Event cancelled? Many vouchers don’t cover the full cost, consumer watchdog says

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Many of the vouchers companies are offering customers as events and courses are cancelled because of coronavirus are not up to scratch and don’t meet agreed guidelines, Dutch consumer authority ACM said on Thursday.

‘Consumers have the right to get their money back if a company does not deliver a service,’ ACM consumer affairs director Edwin van Houten said.

‘But if companies have to pay everyone back in one go, many will go bust, and then there will be nothing to claim anyway,’ he said. ‘Vouchers are a reasonable alternative to a refund but only if customers know exactly what they are getting.’

The ACM looked at complaints about vouchers provided by 180 companies, mainly concerning festivals, concerts, sports matches and other events.

In particular, some companies are not refunding booking and administration costs, and these should be included as well, the ACM said. And customers who do want cash rather than a voucher are not being given that opportunity, the agency said.

The ACM plans to look at the travel industry, including hotels, in the coming weeks, but airline tickets do not fall under the agency’s remit.

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