OBTAINING YOUR TRAVEL REFUND - WHERE TO START
By Jaclyn Glezer, 14 July 2021
Have you attempted to obtain a refund for a travel booking that was cancelled due to COVID-19, but has somehow stalled along the way? Here are my quick tips to help get you back on track.
Get the facts
Before your start your battle, it will be important to arm yourself with as much information as you can related to your booking.
Documents: Do you have an invoice from your travel agent, and terms and conditions relating to each component of your booking? If not, ask your agent or supplier for these documents.
Airline bookings: Do you have your Conditions of Carriage and Fare Rules from the date you paid for your flights? Do you have your booking reference number or ticket number? Ask your agent for the Refund Application number or other evidence of a refund request, and the date submitted to the airline.
ACCC Best Practice Guide: Some light reading to get you up to speed on the regulator's outlook on how cancellations should be handled.
Request your refund
If you've reviewed your terms and conditions and Conditions of Carriage, and determine you’re eligible for a refund, pick up that phone or send that email. You will need to ask what the turn-around time is to receive your refund. If the processing time is unreasonable, you may choose to submit a letter of demand, once you have confirmation that your refund has been approved.
If you receive the great news that your refund has been approved, only to be charged significant 'unrecoverable costs,' ask for an itemised breakdown of these costs, as per your entitlements under the ACCC Best Practice Guide. Please note that the ACCC does not entitle suppliers to deduct marketing and overhead costs as part of your refund.
If you are entitled to a refund and your supplier is insolvent, immediately lodge a chargeback on your credit card or PayPal, if you arranged payment via those routes.
If you believe you are eligible for a refund but your supplier is pushing back, you can take your case to your state or territory's Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Although this sounds intimidating, hundreds of everyday Australians have already taken this route. The application fees are relatively minimal and you can reclaim your application fee upon success.
It's also important to lodge a complaint with the ACCC, so they continue to be aware of the breadth of these problems.
Best of luck!