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British Columbians having difficulty receiving travel refunds: Consumer Protection BC

Last Updated Apr 28, 2021 at 9:15 pm PDT

FILE - A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Consumer Protection BC is reporting a spike in complaints from British Columbians who have had difficulty getting refunds after COVID-19 disrupted their travel plans. They are now advising other travellers with similar experiences to know their rights.

Vice President Shahid Noorani says if you book a trip by phone, online, or through email and didn’t receive your travel services within 30 days from when you were supposed to be provided, “it’s under BC Consumer Protection laws to cancel that contract and receive a full refund of the money that you paid.”

Any trip or flight that isn’t booked in-person, is done so through what’s called a “distance sales contract.”

Noorani says Consumer Protection BC has been successful in securing refunds for a number of travellers who have entered into these contracts and didn’t receive the services promised.

“We want a message to be put out there to consumers — as well as these travel suppliers and credit card companies — that we as the provincial regulator are prepared to enforce the laws as they relate to this type of activity, and ensure that consumers are going to receive the refunds that they’re entitled to.”

Related Article: Government docs suggest months of inaction on ‘gap’ in passenger refund rules

If you are trying to get a refund but can’t, Noorani advises you to visit www.consumerprotectionbc.ca first to understand what your lawful rights are to cancel contracts.

“It begins with cancelling your contract with your travel supplier, and you are entitled to receive a refund within 15 days from when you provide that notice of cancellation. If you do not receive a refund within 15 days, your next step is to get ahold of your credit card issuer and provide them with a notice of cancellation. And they’re obliged under law to reverse or cancel those charges within 90 days or two billing cycles,” Noorani explains.

“If consumers have done that, and they still have not received a refund from their travel supplier or their credit card issuer, we want to know about that. And it’s at that point that we will insert ourselves into the process and do what is necessary under our enforcement powers to ensure consumers are going to get their refunds.”