The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, has explained some of the measures adopted and approved by the Government to face the crisis due to the cause of the coronavirus.
One of the biggest problems caused by the coronavirus crisis has been the impossibility for many travelers to take the trips they had previously booked and, therefore, the uncertainty as to what will happen to the amounts already collected. Is there a possibility of reimbursement or only of receiving a voucher?
All of the following measures have been adopted to avoid economic damage, according to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
- Contracted travel
From the very beginning, airlines have given travelers the possibility to make the appropriate cancellations and change the dates of travel. However, the problem has arisen when these trips have been contracted through an intermediary such as a travel agency or websites with package deals.
Some of these intermediaries were offering vouchers to travelers, so that they could make their trips in the future. The reason for this action was that the travel agencies were claiming that they could not refund the money, as their suppliers were not accepting refunds.
The Government is trying to regulate this problem. The measures taken in the Royal Decree contemplate that travelers can claim the refund of the amount of their tickets, as well as bonuses, from the companies and agencies.
- Services and products contracted
Another problem that has arisen has been related to goods or services that could not be consumed or performed. Therefore, another measure adopted in the Royal Decree has been to give consumers the possibility to request the termination of the contract within 14 days. The company for its part will be able to offer the alternative of a voucher to be used in the future. According to the Ministry, the user will have to accept this option. In the case of tickets for concerts, festivals and the like, the amounts will have to be refunded.
- Services with monthly payments
This type of services are called successive tract services, which imply a monthly fee. This area includes businesses such as gyms, academies, etc. In this type of business, the companies will not be able to charge the user the monthly fee due to the paralysis of the activity and therefore the user will be entitled to the reimbursement of the proportional part of the time he/she has not been able to enjoy the service due to the state of the country.
- Travel purchased through intermediaries
In the case of services that include providers such as travel, the user may choose to request a refund or have the possibility of using a voucher to enjoy the service at a later date.
Travel agencies denounce that they cannot return the money to the users if the suppliers do not return the money to them. Therefore, the government will offer agencies the possibility to offer a voucher to their clients with 1 year to use, as long as their suppliers have not returned the money to them. However, if the suppliers have repaid the money, the agencies will be obliged to do the same with their clients.
In the event that the agencies do not receive the refund from their suppliers and offer the voucher to their clients, they will have one year to use it and if they do not use it, they may request a refund of the amount. According to the ministry, ideally there should be an agreement between the client and the company. If within 60 days there is no agreement between both parties, the company will proceed to refund the money.