London Trading Standards welcomes CMA statement on COVID-19 cancellation rights

London Trading Standards has welcomed today’s statement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on consumers’ cancellation rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CMA has identified three main areas of concern which are;

  • Holiday accommodation
  • Weddings and private events;
  • Nurseries and childcare providers.

Local authority trading standards services are responsible for enforcing a whole range of consumer protection legislation which involves not only dealing with complaints but also working with businesses to help them understand their responsibilities.

These are unprecedented times and the knock-on effects of COVID-19 are affecting many people in lots of different ways.  As we approach the holiday season, one of the current issues generating complaints involves holidays, not just accommodation but also cancelled flights.  It appears that some airlines have been reluctant to issue refunds and would prefer to steer consumers towards re-booking for future dates or offering vouchers.

Stephen Knight, Operations Director for London Trading Standards, said: “Today’s statement from the CMA reinforces the basic legal principle that if a business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services, consumers are entitled to a full refund of their money”.

He added: “London Trading Standards fully recognises that businesses refunding large sums of money could face financial jeopardy but, equally, consumers may now need to have their money back to help to survive through the current crisis, particularly if their source of income has been reduced or dried up altogether. In any case, the law is clear and must be respected.”

London Trading Standards will be running a consumer campaign around COVID-19 issues next Month to highlight some of the main concerns generated by the pandemic and the new areas of work that trading standards officers are addressing.

Advice on consumer rights in relation to cancellations by holiday businesses registered in the EU, Norway, Iceland, or the UK is available from the UK European Consumer Centre (UKECC) here.

Consumers affected by unfair cancellation terms in wake of COVID-19 can report them to the CMA using an online form.

  • Read the full CMA statement here