For many of us, COVID-19 has limited our ability to travel over the last year. If the pandemic has impacted your travel plans and you’re looking for a refund, here are a few scenarios and options for you to explore.
Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to a refund under the consumer protection laws we administer. However, the laws are very specific and not everyone will be eligible, so please read through the information carefully and see which option applies to your situation.
Cancelled travel plans: 4 scenarios and what to do
Here some options for you to consider depending on your situation:
Scenario 1: I cancelled my travel plans myself
If your travel service was available to you, but you decided not to go (even if it was because of COVID-19 travel restrictions or border closures), you are likely bound to the cancellation policy you signed at the time of purchase. Try and reach a solution with the business based on what their cancellation policy allows.
If you’ve been given a credit/voucher, are you wondering if it can expire? When you cancel or return a non-refundable good or service (such as a non-refundable plane ticket or piece of clothing), and the business gives you a store credit (or a voucher that is intended as credit) it is allowed to have an expiry date because it is not considered to be a gift card.
Scenario 2: My travel plans were cancelled by the supplier and I paid online or over the phone
As a BC regulator, one of the laws we oversee gives you cancellation and refund rights when you don’t receive the services you paid for online or over the phone. To be eligible for a refund, the travel services must not have been available to you (i.e.: the plane never took off or the hotel was closed). If you’re eligible, you may be owed a full refund under BC law. We recommend you start by carefully reading this page for info on eligibility and our process: COVID-19 and refunds for cancelled travel.
Scenario 3: My travel plans were cancelled by the supplier and I paid in person with a credit card
If you paid for the travel services in person, the plans were cancelled by the supplier, and you paid by credit card, you may have certain protections in your cardholder agreement.
You can contact your credit card issuer in writing to request that the charges on the card be cancelled/reversed. There are things to know about doing that, including specific timelines and limitations. Visit your credit card provider online to read up on the process.
If you are denied by your credit card issuer, you will need to go to the Civil Resolution Tribunal or court (depending on the dollar amount) to seek compensation from the business. You may also want to consider seeking legal advice.
Scenario 4: My travel plans were cancelled by the supplier and I paid in person with debit/cash/other methods (not with a credit card)
If you paid with debit/cash/other methods and the plans were cancelled by the supplier, you are likely bound to the cancellation policy you signed at the time of purchase. We would suggest you try and reach a solution with the business based on what their cancellation policy allows.
If you are unable to reach a solution with the business, you will need to go to the Civil Resolution Tribunal or court (depending on the dollar amount) to seek compensation. You may also consider seeking legal advice.
You may find an answer in our FAQ blog post. If not, feel free to ask it below and we’ll do our best to find an answer.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.