If you have any suggestions for questions to add to this list please contact the Activities team with the subject title: Coronavirus Refund FAQ Suggestion. We'll do our best to respond and post the answer here for the benefit of all Clubs, Societies & Projects (CSPs).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- My supplier says they can't issue a credit note, what can I do?
- My supplier cancelled my booking, am I entitled to a full refund?
- My supplier can't offer us a refund at this time, what can I do?
- I need help negotiating with a supplier for a refund, who can I contact for advice?
- I have received a full refund from 1 out of 2 suppliers for our trip/tour/event/activity, can I refund my members?
- My supplier has offered us credit on our account and/or to postpone our booking to next year, should I accept this?
- My CSP is in 'agreed debt', can I refund my members?
- How long does it take for members/ticket-holders to be refunded?
- Some of my members are graduating, can they attend this event the following year?
- A member purchased multiple tickets on behalf of friends, how will everyone get refunded?
- I sold tickets to my trip/tour/event/activity offline (in cash), how can I issue a refund?
- I sold tickets to my trip/tour/event/activity on an external platform e.g. Eventbrite, how can I issue a refund?
- I have postponed our trip/tour/event/activity to a date in the future, however a member cannot go, what do I do?
Don't worry! Typically if a supplier has already issued you a refund before issuing a credit note, then their system won't allow a credit note to be generated. This can be a common issue. As an alternative, you can provide written confirmation (via email) from the supplier that a refund has been agreed, and the money is due to be re-paid to your CSP; you will need to ask your supplier to include the payment reference you provided for your original payment, e.g. PO number, Credit Card Request number etc.
Tip: you can find the reference number, as well as a pdf. of this supporting documentation in eActivities.
In short, yes! If a supplier has been unable to provide a service or fulfil your booking, and has sent you a cancellation, you are entitled to a full refund. Some suppliers may offer you credit on your account to spend with them in future, or a voucher, however if the supplier goes bankrupt, this will no longer be valid and you will lose this money. We would therefore recommend you ask for a full refund.
Unfortunately not all suppliers are setup to deal with refund requests en-mass, in light of the disruption caused by Covid-19. You might experience a delay of weeks or months before you receive a response from your supplier, after which there will likely be further delays in processing your request. You might also find that your booking is non-refundable as per the supplier Terms & Conditions (T&Cs). In any case, you should still contact your supplier requesting a full refund.
Unfortunately, until you have written confirmation from your supplier that a full refund has been agreed, you cannot offer your members a refund. There are however alternative routes you can take to refund your members.
The Union’s staff team is still working full-time to support you, albeit remotely from our homes. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support and advice in negotiating with suppliers.
Tip: before contacting us, make sure to read your booking Terms & Conditions (T&Cs).
I have received a full refund from 1 out of 2 suppliers for our trip/tour/event/activity, can I refund my members?
In order to refund your members your CSP should have received a full refund for allsuppliers related to the trip/tour/activity/event in question. We do however appreciate that not all suppliers will be able to offer a refund at this moment in time. If you feel you have enough Self Generated Income (SGI) in your CSP account to refund your members, and in doing so you won't go into debt, you can seek approval from the Deputy President (Finance & Services).
Tip: to check whether you are eligible to refund your members, have a look at the 'Can I Offer a Refund?' Flowchart
My supplier has offered us credit on our account and/or to postpone our booking to next year, should I accept this?
You should ask for a full refund in the first instance. We would recommend you consider other options in the following priority order:
- 1st preference: full refund
- 2nd preference: postpone booking until after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and it is safe to carry out your activity, in line with UK Government guidance
- 3rd preference: postpone booking until around the same time the following year e.g. March 31 2020 to March 30 2021
- 4th preference: account credit and/or voucher
If you choose to postpone your booking, ideally the date should be negotiable and something that is to be revisited by you and your supplier.
Some CSPs have agreed long-term debt, approved by the Deputy President (Finance & Services). This is carefully managed by the Union and must be agreed in advance of any spending. If this applies to your CSP, and you are eligible to refund you members, you will be able to go back to debt levels in line with your finances pre-Covid-19.
Once your member/ticket-holder has submitted the COVID-19 CSP Member Refund Request form, they should expect a response from the Union regarding the outcome of their request within 15 working days.
If their request is successful, it will be sent for processing by the Deputy President (Finance & Services). Once processed, it will take between 3-5 working days for the payment to appear in their account. The money will be refunded to their original payment method e.g. debit or credit card.
The time it takes to process a request will depend on a number of factors, including the type of refund you choose to offer. The process as a whole should take no longer than 1 month from the time a refund request is made, to payment. We are working hard to process refunds as quickly as we can.
For members that have been unable to attend annual end-of-year CSP events targeted at final years e.g. ICSMSU's annual 'Affirmation' for Medics, the CSP should aim to invite these members back the following year, or at the next opportunity, to participate so to not miss out. To support this, the Union will commit to relaxing rules on alumni attending these events.
If a member/ticket-holder has purchased multiple tickets (say for their friends) then whoever made the original booking will be refunded the total amount paid, for all of the tickets. It is the individual member/ticket-holder's responsibility to refund their friends.
The Union can only offer refunds when a ticket has been purchased online via the Union Online Shop. Cash-in-hand payments e.g. collected by the Treasurer in exchange for a physical ticket, are not eligible for refund from the Union.
I sold tickets to my trip/tour/event/activity on an external platform e.g. Eventbrite, how can I issue a refund?
If your CSP have sold tickets via an alternative online provider (e.g. Eventbrite), external to the Union Online Shop, then the process is largely the same. You will still need to check if you are eligible to offer a refund before issuing a refund to a member/ticket-holder.
If you are eligble, the Union will not process refunds, instead you and your CSP are responsible for issuing refunds via the alternative ticketing platform used.
I have postponed our trip/tour/event/activity to a date in the future, however a member cannot go, what do I do?
If a digital product is changed from what was originally advertised products already purchased may remain valid should the customer wish to keep the product. If not, Imperial College Union will refund the face value of the product.
Therefore, if you have changed the date of your trip/tour/event/activity to what was originally advertised and have sold tickets, you members/ticket-holders are entitled to a refund.
Tip: to check which members/ticket-holders are eligible to receive a refund, have a look at the 'Who is eleigible for a refund' section.