What to do if your plans are cancelled due to coronavirus

Empty seats in a stadium. Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

By Dean Stonebridge, Financial Crime Analyst at Tide 

In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, we at Tide want to do what we can to help our members. In this post, I explain what to do if you’re trying to claim back money you’ve spent on flights, events or other bookings that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

There’s a different process to follow depending on what happened:

The merchant cancelled your purchase
The merchant has gone into administration
You decided not to attend an event
Something else…
(‘Merchant’ means the company or organisation you paid.)  

If the merchant cancelled your purchase…

1) Check the refund policy

Check the merchant’s website to read their refund policy. If you can’t find the policy, check the receipt or purchase confirmation you received because it might set out the refund policy or link to it.

The refund policy should list the steps the merchant will take if they cancel a purchase. The policy should also set out whether you get a refund automatically or if you have to do anything.  

2) Contact merchant directly

If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for in the refund policy, try contacting the merchant directly. This can be the fastest way to get a refund or be offered an alternative. Many merchants offer refunds or alternatives directly to customers who ask. 

Remember: the coronavirus crisis affects all businesses. Allow the merchant a few days to respond to your query before you move on to try the next step. We also suggest you communicate with the merchant by email because this gives you written evidence of their response. 

3) If you have insurance, contact your insurer

If you can’t or don’t get a refund directly from the merchant and you have insurance which covers the purchase, the next step is to contact your insurance provider. Your insurance policy will set out what you’re covered for and how to claim.

4) Get in touch with us

Message us via the Tide app if: 

  • you made the purchase using your Tide card, and
  • the merchant cancelled your purchase, and
  • you’ve tried the steps above, and
  • you haven’t been able to get a refund.

If we believe it might be possible, we’ll try to get a refund for you. We do this by raising a ‘chargeback’ with Mastercard, our card provider. A chargeback is where we and Mastercard will dispute the transaction directly with the merchant on your behalf.

If you message us about getting a refund this way, you can help speed up this process if you include this information: 

  • Order confirmation
    We need to see proof of what you ordered and when. If your purchase was for an event, we need to see the date of the event, too.
  • Cancellation notice
    We need to see proof that your purchase was cancelled by the merchant
     
  • Your communication with the merchant
    We need to see proof that you’ve been in touch with the merchant, asking them to resolve the issue.  
  • Merchant refund policy
    Send us the link to the policy online, or copy and paste the text

You can send these as screenshots or images in the Tide app, and if we need to see more, we’ll let you know what to send and to what email address. This information will give us the best chance of getting your money back. 

If we raise a chargeback, this doesn’t guarantee it’ll be successful. It takes a minimum of 45 days to reach an outcome and if it’s successful, your refund will be paid into your Tide account.

The merchant has gone into administration

If you used your Tide card to pay and the merchant has gone into administration, please message us at Tide via the in-app chat. If we believe it might be possible for you to get a refund, we’ll raise a chargeback (explained above) to try to get some or all of your money back.

You can help speed up this process if you include this information: 

  • Order confirmation
    We need to see proof of what you ordered and when. If your purchase was an event, we need to see the date of the event, too.
  • Notice / message about administration
    Send us the information you received about the company going into administration.
     
  • Your communication with the merchant
    If you’ve been in touch with the merchant about this, send us all the correspondence.

If we raise a chargeback, this doesn’t guarantee it’ll be successful. It takes a minimum of 45 days to reach an outcome and if it’s successful, your refund will be paid into your Tide account.

You decided not to attend an event 

If you decide not to attend due to concerns about coronavirus or due to travel bans, you have no right to a refund. However:

  • If the event has not yet taken place…
    You can ask the merchant directly for a refund. If you explain your concerns, they might be lenient given the situation.
  • If the event has already taken place…
    You have no rights to a refund but if you contact the merchant directly and explain your decision, they might be lenient. If you can’t get a refund from the merchant and you have insurance that covers the purchase, you can try asking your insurer.

Something else…

If the scenarios above don’t fit your situation and you made the purchase on your Tide card or with your Tide account, message us in the in-app chat and we’ll let you know what’s possible.

Have your say

How is the coronavirus affecting you and your small business in the UK? We’re keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

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Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

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