The bad news for Queensland Schoolies appears to be never ending, with teens now told they may not be entitled to a refund on their already-booked accommodation.
The official week-long Schoolies event on the Gold Coast has been cancelled this year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, leaving many school leavers who have booked apartments for the end of year celebrations in the lurch.
With all of the official Schoolies events like beach parties off the cards, many teens are now hoping to receive their money back, however The Office of Fair Trading has revealed it won’t be that simple for those in the sunshine state.
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“Queensland school leavers are still allowed to travel to the Gold Coast and so are able to take up their bookings and have an end of year celebration,” Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said.
“But they will need to comply with the restrictions in place, including social distancing and limits on gatherings in holiday units.
“These consumers are unlikely to be automatically entitled to a refund however they may still have options under their booking provider’s terms and conditions.”
The State’s peak watchdog said it’s a different story for school leavers from restricted interstate regions like Victoria, who are more likely to be entitled to get their money back.
“If school leavers need to travel to Queensland from restricted interstate regions like Melbourne and they made their booking pre-COVID-19, then they may be entitled to a refund as these bookings cannot go ahead due to government restrictions imposed after the arrangements were made,” Mr Bauer said.
“It will depend on the terms and conditions of the booking when it was made.”
Schoolies, whether from Queensland or interstate, who booked a package – such as travel, accommodation, tours, meals or entertainment – will be entitled to a refund if the package can no longer be supplied.
“If a consumer had the right to a refund under the terms and conditions at the time of booking, businesses are not permitted to change the terms at a later time to deny a refund,” Mr Bauer said.
He urged teenagers to carefully check their terms and conditions, and any previous communications with the business, and contact the business directly to request a remedy of either a refund, credit note or voucher, depending on the circumstances.
Mr Bauer said these are “exceptional circumstances” and encouraged all businesses to treat consumers fairly.