We speak with a spokesperson for The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
Amid the coronavirus crisis, many of us are left with questions surrounding all of the uncharted issues we’re now facing.
We won’t get into the nitty-gritty facts and details of the virus, as we here at STELLAR are aware that the reiteration and exaggeration of these facts pose an issue to many of the public’s mental health, and providing a tonic amid the panic is a role we’re happy to fill.
From questions regarding hygiene, work issues, and consumer rights, public concern is unprecedented. So, we spoke with a spokesperson for The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to find out more about consumer rights, in a bid to put rest to some of your concerns.
We asked the question, ‘Am I entitled to money back if my holiday is cancelled due to coronavirus’.
Whether or not you are entitled to your money back depends on a number of things –
Official travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs: If the DFA has declared that an area should not be travelled to, you will likely get a refund either directly or through travel insurance. If the DFA has not declared that an area should not be travelled to, you are in general relying on the T&Cs of your booking and the policy of the travel company.
Whether you booked a package holiday or ‘DIY’ trip: Package holiday legislation allows you to cancel in the event of extraordinary circumstances occurring at your destination and you are entitled to a full refund. It is up to the organiser (tour operator or travel agent) to make sure that your holiday arrangements run smoothly. If your trip is cancelled by the travel agent or tour operator, you have strong rights.
However, If you have planned a ‘DIY’ trip, where you booked your flights and hotel separately, unfortunately, you don’t have the same level of protection as you do with a package holiday. If your flight is cancelled by the airline due to COVID-19, you are entitled to be rerouted or refunded.
If you and your friends choose not to fly because you are concerned about COVID-19, you may lose the money you paid. But, you should contact your airline directly as some airlines are offering refunds or might give the option to rebook. Find out more about your flight rights.
What about travel insurance?
If you can’t rebook or get a refund and you bought travel insurance for your trip, you should contact your insurance provider to see if you can claim on your policy. However, this will depend on the T&Cs of your policy.
If you decide not to travel, and the DFA has not advised against travel to your destination it is unlikely that you will get a refund. But you should check your policy or get in touch with your travel insurance provider to find out.
It’s important to know that if you take out travel insurance after the DFA has advised against travelling to your destination, it is very unlikely that your travel insurance provider will consider any claim you make.
Keep an eye on www.ccpc.ie for the latest updates on the COVID-19 and your consumer rights.