Information for consumers: travel vouchers and refunds

Last updated: May 25, 2020

We continue to get questions about consumer transactions in the time of COVID-19 including travel bookings and other types of businesses offering vouchers for future goods or services. 

Many travel plans and other services have been disrupted over the last few months. When trying to resolve an issue, we encourage you to always start by contacting the business – in the case of travel, talk to your licensed travel agent, travel service provider or airline to find out what your options are. Please read all the fine print to fully understand the implications with any consumer contract. 

The following information is focused on travel-related bookings, but the rules apply to any business offering vouchers, credits or gift cards, or anyone who has purchased a good or service online or by phone. Please note that these rules apply not only to BC-based businesses and but also to any business dealing with a BC consumer. 

Vouchers & credits 

It’s our understanding that many businesses are offering vouchers to accommodate their customers. Consumer protection laws do not address whether vouchers or credits are an appropriate method of refund. A business can offer you the option of a voucher and in most cases, it’s your choice whether to accept it or not. 

Read the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
Read about the gift card/voucher rules in BC’s Prepaid Purchase Card Regulation.

Trying to get a refund 

If you wish to pursue a refund instead of a voucher, keep trying to get a refund directly from the business. If that doesn’t work, there are some other options to consider. 

Non-essential travel is still to be avoided. Stay up to date on travel advice from the Government of Canada:

When booking travel, always book with a licensed travel agent or wholesaler. If you aren’t sure if a business is licensed, check with us.

Check a licence.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will share relevant information with you as quickly as we can.