Can't Go to Accommodation Due to Lockdown

I'm pretty sure a few people will be in my situation due to lockdowns. So I want to ask this question…

I booked an accommodation for a trip paid over $4000 in total. Now because of Victoria's lockdown I cannot go. I asked if I can move dates to even next year or get any reimbursements back, answer was no. They explained when I booked I agreed to T&C's and and that's that…

Can any business make up new T&C's after COVID and make it protect them 100%?

Is there any government body that can help? ACCC? Consumer affairs?

Mod: Response from Management It seems neither side has come to any agreement or resolution to this issue and both parties no longer want to participate in this thread. Comments closed.

Poll Options

  • 61
    Bad luck, move on
  • 463
    Fight for it

closed Comments

    • +11

      That applies if you can't travel to a place that is not in lockdown. eg. If you booked a place in Perth for this weekend…

      This place however is in lockdown and cannot accept guests without breaking the law.

      If they cannot provide the service you paid for, they are obliged to refund you.

    • +2

      " It's really unfortunate that it's your fault. "

      To be proven.

  • +2

    According to the ACCC, the terms which both parties agreed to at the time of booking stands.

    The consumer guarantee provisions of the Australian Consumer Law are unlikely to apply to cancellations as a direct result of government restrictions.

    In general, whether consumers are entitled to a refund for travel bookings cancelled due to government restrictions will depend on the terms and conditions of their booking.

  • +1

    When did you make a booking?
    At least to me, it was pretty clear that the government will play around with the lockdowns for a very long time to come, so booking anything interstate is just a very bad idea and you are basically just asking for it.

    • In April

      Not interstate, im in Vic.

      You may be right but 2020 was a complete write off, people want to do normal things again… I'm sure I'm not the only one stuck in this situation

      • +2

        Alright, I skimmed over the text a bit too much. You are not the only one.
        I have coworkers who had some holidays booked this and next week. I told them not to do it as we can't expect when the government panics and locks everything down again. They called me a cynic and told me to "brighten up" lol.
        Can you guess who is playing video games without a care in the world in Sydney now due to this snap (construction) lockdown, and who is pulling their hairs because their $2000+ holidays have just been ruined?

        I hope you get your money, but please, don't make any bookings until all state governments calm the f*** down.

    • +1

      Except OP isn't travelling interstate …

  • +5

    Cant Go to Accommodation Due to Lockdown

    Just turn up anyway…

    If they refuse to give you your accommodation when you arrive due to the lockdown, then they are failing their part of the contract and MUST refund you…

    If they let you stay, then post some pics on a fake facebook page of the place you're staying at letting everyone know they are still accepting visitors during lockdown… Then share the post with some of the police facebook pages, a current affair, 3aw etc. etc…

    • -4

      I don't think you've understood the situation. No issue with accommodation being provided as booked. Issue with OP getting there due to lockdown.

      • +6

        No issue with accommodation being provided as booked.

        Except that the lodge would be breaking the law.

        • Ah well that might be a fair point then if the accommodation is within the lockdown area and dates are during the lockdown period. That could be OPs way out of this.

          • +11

            @Hybroid:

            Ah well that might be a fair point then if the accommodation is within the lockdown area

            No visitors are currently allowed unless it is an intimate partner.

            OP should drive there in leather undies and a whip… (in case they get stopped by police)

            Dan clearly said that it is OK to visit intimate partners more than 5km away.

    • OP may get the holiday he paid for but he will be fined for leaving his home and will probably get death threats from the public.

      • get death threats from the public.

        why?

    • 3hour drive,

      Covid fines for being more than 5km from home :(

      • +1

        How many people have actually had to pay the fines though?

        • +1

          No point anyway. All chair lifts aren’t operating at ski fields.

          • +5

            @Bozman:

            All chair lifts aren’t operating at ski fields.

            What if you prepaid for a chair lift ticket ?????????

    • If they let you stay, then post some pics on a fake facebook page of the place

      Pretty damn stupid idea, mate.
      In trying to incriminate the business, the OP would be breaking the law as well.

      • Not if they were travelling to meet an intimate partner.

        • The intimate partner would already have to be residing at Play Shack prior to the lockdown.

          You don't know when to quit, do you?

          • @DoctorCalculon:

            The intimate partner would already have to be residing at Play Shack

            or within 5km of Play Shack, so you can walk past there during your daily exercise…

            • @jv: For the OP this would require:

              a) Time travel machine
              b) A second intimate partner living within 5km of Play Shack prior to lockdown

              Hold on a sec! If OP had access to a time travel machine they wouldn't be in this mess, and we wouldn't be posting on this thread.

              • +5

                @DoctorCalculon:

                A second intimate partner living within 5km of Play Shack prior to lockdown

                I just checked, there are 5 currently listed on Tinder with that criteria…

    • Couldn't OP claim they showed up and found the place locked/were denied entry?

  • -3

    At least to me, it was pretty clear that the Federal government will mess around with anything covid related and encourage coalition states to let covid develop freely to cause lockdowns nationally for a very long time to come, so booking anything interstate is just a very bad idea and you are basically just asking for it.

    its coalition policy to refuse carers over 60 pfizer when they have circulatory orders so many of them die as a result of letting it spread…anything to promote fear and division.

    • booking anything interstate is just a very bad idea and you are basically just asking for it.

      It's not interstate…

  • Another Example of Businesses Taking Advantage of COVID-19 to Gouge Consumers?

    Can any business make up new T&C's after covid and make it protect them 100%?

    You have repeatedly said their offer of refunding 50% to you is unfair. So really your question is why are T&Cs other than to protect you 100% is allowed ?

    Sorry to hear, but the pandemic is not over, and as much as we want to do things normal again, we are still a fair way to go.

    The business already have all their bookings cancelled. They still have to maintain their place while you are not there. Unless you agreed with their T&Cs at gun point, you should honour your end of agreement.

    • +2

      honour - dead concept. Honourable federal government ? Ask east timor - ask the dead women whose complaint was stalled by the NSW police….

  • +3

    Name and Shame

  • -3

    lol OP, you agreed to the terms.

    • +3

      fwiw not all terms are in compliance of laws or legislation > when a contract/agreement is unclear it will be ruled in favour of the party entering the agreement/contract….

  • +5

    Have a look at their reviews on Google. Others have tried to get refunds from the owner due to travel restrictions.

    • No i have not, any results?

    • +7

      A very positive review just got posted about this exact scenario. Reads like a giant fake to me.

      This business owner is an absolute shocker. They need to get involved in something that means they don't have to deal with customers.

      • Yep - looks dodgy. But OP could ask why others are being treated differently.

        • Yep, great point.

          OP quote this review to them and see what they say. My guess is that they'll quote this line from their T&Cs: "Change of booking dates is to be of the same or higher value of the original booking within 60 days of the original arrival date."

          In other words, they won't let you go next year. Is going within the next couple of months not possible?

  • +32

    Looking at google reviews, the owner of Play Shack appears to be Doxxing. I appreciate that he/she replies bad reviews by addressing the reviewer by their full name. But putting people's kids name, wife, suburb, mobile number and company they work for as part of the reply is crossing the line.

    • +4

      I also saw that.. Isn't that privacy breaches?

      Basically giving out the customers address

      • +5

        Cant find a button to report. But seems like a breach.

        According to web archive, the T&Cs appears to only added recently. Last year's website nor the March revision didnt have that section.

        https://web.archive.org/web/20210915000000*/https://playshac...

        • +6

          Report that to the privacy ombudsman. That’s ridiculous behaviour.

          I’d also get in touch with Mt Buller corporation. All that area is leasehold only, I’m not sure they’d like their operators behaving like that and might step in.

          • +1

            @Bozman: What a shocker…. The nerve of this host!

    • +17

      Wow, I just saw that - disgusting behaviour and so childish. Thanks for the heads up, will definitely not be supporting this business in the future.

      OP - reach out to https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/contact-us/resolve-your-prob...

      Maybe also cite the doxxing from Google Reviews as to why you don't want to leave them a bad review.

      Whatever you do, don't lose your temper - keep calm and measured and document everything - the business owners and their egos seem to want to have the last word and would be wanting you to lose it so they open both barrels in return.

      • +8

        High chance the owner will put up some personal information as part of the reply. This is actually the first time im seeing a business do this on googgle review. It is totally unprofessional. People are not stupid, we can tell between a cry baby customer or a genuine concern and the way the business defend themself will determine if that is a true 1 star or not.

        • and they charge 2% surcharge for card booking wtf ripper

          edit - google reviews seem revamped, they use to have report buttons

    • +11

      Wow! I had a look since you mentioned it. That’s disgraceful! What a piece of work the owner must be.

      • +9

        Ozbargain retribution anyone?

        • +1

          I thought that, but then thought best to wait until OP has finished negotiating to see if they can get more refunded or to change the date.

    • +3

      That's appalling!

    • +1

      Order 66 Play Shack

    • Lol having said that, the review itself was interesting. They brought it to VCAT and then VCAT ordered them to pay more money….

      • +1

        They’ve done it to numerous people by the look of it. Reviews are listed separately under each number eg ‘play shack 5’ ‘play shack 3’. Every time someone writes a negative review the owner doxxes them - pretty unprofessional. Everyone who has had it done to them should make a complaint to the OAIC.

    • +5

      Even posted the mobile phone number of a reviewer and listed the names of all her kids. The guy running this place must be certifiably insane.

      • A lawyer has her phone and employment information posted in a response to a review. Absolutely disgraceful. Wouldn't go anywhere near them.

    • +1

      That's pretty appalling behaviour. Wouldn't go near a business like that.

  • +7

    Ok so from now on you only book accommodation with free cancellation. There are decent holiday rental owners who are not exploiting this lockdown madness.
    Those dogs who own that place need to be sorted out. Thats despicable keeping your money when they are the ones who should be cancelling your stay due to the lockdown preventing them from operating.
    I’ve done some detective work and this is who you are dealing with

    https://www.mansfield.vic.gov.au/directory/business/play-sha...

    https://www.bostongrp.com.au/documents/court-and-vcat-tribun...

    In the google reviews of play shack 5 there is another customer who got shafted. She’s a lawyer who welcomes anyone to get in touch with her. You should reach out to her and explain in your case they are unable to provide the accommodation and won’t refund cos maybe that changes things legally

  • +10

    That's snow good.

  • +5

    Having been an accommodation operator I can give an inside perspective. If you are offered a deal that has no refunds then you accept that when you book. The supplier then removes that accommodation from sale. You own it.This used to be the airline model. Since covid, flexibility has entered the market because it has been generally accepted that customers won’t book if they are at risk of losing their money due to covid therefore any booking is a bonus in some cases. Sensible operators have adapted to a credit for cancellations and if pushed often give refunds. Now go back to the fact that you own that accommodation and approach the situation from a best practices point of view. Work with the operator to find some common ground. This requires tact and diplomacy which let’s face it a lot of small business owners and customers lack. If they resell the accommodation it is reasonable to expect some sort of refund so start there and see how far you can get. If they are part of a franchised chain there may be other avenues to pursue, there is also the online feedback option AFTER all else fails. You could suggest that others would jump on there and badmouth them but how good would some feedback about being an accommodating operator (yes I heard it) be for their business? Nothing is set in stone and if you work together you may get all or a reasonable portion of your money refunded. Or not.

    • +2

      That's a fair point during regular times, but if the business has no rooms to available during the period booked, due to lockdown, then using the airline analogy, the flight is cancelled.

      Options should be to either allow rebooking for a future agreed date (at the same price), or refund.

    • They can't resell the accommodation. They're unable to provide it to anyone, including the OP.

    • “No cancellations” does not apply to this scenario. The customer is not cancelling. The issue is that the provider cannot fulfil their obligations to provide the accomodation and has no entitlement to the customer’s money.

  • +1

    Why you trynna book a trip when there's constantly been outbreaks and random lockdowns?

    Sucks and feel sorry for you but it's most likely in the T&Cs and it's a risk you either knowingly or unknowingly took.

    • +3

      yeah I wouldn't be booking anything without a great cancellation policy (preferably where you do not pay until check-in).

      • +2

        I have taken triple my usual flights on specials BECAUSE I know I can get a credit on my airfares. This has included a trip to NZ. I would never have gone anywhere if it was non refundable. The market should be following this model.

  • I would not let it do.
    A similar thing happened to me (multiple times) and I kicked up a fuss.
    The hotel/booking company eventually refunded me, I guess they thought it wasn't worth their time?

  • -1

    Something doesn't add up here after reading the Google reviews. They seem to offer everyone who needs to cancel some alternative arrangements, and it's only those people that insist on a 100% refund who get upset (even after they've obviously accepted the T&Cs, despite how 'unfair' they might be).

    OP, approximately what dates did you want to book for next year, and what did they offer you?

    • Any time snow season next year will do..

      No credit, no moving dates..

      Flat out denied me of anything.

      I also want to bring up I originally booked 2 days, she said someone booked same day also you must book a 3rd night to lock it your booking

      So my invoice went from 3.6k ish to 4.4k

      I have all email message records

      • No credit, no moving dates..

        Wow. What reason did they give?

        • +1

          Along the lines of..

          you don't know what my family and business been through blah blah…

          This year we took a 100% stance against covid etc etc

          • @vince088: Double wow.

            Yeah, their T&Cs are ridiculous. I just read a bit more closely and it says that if you want to change dates within 30 days of arriving, it's the same as cancelling. I wonder if they actually have a reason for this (e.g. they've already booked other services like cleaning, catering etc.) or they just enjoy taking money without delivering anything.

            Sounds like they need to review their business model if they can't be more flexible, or if COVID and other circumstances are having that much of an impact on their business and causing them that much stress, they need to do something else.

            From having a read of the ACCC site, legally speaking, I don't think there's a lot you can do unfortunately. It reads as if the T&Cs cover them.

            So yeah, I sounds like taking a holiday anywhere right now is a bad idea, unless the T&Cs are really accommodating.

          • @vince088: Can you hit them back with your own sob story? Maybe they will be more receptive to that.

            • @capslock: unfortunately I don't have a sob story other then a big hurt in the wallet

  • That's really harsh. I have a holiday booked for the NT in late August. We won't be able to go because it will now require 2 weeks isolation.

    Airfares - credit
    Hiking tour - $200 admin fee and the rest as a credit for a future trip.
    Hire 4WD - No fee. Full refund.

    • you got dudded on the hiking tour

      • +2

        They were the T&Cs. We knew what we were dealing with.

  • +7

    In the current world everything can go from open to lockdown in a matter of days, a sad reality. We have attempted to take multiple holidays over the last 18 months and have managed zero due to unfortunate lockdowns locally or at the destination.

    All the places I've booked lately don't even take a deposit anymore and have offered free cancellation, one was even up to 6pm the day of the booking! I wouldn't look to anyone who doesn't offer that sort of flexibility right now, although I understand some in demand places like snow fields might be a little different to the sorts of places I have been looking at. Even so, I would still expect at least some refund or credit towards a later trip.

    Depending on how you paid, some products (like Mastercard/VISA etc) have built in insurance you can access, although the first hit in Google was Commbank which seems to only be for international travel and specifically excludes claims related to COVID.
    https://www.commbank.com.au/travel/travel-insurance.html

    ING offer a paid product, but even that is noted as: "As of 18 March 2020, ING is temporarily ceasing to issue new domestic and international Travel Insurance policies …"
    https://www.ing.com.au/insurance/travel-insurance.html

  • +1

    Change the date, there is a clause in the conditions. Change of booking dates is to be of the same or higher value of the original booking within 60 days of the original arrival date

    • ^ This ^

      If the lockdown extends beyond the 60 days, that's when I think the OP might be entitled to some sort of refund.

      But for now, the business is honouring their side of the agreement. They can provide the accommodation on another date within 60 days of the original one (according to their T&Cs) but they can't (won't) accept a booking for next year as the OP has requested.

      So OP, whatever it takes, just go within that 60 day period. It's better than losing $4,000+.

  • -3

    I think it is fair that the business does not refund. However I don't think it's fair not to allow a change of date.
    They could simply do like the Airline. Allow a change of date with a change fee of $150….extra profit for them and a happy client…simple

    • +6

      I think it is fair that the business does not refund.

      Is it fair if you turn up and they turn you away and not refund?
      Because they are not allowed to accept guests. The accommodation is in a lockdown area too…
      They cannot legally charge you for a service they cannot provide.

      • Yes, as a guest, by booking during a pandemic, knowing the risks, I think it’s fair to share the risk with the business you are booking with.

        If it is “legally” as you say, then OP can get a lawyer, if you think this is the law (I am not aware of the law in regards to bookings), then he will get his money back simply by enforcing the law.

        However, all I can see is an agreement that was accepted by OP.

        Again, my view is that the business isn’t playing fair game, and that it should be a shared 50/50 responsibility with the booking guest. Both are aware of the current difficulties

        • +4

          share the risk with the business you are booking with.

          nope, you are paying for a service.

          they cannot deliver that service.

          they must issue you a refund…

          It's a different thing entirely though if they are not in lockdown and are open, but you cannot go… Then you are not fulfilling your agreement with them.

    • They could simply do like the Airline.

      If an airline cancels a flight, they must legally refund you your money. You do not have to accept a change of date.

    • +2

      I think it is fair that the business does not refund.

      That same business can get $18,000 from the government as they are not allowed to accepts guests right now…

      https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/victoria-records...

      If they keep the customer's money when they can't provide the service and get paid by the government (ie taxpayer) as well, they are thieves…

      • To get government grants they will need to show a downturn in revenue. If they keep the money, they will not be able to show a decrease in revenue.

        Again, OP was asking to move the date and this should have been accepted. I do not agree with the business keeping 100% of the money and provide no service, but also I do not agree with OP having no responsibility after they clearly accepted T&Cs. Otherwise what is the point in having T&Cs

        • To get government grants they will need to show a downturn in revenue.

          Not hard to do when you are in lockdown and can't accept guests…

          The govt also specifically mentioned that grants will help businesses working in the snowfields….

          If they keep the money, they will not be able to show a decrease in revenue.

          The money was paid before the lockdown… They only need to show that business was down during the lockdown…

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