Advice for consumers during the coronavirus pandemic

Published: 28 April 2020

Council House at night

Trading Standards has produced guidance for Derby residents if they experience disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic

Derby City Council Trading Standards has produced some guidance for Derby residents if they experience disruption to upcoming holidays, issues with online shopping or cancelled/postponed events.

This comes as the current lockdown measures have forced the hospitality industry to shut down and airlines to halt flights.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all non-essential travel to every country in the world. This advice runs indefinitely but is subject to change.

  • If you have a package holiday booked then you should reschedule for 2021, if you can do so for free, or leave the booking unchanged. If the FCO advice is still in place closer to the departure date, your provider will cancel the trip and you should get your money back.
  • If you haven’t paid for the holiday in full, but it’s Atol protected, continue paying. You’re legally entitled to a full refund if the provider cancels or goes bust, but if you chose to cancel then you’ll lose your deposit and any payments you’ve already made. If the FCO advice is lifted, the trip will likely go ahead and you’ll have to pay whether you go or not.
  • If you’ve booked flights for this summer, you can either postpone it until next year or accept travel vouchers now. If you want your money back then you can leave your booking in place but keep a close eye on the FCO advice.

View more information and guidance on whether to book future holiday or not.

Government restrictions have changed the way we shop. With high street shops currently closed, many have introduced measures to protect customers’ rights.

  • If you purchased goods before lockdown, many retailers will let accept returns for the usual period starting when restrictions are lifted. If you shop online then you should check if the retailer has extended their returns policy first. Several retailers are also extending gift card expiry dates so that customers don’t lose out.
  • Some online retailers are reducing or suspending their services after concerns about social distancing in warehouses. If outlets do close, many will still fulfil pre-existing orders and offer in store returns once they reopen.
  • If you’ve purchased from a retailer who goes bust, there are several ways to get your money back. If you spend over £100 on a credit card then you can collect a refund from your credit provider, while banks offer chargeback claims for debit card purchases. You may also be able to use a manufacturer’s warranty if it’s still valid.

Find more information about your rights and safe shopping standards during lockdown.

Cancelled Events
The nationwide lockdown has led to entertainment venues cancelling or postponing much of their programmes for 2020. If you have tickets for an impacted event, there a number of options available to you.

  • If an event is cancelled, you should contact the ticket seller for a refund if they don’t offer one automatically. Event organisers and primary ticket sellers (such as Ticketmaster) offer some consumer protections, but some secondary vendors may not have similar guarantees.
  • If you have tickets for a postponed event, hold on to them until the new date is announced. If you can’t attend the new date, you can claim a refund of the ticket’s face value.

You can find out more about what to do if your event has been cancelled or postponed.

We’re aware of a several scams that are circulating at the moment. View council specific scam advice and advice from Crimestoppers.

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