I was inspired to write this as we’re getting booking requests for later in the year – and even next month!
We’ve also had a lot of people asking us for advice and have seen some rather alarming reviews about retreat companies and holiday companies playing dirty with their customers.
So we wanted to help you make sense of the mess….
Unsurprisingly one common question is, “will you refund me if the retreat doesn’t go ahead?” The answer to that is a resounding “yes”, and it should be for all responsible retreat companies and holiday companies. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s also the law. So, if you’re thinking of booking a retreat, the most important things for you to do are:
- Ask the company (via email so you have it in writing) if they’ll provide a refund if the retreat is cancelled.
If the answer is “no”, or vague, or they start talking about credit notes, force majeure, updated Ts&Cs, etc, STEER CLEAR. I guarantee, you won’t get your money back for a long time (if at all).
- Check what dates they’re taking bookings for. If it’s in Europe and you can book for May or June – avoid!
They know they have pretty much a zero percent chance of being able to run the holiday, so you have to question why they’d take bookings for it.
- If they ask for a big deposit, think twice. We’re optimistically taking bookings for September onwards but with a reduced deposit. Taking a hefty chunk upfront in uncertain times suggest they’re trying to run their cashflow as a primary concern rather than your holiday experience.
- Final point – if they’re asking you to pay a deposit and they say you still have to pay the balance even if the holiday is cancelled (otherwise you’ll lose your deposit) – run a mile! So – now onto what happens if you’ve booked a retreat or holiday and it’s been cancelled?
Well you can really help your retreat organiser by agreeing to move to a later date.
Many are small businesses and cashflow is tough. If however you really want a refund you are legally entitled to one.
If the company has told you otherwise, (despite what Ts&Cs they might cite) they’ve lied to you and are breaking the law. EU and UK law means the company must refund you within 14 days. If they won’t then I’m afraid it’s time to get a lawyer/small claims application and/or Trading Standards involved. If you paid by credit card you can claim a chargeback. This is a really tough time for the travel sector, but we need to inspire confidence by doing the right thing by our clients, so that there’s a sector to come back to.
We’re proud to stand by our clients and do the right thing – we are refunding if they don’t wish to switch dates.
We’re all in this pickle together and we honour our client’s trust. That way – we hope, when you can, you’ll come back to us and we can rest assured we’ve done our best to support you.