Event and travel cancellations

Event cancellations

I bought tickets for an event that has been cancelled. Am I entitled to a refund?

In most circumstances, if your event is cancelled you should receive a refund or other remedy, such as a credit note or voucher.

However, if the event is cancelled due to government restrictions, this impacts your rights under consumer guarantees in Australian Consumer Law.

Check the terms and conditions of your contract with each supplier such as the ticketing agent or promoter.

Some contracts may have a clause on pandemics and ‘force majeure’ (sometimes called ‘act of God’ events) covering specific events outside the control of the consumer and supplier.

These clauses may allow parties to pause or terminate the contract when it can no longer be performed due to circumstances outside their control.

If there is no clause, term or condition about pandemics to determine what should happen, but the contract has been affected by the pandemic or restrictions, it may be a ‘frustrated’ contract.

A ‘frustrated contract’ may happen when an event outside the control of the parties to the contract has occurred, such as restrictions imposed by COVID-19, and as a result, contractual obligations cannot be met.

If the trader is unable to fulfil their obligations due to COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend the parties try to reach a resolution so neither party is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged.

You should contact the business directly to request a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher. We encourage all businesses to work with their customers and treat consumers fairly in these exceptional circumstances.

Determining whether a ‘force majeure’ clause applies, whether the contract has been ‘frustrated’ and the appropriate legal remedy can be complex.

It depends on the terms and conditions of the contract, your circumstances and the applicable law.

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your supplier, you may need to obtain independent legal advice to understand your legal rights.

I bought tickets to an event that has been cancelled. Am I entitled to compensation for travel or accommodation expenses booked separately?

You should first approach your travel or accommodation provider to see if they are prepared to offer a replacement service, refund or voucher.

You should also check whether you are covered under any travel insurance policy.

You may be entitled to compensation for these expenses under Australian Consumer Law, but this will depend on the specific circumstances.

This is unlikely to be the case where the event is cancelled due to government restrictions.

Why are my rights different when cancellation is due to government bans?

Your rights under the Australian Consumer Law may be different when cancellation is due to a government ban that makes it unlawful to supply the goods or services.

However, suppliers are required to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to ensure supply will not be affected by a ban before they agree to supply goods or services.

Will I receive a refund if the business shuts down as a result of the COVID-19 government ban?

We suggest trying to contact the business to discuss a possible remedy.

In certain situations, you would have to register as a creditor.

More information is available on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.

I bought tickets for an event but don’t want to attend due to concernsabout COVID-19. Am I entitled to a refund?

If you no longer want to attend an event due to concerns about COVID-19, this may be treated as a 'change of mind'. You should contact the event organiser to see if you are entitled to a remedy such as full or partial refund, credit note or voucher.

If you have a health condition that means you are at higher risk, you should contact the event organiser to see if they will offer you a refund or a voucher for a later date.

We encourage all businesses to work with their customers and treat consumers fairly in these exceptional circumstances.

Travel cancellations

My flight, cruise or tour has been cancelled. Am I entitled to a refund?

If your travel is cancelled, you should receive a refund or other remedy, such as a credit note or voucher, in most circumstances.

However, if your travel is cancelled due to government restrictions, this impacts your rights under the consumer guarantees in the Australian Consumer Law.

Check the terms and conditions of your contract with each supplier such as the travel agent, airline, and accommodation provider.

Some contracts may have a clause on pandemics and ‘force majeure’ clauses (sometimes called ‘act of God’ events) covering specific events outside of the control of the consumer and supplier.

These clauses may allow parties to pause or terminate the contract when it can no longer be performed due to circumstances outside their control.

If there is no clause, term or condition about pandemics to determine what should happen, but the contract has been affected by the pandemic or restrictions, it may be a ‘frustrated’ contract.

A ‘frustrated contract’ may happen when an event outside the control of the parties to the contract has occurred, such as restrictions imposed by COVID-19, and as a result, the contractual obligations cannot be met.

If the trader is unable to fulfil their obligations due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend the parties try to reach a resolution so neither party is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged.

You should contact the business directly to request a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher.

We encourage all businesses to work with their customers and treat consumers fairly in these exceptional circumstances.

Determining whether a ‘force majeure’ clause applies, whether the contract has been ‘frustrated’ and the appropriate legal remedy can be complex.

It depends on the terms and conditions of the contract, your circumstances and the applicable law.

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your supplier, you may need to obtain independent legal advice to understand your legal rights.

Why are my rights different when cancellation is due to government bans?

Your rights under the Australian Consumer Law may be different when cancellation is due to a government ban that makes it unlawful to supply the goods or services.

However, suppliers are required to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to ensure that supply will not be affected by a ban before they agree to supply goods or services.

My flight, cruise or tour service has been cancelled. Am I entitled to compensation for related expenses booked separately, such as accommodation?

You should first approach the provider of the related service to see if they are prepared to offer a refund, replacement service or voucher.

You should also check whether you are covered under any travel insurance policy.

You may be entitled to compensation for these expenses under the Australian Consumer Law, but this will depend on the specific circumstances.

This is unlikely to be the case where the travel is cancelled due to government restrictions.

I want to cancel my travel booking due to health and safety concerns about COVID-19. What are my rights in this situation?

If you no longer want to travel due to concerns about COVID-19, this may be treated as a 'change of mind'.

You should contact the provider to see if you are entitled to a remedy such as full or partial refund, credit note or voucher.

If you have a health condition that means you are at higher risk, you should contact the provider to see if they will offer you a refund or a voucher for a later date.

We encourage all businesses to work with their customers and treat consumers fairly in these exceptional circumstances.

Does my travel insurance have to cover me if I cancel?

Travel insurance may cover cancellation if the holiday and insurance was booked before the insurer’s cut-off date for COVID-19 exemption. However, some policies do not cover epidemics or pandemics.

Additionally, some travel insurance policies will only allow cancellation for safety reasons if the advice level increases after the policy is purchased.

If a consumer reviews advice levels and chooses not to travel, most travel insurers won’t cover cancellation costs or changes to itineraries if the advice levels have not changed.

We advise you to read your travel insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement and speak directly with your insurance provider to find out more about your coverage.

If you believe your travel insurance covers you for losses related to COVID-19 but your insurer has refused a claim, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

Will I receive a refund if the business shuts down as a result of the COVID-19 government ban?

We suggest trying to contact the business to discuss a possible remedy.

In certain situations, you would have to register as a creditor. More information is available on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.

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