Business, Commercial, Updates

COVID-19: Handling Refund Requests and Cancellations

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Legally Shalini

The following information is taken from an email newsletter by Brisbane-based business contract law specialist, Shalini Nandan-Singh of Legally Shalini.

It came in response to restrictions and cancellations of public gatherings brought about the Coronavirus outbreak (and attempts to stem further spread.)

This is general information only and you should speak with Shalini or another qualified professional regarding your specific situation.

You can contact Shalini here or email her directly at shalini@legallyshalini.com.au for more information.

This is not a sponsored article.

Shalini’s content starts here:

Restrictions Have Meant:

  • People are cancelling attending events
  • People are cancelling other services
  • People are requesting refunds
  • Events are being cancelled or rescheduled

Are You Wondering What to do in Your Situation?

How refunds are managed will depend on your client contract, or if you are a consumer, on the terms you agreed, and relevant insurances you may have.

A Few Key Things to Keep in Mind:

  • If you already have a contract in your business – you will need to stick to the refund and cancellation policy that you and your client have agreed to.
     
  • You cannot introduce a new Coronavirus cancellation or refund policy and assume it will be accepted. People are under no obligation to take any notice of any new policy if they have an existing agreement with you.
     
  • You need to work through your contract to determine when a refund will apply and what amount of refund.
     
  • There are different outcomes if you cancel as a service provider due to force majeure (circumstances beyond your control) or frustration of contract – and a pandemic is tricky. It will depend on your business, your industry and your contract.
     
  • Get legal advice about your contract if you are unsure.
     
  • Talk to your insurers about your business interruption insurance. It is unlikely that ordinary business insurance will cover business shut down in current circumstances but its worth checking.
     
  • Check your travel insurance – comprehensive travel insurance does not necessarily cover the current situation regarding the impact of Corona Virus.
     
  • Be careful about waiving your refund or cancellation policy as it may jeopardise any insurance claim your client may have – so please have this discussion with your client.
     
  • Your refund and cancellation policy, including termination, should be clearly outlined in your service agreement or client contract and you should apply it accordingly

Shalini’s content ends here.


The AIPP trust our long-time supporter and sponsor John Sinisigalli of Melbourne-based commercial law firm Sinisigalli Foster for legal advice. You can email the team at info@sinisgallifoster.com.au or call directly on (03) 9133 3000.

AIPP members can log in and find free specimen contracts available for download here (noting these provide a base from which your chosen lawyer/legal team can draft terms specific for your business and current circumstances.)

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