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Brush up on your rights over 2020 Schoolies

2 September 2020

With Year 12 students advised that Schoolies will not take place in its usual form this year due to COVID-19, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is offering teenagers some advice about their bookings.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said there are a number of instances in which school leavers can expect a refund.

“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.

“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, 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.”

“Schoolies, whether from Queensland or interstate, who booked a package – such as travel, accommodation, tours, meals or entertainment – will also 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.

“Teenagers should carefully check their terms and conditions, and any previous communications with the business, and contact the business directly to request a remedy. This may be a refund or credit note or voucher, depending on the circumstances.

“If they receive a credit note or voucher it should have an expiration date which allows sufficient time for them to use it.

“The OFT encourages all businesses to treat consumers fairly in these exceptional circumstances.”

For more information about travel rights and refunds, visit the OFT website.

If any Schoolies believe they are entitled to a refund but they have been unable to resolve the matter with the trader, they are encouraged to lodge a complaint with the OFT. Complaints can be lodged from the OFT website www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.