this where you have a health condition that means you are at a higher risk, but the ACCC can offer no guarantees.

Given the exceptional circumstances, the ACCC outlined that it is encouraging all businesses to treat consumers fairly.

nestegg has previously looked at consumer rights in the case of event cancellations.

Why a stage 4 travel ban could put you out of pocket
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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