Things move fast during public health scares. It can be hard to keep up with the latest developments.
The UK Government's action plan for managing the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak sets out three stages – Contain, Delay, Mitigate.
As the country moves through the different stages, there are situations where it's handy to be up to speed with your consumer legal rights. Here's our checklist.
Cancelled or postponed events
Big events like concerts, festivals and sports matches are being cancelled. If you bought event tickets from the organiser or an official ticket seller, you should be offered a refund if the event is cancelled. It doesn't matter if you bought tickets online, over the phone or in person.
If the event is rescheduled, the organiser must hold your ticket for you. If you can't make the new date, you can ask for a refund.
If you booked hotel accommodation for an event, contact the company you made the booking with. It might offer refunds or options to change dates.
If you bought event tickets from a re-selling website or a private seller, you might not be able to get a refund if the event is cancelled.
Learn more about your rights when events are cancelled from Citizens Advice.
If you have hired venues or had other expenses for private events like a wedding or a party, the companies involved will be able to advise you about alternative dates or refunds. If you have problems, try contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
Holidays and travel
Travel companies and tour operators may cancel holidays and travel packages if the Foreign Office (FCO) advises against travel. And holidays in the UK may be affected by restrictions on movement. They should let you know if they need to cancel all or part of your trip.
They may offer you a refund. They may also offer you alternative destinations or dates. But if the alternatives are very different from your original trip, you need not accept the offer and can ask for a refund.
To cancel a trip to part of the world that isn't subject to an FCO travel advisory, you may need to pay cancellation charges. You are not entitled to a refund in law.
If you booked excursions, or paid out for other things like care hire, talk to the company you made the booking with.
If you have travel insurance, check whether it covers situations like that.
Find out more from the UK European Consumer Centre.
If you have pre-paid for flights or journeys by sea that are due to take place in the next few months, it is worth checking with the travel companies to find out where you stand. Start off by visiting their websites.
If you have paid for rail travel in the UK that is disrupted due to the coronavirus, you may be able to claim a refund. Get the latest information from the National Rail Enquiries website.
Most gym chains have announced a freeze on membership fees for their members during the coronavirus period. You should contact your gym if you have concerns about your membership.
Shopping and deliveries
Many of us now shop online. During health scares, more people are likely to be at home. Some products are harder to get hold of, such as hygiene and protection products. Online orders can be delayed. And it's not always possible for supermarkets to deliver products quickly – or at all.
But you do have rights if you shop online. If you have any problems with a delivery, there are also consumer rights in place that are good to know about.
They include situations in which you can claim for refunds or compensation for late deliveries or damaged items.
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