Coronavirus cancellations: know your rights

Event or trip cancelled because of coronavirus? Find out your refund rights

(Image credit: Getty)

Coronavirus cancellations have followed the tightening restrictions on travel and public gatherings in recent weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. If you had a trip or event booked, what are your rights where it comes to refunds? We explain the circumstances under which you can get your money back. 

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1. Coronavirus flight cancellations: will I get a refund?

If you had flights booked and they have been cancelled due to coronavirus, you should receive a refund, end of. However, if your flight hasn't been cancelled but you no longer wish to travel in light of the latest FCO advice to avoid all non-essential international travel, your airline is likely to offer an alternative to a refund, typically flight credit points or the opportunity to rebook for a later date.  

2. What about cancelling hotel bookings? 

If your booking is an area that is under lockdown because of coronavirus, you will get a refund or an offer to rebook for a later date. If, however, your booking is in an area that is currently open, your options will be limited to relying on the accommodation provider's discretion. If you booked a non-refundable stay, it's unlikely you'll get a refund. 

3. Will travel insurance help with coronavirus cancellations?

Ideally, it should, but we've heard multiple reports of insurers refusing to cover for coronavirus-related trip cancellations, particularly where people are cancelling because they're taking FCO advice and no longer want to travel. Besides, not all travel insurance policies have what's called 'disruption cover', so there's little you can do if your insurance doesn't have the clause.

We also wouldn't recommend trying to take out travel insurance now, because many travel insurers have either completely suspended new application or won't cover for coronavirus-related cancellations. 

4. Coronavirus event ticket cancellations: what are my rights?

With event cancellations, things are more straightforward: if the event you booked has been cancelled, you should get a refund. If it's been postponed, hold on to the ticket and see what new date is announced: if you can't make it then, they should still offer you a refund. The only part of your ticket that won't get refunded is the booking fee and delivery charges.

Glastonbury festival is sadly one of the year's biggest events to have been postponed until next year, but if you have a ticket, you are entitled to a refund.

Exceptions are community-led events such as marathons, which are unlikely to offer a refund. 

Also, if you purchased your ticket via a resale website, it might be trickier to get a refund. Get in touch with them directly to establish what their policy is. 

5. Can I get a refund on my rail season ticket?

That depends on how much of your season ticket you've used up. If you're more towards the beginning of a monthly or yearly season ticket, it's definitely worth contacting your season ticket provider for a refund. 

6. Wedding cancellation: what are my rights?

Wedding venues generally require a holding deposit to confirm the booking, and it's this deposit you may have trouble getting back. If it helps, remember that legally in the UK there is no such thing as a non-refundable deposit, on anything. If your venue provider is being stubborn, you may be able to get a refund by contacting your bank who will begin refund proceedings on your behalf. This is easier if you paid with a credit card, but is still possible with a debit card via the chargeback process.