My customers are cancelling their bookings because of the bushfires. What are my rights under Consumer Law?

January 22, 2020

It’s inevitable that some guests will decide to cancel or postpone their bookings as a result of the bushfires. In most cases, the reason for cancellation is genuine and important. It is worth remembering that they might be a customer in the future, and if you keep the goodwill of your customers, it can pay off in the future.   

Business Victoria have complied some helpful guidelines which can be viewed here.

Please note that this advice is a guide only and you must take specific advice from your legal advisor with respect to your individual situation.

According to Business Victoria, when a bushfire has occurred, your rights and obligations will depend on the situation.

The customer and your business are released from the contract if the accommodation has been destroyed, access roads have been closed and the authorities have advised the area is not safe. Under such instances, the consumer is entitled to a refund of any deposit paid less any expenses reasonably incurred before the cancellation.

If your business is still open, however, there’s a lot of smoke, which can cause guests to be uncomfortable, and choose to cancel. In this instance, your contract is still valid, and your cancellation policy can be applied.

For more information on the Australian Consumer Law for travel and accommodation businesses, please download ACL’s guide here.

About RE:NSW

In response to both the global COVID-19 pandemic and recent bushfire disaster, there are a range of resources being distributed by a variety of local, state and national organisations. Destination Southern NSW and Destination Sydney Surrounds South are gathering this information together on RE:NSW to assist tourism operators to respond, recover and renew their businesses and local tourism region during and after the impact of these events.