Virus sparks confusion epidemic

Tom ChapmanThe Kimberley Echo
Coronavirus COVID-19 concept graphic image.
Camera IconCoronavirus COVID-19 concept graphic image.

The spread of COVID-19 around the world has created a worrying and confusing time for many — holidaymakers are wondering about cancelling future trips abroad, while panic-buying has even turned the weekly grocery shop into a daunting task.

Concerned consumers have come to us with numerous inquiries about their rights, so we thought it timely to release a list of frequently asked questions that aim to answer some of the more common queries.

For ticket holders wondering about refunds to events cancelled by organisers, Australian Consumer Law requires the business to provide a remedy such as a refund, credit note or voucher to affected consumers.

Individual circumstances will vary greatly when it comes to travel issues, but the FAQs aim to provide some helpful information.

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With some airlines now providing refunds or flight credits, it’s best to contact them directly to see where you stand, while also checking the terms and conditions and cancellation policy.

If you’ve booked through a travel agent or booking site, all refund requests must go through them.

Those curious about travel insurance should know that an insurer may cover a cancellation if the holiday and insurance were booked before their cut-off date for COVID-19 coronavirus exemption, but it’s important to read the product disclosure statement (this could be with your credit card provider) as some policies do not cover epidemics or pandemics.

Be aware that “change of mind” cancellations are not usually covered.

For more information about our other FAQs visit https://www.commerce.wa. gov.au/announcements /coronavirus-covid-19-faqs- your-consumer-rights

If you need specific information about your own situation, contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au .

Tom Chapman is the senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Kimberley.

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