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

        • but also I do not agree with OP having no responsibility after they clearly accepted T&Cs.

          The T&Cs should only apply if the business was allowed to be open as usual, and they are clearly not.

          They cannot accept any guests during the period and should refund all money to people booked during the period they cannot deliver the service.

          If the lodge was in a state without a lockdown, then I would agree with you…

  • +10

    Tell them that you are in an apartment building and have COVID.
    You have been asked to isolate in another accommodation provider.
    Tell them you expect to be there on time to be checked in.

    • +1

      That's not as crazy as it sounds.
      OP can do that! (Secondary close contacts are allowed to travel to new accommodation if there is a primary close contact in their household).
      Love to see the response back.

  • +1

    SIMPLE ANSWER
    Contact your credit card provider and have them reverse the charge

    NEXT TIME BOOK ON ONE OF THE BOOKING SITES

    Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia, hotels, etc

    They mostly all allow FREE cancellation up to 2 days prior to accommodation date

  • Definitely fight it. There is a still contract that both parties are willing to meet and an external event that is outside of both side’s control occured. This means the contract can no longer be carried out through no fault of anyone. I’d VCAT that

  • +2

    Fight it - and even if he gives you the refund, please follow up with relevant authorities, this behaviour needs to stop so other poor souls don't get treated the same!

  • In situations like this, this why such thing as travel insurance exist, especially if the T and C of the contract you may have signed is inflexible. Usually, I would avoid signing contracts this bias or have it amended. If they don't this is a big red flag, avoid the company like a plague.

    Besides that, doesn't hurt fighting, as long it doesn't affect you mentally.

    • Travel insurances don't cover pandemics.

    • It's a known event. Travel insurance won't help you past Jan 2020 for covid related border closures or lockdowns.
      Hence for OP, it is known that there may be lockdowns at the time of booking, yet they accepted the no refunds T&Cs.

  • Whilst alot of businesses would probably be accommodating in this scenario, if you have agreed to a set of T's&C' and they won't use some discretion, then you are in trouble.

    Pursuing a credit card chargeback might be an option, but I have no experience of doing this for this sort of a situation.

    For this sort of a reason, I never pay for accommodation in advance (only a small deposit to secure the booking) - that's part of my T's&C's. If a business insists that I pay fully upfront, I will find somewhere else. If you, MUST pay in full, always make sure you have travel insurance (and that the T's&C's will payout if you not are able to travel).

  • +2

    Jeez, definitely fight! Although I feel for the venue, they cannot possibly expect to keep your money when you have no means of receiving your services, and they have no way of delivering the services

  • Exactly - disgracefully from the owner/venue. It's not like the OP is cancelling because he doesn't want to go - it is out of his hands ffs, might sound harsh but if he goes under then be it, someone else will come and fill the void with better service. Not sure how you can blatently 'steal'/profit out of someone else money

  • +1

    I suppose the question is can terms and conditions override consumer rights?

    You have paid for something you cannot now legally access so I would have thought a refund or at least a date change is on order.

    From my experience, my credit card provider was very understanding when I did a chargeback due to covid. I had my money and a call from the car rental company within 24hrs after contacting my bank when 3 months of me calling and emailing directly got me nowhere.

    *************Edit. Seems I might be wrong.

    From https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees...

    My travel arrangements and bookings have been impacted by COVID travel restrictions. What are my rights to a refund or credit?
    Terms and conditions will vary between travel providers, and in some cases consumers might not be entitled to a full, or any, refund of their booking. Some terms and conditions may provide for the ability to re-book, or credit notes, rather than refunds for cancelled bookings.

  • I don't know why you would book something without checking the T&C's in this day and age. This was the kind of thing happening in March 2020, in 2021 you should know better.
    Every booking I do, you can just simply check if they have a policy for covid lockdowns, they will give credit or refund if due to lockdowns or border closures you can't attend.
    If they don't have this policy I TAKE MY BUSINESS ELSEWHERE.

    Obvs that's not helpful. If there is no prevision for refunds in their T&Cs, I would keep persisting with that you are happy to come another time, and still give them their money. Postpone one week at a time (don't say you'll come back in july 2022 or something)?

    • +4

      I don't know why you would book something without checking the T&C's in this day and age.

      This has nothing to do with the T&C's.

      The lodge is unable to provide the service the OP paid for. They are the ones not fulfilling/breaking the contract.

      • Completely agree with you, seems a lot of ozbargain members are literally retarded reading this thread like the T&C's are at all acceptable in this scenario.

      • -2

        They can actually, just not on the date the OP requested due to lockdown. They can provide it within 60 days of the original date.

        • -1

          They can actually, just not on the date the OP requested due to lockdown.

          Well they aren't at liberty to change the date the OP paid for.

          That is up to the OP whether they chose to change dates.

          The contract was for the dates he paid for. If they aren't able to provide the service, they must refund all the money…

          • +1

            @jv: The contract is literally made up of the T&Cs that each party agreed to at the time of booking which actually mentions pandemics and states no refund. But you want to pretend that that contract never existed and want to replace it with completely new terms.

          • @jv: But they can't provide the accommodation, it's illegal. They're in lockdown too.

            It goes both ways. Both sides have to compromise because neither has control of the situation.

            • @Payne:

              It goes both ways.

              Not really.

              It's in the contract.

              The lodge accepted money and cannot deliver the service the OP paid for…

              If they were allowed to deliver the service, but the OP couldn't go, then it would be reversed and the OP would have to cop the T&Cs they signed up to…

              • @jv: And the OP accepted their T&Cs when they booked. It goes both ways.

                Anyway, just trying to see it from both sides. It doesn't always have to be so black and white.

                • @Payne: Shit and biased T&C doesn’t change ACL and or fundamental of the contract law. Some businesses try though

                  • +2

                    @lookingforTV: ACL doesn't apply here. This exact situation is specifically mentioned in the ACCC website.

                    • @capslock: I disagree, i believe you are confusing cancellations from the customer ends due to lockdown conditions with unavailable accommodation due to lockdown which isn't the same thing. It is not the customer cancelling here but the accommodation itself which is unavailable for use.

  • Report to Kira, he will write that person's name all the names in the Death Note.

  • Claim a charge back with ING & move on. Maybe you can return some of the snow gear also if it's unused.

  • +6

    Agree with the other comments. They cannot provide the service they contractually agreed to provide to you. You have nothing to pay for. If they don't come to the party, pursue it through your credit card company. It's sad that they have had a rough time in their business due to covid, but that's not your fault.

    If the accomodation burnt down in a fire would anyone still expect OP to pay? What about if they misplaced the keys and couldn't open the front door so you couldn't get in? These are situations allegedly covered by their terms and conditions.

    • +3

      pursue it through your credit card company.

      Exactly… The credit card company does not need to know that you cannot go… It is irrelevant…

      All you need to tell them is that you paid for the service, and the service provider cannot deliver what you paid for… End of story…

  • +8

    Thanks for all the advice guys, I will fight for it.
    I have a lot of recommended avenues to pursue, as $4484 deficit is a bit hard to swallow.

    • Yes that is nearly equivalent to a new 77" OLED telebi.

      Look on the dark side….alot of small accomodation and businesses will not exist after this covid pandemic is over.

      Just need to buy a tent and four sleeping bags on your next trip 🤣….forgot the swiss army knife a must have if shiot goes wrong.

    • +3

      Best of luck and I really hope it works out for you.

      I know I've commented for and against on this thread, so all I'll say is be careful with this business. Judging from their reviews, they've been here before and will stick to their guns. All they seem to care about is the money, not people hating them or leaving negative reviews.

      Based on the ACCC site, it looks like the business is legally covered by their T&Cs too.

      So yeah, I reckon if you can find a way to take the trip within the 60 days, go for it. Better than losing all your money.

  • I never ever pay for accomodation upfront, I always pay a deposit and the rest on arrival.

    • It's not always in your control though.. Most travel booking websites want you to pay upfront at least before your stay date. How do you manage that?

      • fortunately I have never come across that issue yet.

  • +6

    Something about this doesn't make any sense.

    If the place is not legally allowed to take guests during the time you have booked, then surely they would be the ones cancelling all their bookings and refunding customers payments for said bookings. In which case you shouldn't even have to cancel anything, as they are the ones who are forced to cancel!

    But if they are legally allowed to remain open and accommodate guests during these lockdowns then it's up to individual customers to cancel their bookings if they are unable to come for whatever reason. At which point you would then be subject to the agreed upon terms and conditions if they are not willing to soften their stance.

  • +3

    It’s abundantly simple. They cannot provide the service as they are in lockdown. You’re untitled to a full refund.

    Let them know you’ve you’ve attempted to resolve the problem directly and you will be processing a charge back. Should give you satisfaction pretty quickly.

  • have a read of this for assistance on the charge back
    https://www.afca.org.au/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-suppor...

    • yes I did :)

  • +2

    i would call a current affair

  • How did you book it? I know Airbnb, Stayz, Expedia, Booking.com etc all major websites refund the money if you can't travel due to the lockdown during the booking dates.

    • Direct through their website,

      Airbnb cost the most
      Stayz was a little bit cheaper

      I googled the accommodation name and found its direct website which was cheaper then both Airbnb and Stayz so thought I would save some money

    • I know Airbnb, Stayz, Expedia, Booking.com etc all major websites refund the money if you can't travel due to the lockdown during the booking dates.

      Are you sure? I'm like almost 100% certain that Airbnb and Stayz no longer offer that… it's up to the hosts' cancellation policy.

      https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/2701/extenuating-circ...

      Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after 14 March 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy

      https://www.stayz.com.au/holiday-ideas/holiday-trends-and-pr...

      You should review your booking’s cancellation policy and take action during your cancellation window if you’d like to make a change to your reservation.

  • +2

    OP not sure if it's too late. Post your question to reddit r/AusLegal

    • I dont want to make another post unfortunately =/

  • +1

    I’m in NSW and I own a business that cannot provide services due to the lockdown, I am not required by law to provide refunds but I am required to give credit and allow reasonable time for the customer to redeem it so I would have thought your situation would be similar.

    I had a holiday booked to QLD in the school holidays and that was rebooked with the hotel next school holidays. The room that I had booked was not available so I got a free upgrade.

    • +2

      Thank you for the information, I did not get that kind of service from this place I booked. No credit or moving dates, I even enquired 1.5 month early before my booked dates

  • +1

    I hate to say it - but i got burned by a similar situation with the last lockdown. I was supposed to be going to a fancy AirBnB in QLD, which cost over 1k. But alas i couldnt go because of lockdown. AirBnB were buttholes and completely unhelpful, they kept referring to the owner having a 'strict cancellation policy'. I was at their mercy and pleaded with both AirBnB and the owner. In the meantime i lodged a case with AMEX, boy was i glad i booked with my AMEX. However AMEX were unhelpful and asked me to submit evidence where their cancellation policy showed i was entitled to a refund, which of course 'techincally' i wasnt.
    In the end i got 50% back from the owner after i grovelled. Which was a result of some sort i guess, yes its a business and yes theres policies - but hey this is 100% out of my hands. Sure - fine me if i dont feel like coming, but i cant legally come what do you want from me?!?
    In the end was it my 'fault' as i didnt read all the T&Cs with that property? Maybe on paper - sure.

    Anyway AirBnB orginally refused to refund their fee, until i emailed the CEO and other top dogs. Then they had a change of heart. Funny that

    I'd love to say your credit card company will bail you out - but in my situation they didnt.

    My tactic would be to go to top of the food chain at the venue and be very polite and ask them kindly for something that works for both parties.
    But sure - you've got nothing to lose but hitting up the credit card place too

    • Thank you for that info

  • +1

    Contact them in writing (email) and ask what time you can check in on your check in date. They will either give you a time (which will mean they are proposing to breach the health order) or they will say "we are not accepting check ins on this date due to the restrictions" which means they are the ones 'cancelling' your booking. Either way it is extra ammunition for your chargeback.

    EDIT: Sounds like they will not willingly refund you so chargeback is your only option. Hope you paid with a credit card

  • It sucks that they're not letting you even move the date, but if you're not making accomodation bookings that have free cancellations in case you're unable to travel this past year, you're really putting the risk of financial loss onto yourself.

  • Regardless of how shitty the accommodation is for doing this, Spending $4k on a holiday and not getting travel insurance is pretty irresponsible.

    Good luck fighting it.

    • +2

      I don't think i've ever taken travel insurance for a domestic holiday (my main concern while on holiday is overseas medical treatment). Not that you would be covered for anything related to COVID at the moment anyway

      • Good point. Had a look and it seems no one covers 'Government intervention', meaning lockdowns.

        While I partially agree with not taking travel insurance for domestic holidays, $4k on accommodation is a lot for a domestic holiday.

  • Hit up Fair Trading. Get them on the phone. They are quite helpful. Good luck!

  • -1

    Travel insurance might help you out? You will likely have it built into whichever credit card you paid with. Or charge back. Looking at their already poor reviews it seems that bad publicity doesn't affect them.

    • Travel insurance doesn't cover government lockdowns unfortunately

  • +1

    Do a charge back, no idea why people are saying not to.

    The worst thing that can happen is the bank rejects the charge back claim

  • Seems crappy but YOU did agree to the T&C's. We have taken a few trips in the last 18 months and the FIRST thing we check on where we are booking is what are their T&C's for Covid cancellation or moving date, if they aren't flexible we book elsewhere as plenty of places are offering those guarantees to get customers.

  • +5

    Even if you don't get a refund, I would post this all over socials/reddit/ozbargains/whirlpool the works and try to kill this dog business.

  • That's really bad, the best way is to initiate a chargeback. By not even allowing for a credit or change of date, it's very unlikely the bank or AFCA will side with them unless the hotel proves they are open in contravention of the lockdown directives.

    Beyond that, I would encourage you to post that in the relevant Facebook groups who are lobbying for a legislation in Australia to prevent this happen in the future, they would love to see examples such as yours.

  • +2

    I've read every single message thanks guys

  • +3

    You can probably changes dates if you fight hard enough for it.

    But to be fair, I have little sympathy. At the start of the pandemic things were different, but at this stage you would have to be crazy to book something that doesn't clearly have a cancellation policy etc. Yes it might cost a little extra, but if you book something right now that can't be cancelled or re-booked to save a few dollars, you really only have yourself to blame.

    • This x100

    • The crazy one is the business that impose such an unfair cancellation policy. Some people like to gamble, but there are casinos and lotteries for that, which are regulated differently.
      Imagine if everyone will only book accommodation just one day before or even on the day. Will that work better for hospitality businesses?

      • Yup. Better than staffing people only to have everyone else cancelled. Neither that business owner or the customer is charity, someone will lose in a lockdown

      • It depends on the conditions. Many hotels have cheaper rates for restrictive cancellation conditions. I assume he must have got a great rate for non flexible deal. Important to avoid those rates while pandemic persists

  • +1

    They should be offering you credit at the least. This has been standard policy everywhere else that I'm aware … Pursue a charge back after documenting communications where they state a refund/change date won't be issued. I think you'll win tbh

  • +1

    Definitely fight for it 1000%. That is an unacceptable policy from the business.
    If ING is not helpful, get all the evidence in writing, and serve them with a VCAT notice.
    If you lose the case, make a big noise everywhere.

  • Look into the doctrine of frustration:

    https://corrs.com.au/insights/legal-consequences-of-covid-19...

    Edit: before anybody tries to come for me, I havent read into this enough to see if it will actually help so it may or may not help OP

  • -30

    FROM THE MANAGER OF THE BUSINESS

    It’s a sad world we live in when people are able to go online without providing all the facts, which has now insighted others to target a small business!

    We are a small family business, built from the ground up 15 years ago in the Victorian High Country. Until the bush fires of 2020, floods and then COVID we had a thriving business, managing 11 properties & gainfully employing people, award winners & boasting over 500 reviews over multiple platforms, all 5 out of 5.

    When COVID hit unexpectedly our T & C’s gave us little if no cover. We worked full time last year, paying staff, dealing with hundreds of affected bookings, many bookings were changed three times, yet never resulted in a final booking. We continued to operate; sometimes working 16 hour days dealing with the impact of every new government change in Victoria after a marathon 112 days in lockdown, basically the entire ski season, which brings 80% of our annual income for our owners and our business.

    While no income was generated, operational costs didn’t stop. The end result was staff retrenchment and reducing our accommodation portfolio to only 3 houses, that I can manage on my own. We are not on Mt Buller, so those massive grants don’t apply to us, what we did get we are very grateful of.

    Last year we updated our T & C’s to ensure our business & our owners survival, & make NO apology for that. Charge backs are not possible with clause 2 & the ACCC & Consumer Affairs are now protecting Accommodation suppliers also, where once they did not. You can’t book without agreeing you read the T & Cs & one must take responsibility for that.

    HERE IS WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW:

    1. vince088's booking is for 20 guests, sharing with 12 adults & 8 kids. A total of $73 per person per night, over his 3 night booking.

    2. On the 31st of May, vince088 enquired about our T & C’s & our response was, and I quote word for word:

    Hi vince088,
    Here is a copy of the T’s & C's you agreed to when making the booking.
    Please appreciate and understand that after last year, having to sell our family home and losing 12 months of income, we have now taken a stance against COVID and made this 100% clear.
    If you would like to cancel your booking, you are entitled to a 50% refund.
    Please confirm if you wish to continue with your booking and understand the T's & C's.
    Moving a date is no different to a cancellation as we can never recoup the lost nights.

    https://playshack.com.au/termsandconditions/

    1. Here is vince088's reply word for word.

    Hi {Mod: removed}
    Just to confirm I am continuing with my booking for July 23-26th
    I couldn't find any travel insurance that covers lockdown so we are just going to wing it.
    Regards
    vince088

    Why did I not offer a date change?

    Tariffs for accommodation don't cover just the nights at the accommodation. By the time you arrive, a great proportion of the tariff has already been spent on running the business, house and gardens upkeep, staff, paying service fees to various utility providers, insurances, rates and more. When a booking date is changed at the last minute, it's no different to a cancelled booking, as those nights will never be re-booked and therefore never contribute to covering expenses that are incurred up to the arrival date and beyond and takes away nights that can be booked by others. vince088 offered no fair resolution, or compensation for us and simply expected us to take full liability and act as an insurance policy, yet multi-billion dollar companies are not covering for covit. This is what Airbnb have to say:

    "After the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the extenuating circumstances policy no longer applies because COVID-19 and its consequences are no longer unforeseen or unexpected……."COVID-19 related circumstances not covered include: transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates—like evacuation orders, border closures" …..

    On most occasions I have tried to negotiate with guests a win-win situation, but unless a guest receives a 100% refund or a change in date with no penalty they are never happy and as they have done and feel it’s appropriate to go online and leave unfair reviews for accommodation they did not stay at because they don’t wish to take responsibility for what they signed up for. The traveller has the power to book or not to book and fina an accommodation that is offering better terms.

    There are no winners in this pandemic and everyone is mentally and financially losing. For those people who have already targeted us and suggested others to do the same, from my family with 2 dependent children whose livelihood depends on me, please stop and remove vial comments, suggestions and reviews.

    As for vince088, I will be offering him a $1200 credit note to use for a future 3 night booking, in good faith & beyond the T & C’s he agreed based on a few up dated T’s & C’s

    Thanks for reading.
    Management.

    P.S I also thank those writers like Hybroid & Fruxo for understanding the facts & making educated comments.

    Mod: real names removed (Private information)

  • +1

    the way i see it they are trying to make/keep an unreasonable amount of easy money for a service they cannot fulfill

    kindly keep us posted OP we must know how this pans out

  • +2

    The owner of this place just rang me to give me grief, I cannot believe this.

    • +2

      Wow, what did she say? She seems so nasty based on the comment above (which made me read other reviews on Google). Definitely it chargeback and if it fails, VCAT.

      • +4

        Harassing me. I hang up and now she SMSed me threatening legal action on some google reviews, which I 100% never left.