Get your full refund back as events and bookings are cancelled

Get your full refund back as events and bookings are cancelled

We’re back to a ban on events and gatherings and that means that those who made bookings and paid deposits for things which now can’t go ahead, are legally entitled to a full refund, says Consumerwatch’s Wendy Knowler.

A refund

 But in reality, it’s not that simple…

And suddenly the cancellation is not voluntary…

Following the President’s Sunday night announcement that, at least for two weeks, functions and events are not allowed, and gyms must close, emails about consumers’ rights to refunds have poured into my inbox.

One hotel said it’s closing for two weeks and no, the family couldn’t get a refund of their deposit because they don’t have the money. Just like that. Now the crucial issue is that while last week someone cancelling a hotel booking or a wedding because of COVID-19  fears was entirely a voluntary decision, this week, if it’s a booking for an event in these two weeks, it's not. 

And that means those who paid deposits for events that now cannot legally take place are legally entitled to a FULL refund - the CPA’s “reasonable cancelation penalty” no longer applies.

READ MORE: Edgars account holders frustrated by unfair extra monthly charges, Wendy Knowler explains

Ideally, as we keep saying, the consumer should consider accepting a postponement, but in the case of many wedding cancellations, the couple, exhausted from all the on-off uncertainty, and the impossibility of knowing whether guests, especially those travelling from overseas, will be able to attend, have given up on the idea of a wedding and have just had very small private marriage ceremonies.

So a postponement is not appropriate.

So what about “Force Majeure” - uncontrollable events such as war, political unrest, strikes, acts of God, national lockdowns?

Can companies play that card to avoid paying refunds for events that now can’t happen because of government restriction?

LISTEN here to find out…

READ MORE: Event cancellations are at a high, be wary of advance bookings - Wendy Knowler

Who sent that SMS?

Just about everyone who owns a cellphone has received unwanted messages advertising products that they do not want or need. Or perhaps one offering something that they do want, but no way of determining whether the sender is reputable or not.

Up to now, in many cases, it hasn’t been easy to find out which companies sent the spam, but now there’s a way to track them down on your own.

READ MORE: Edgars account chaos: A checklist of how to go about the closure procedure

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has launched its Codes Project, giving consumers access to a platform enabling us to identify the owner of a short, long or USSD code.

All you do is go to - and enter the number to find out who sent you that marketing message. 

But Ilonka Badenhorst, Managing Executive at WASPA, says the platform will only contain information about service providers that are registered with WASPA. 

“If the company that sent the SMS is registered with WASPA, their contact details will be provided, allowing the consumer to contact them directly to obtain more information on the originator of the message, to request to be removed from the database or to lodge a complaint.”

The Codes Project is an extension of WASPA’s Do Not Contact (DNC) initiative, which is a list that consumers can add their number to, in order to avoid unsolicited SMS advertising. Designed with consumers' protection in mind, WASPA members engaged in direct SMS marketing campaigns are required to check the DNC list on a weekly basis.
If the organisation sending the messages fails to comply, you can then contact WASPA directly. 
The Consumer Protection Act and the Protection of Personal Information Act - which finally comes into effect today - contain specific provisions regulating direct marketing, and WASPA’s Code incorporates all of the requirements of these laws. "The Code is binding on members of WASPA and any companies sending messages via a WASPA member,” Badenhorst says.

 “This means that consumers that make use of the DNC and Codes facilities can rest assured that WASPA’s members - and their clients - can only send marketing messages to them if they are already a customer or have specific permission to do so, as well as being easily identifiable as the sender,” she concludes.

Contact Wendy

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.

Listen to more podcasts from Wendy Knowler in the Consumerwatch channel below: 

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