Schoolies last year. Fair Trade said there are ways Queensland students can get refunds if needed.
Schoolies last year. Fair Trade said there are ways Queensland students can get refunds if needed.

Schoolies ‘unlikely’ to get refunds

After a year of COVID chaos, there is more bad news for Queensland schoolies who hoped to claw back refunds on bonds for cancelled bookings at the Gold Coast.

The state's peak watchdog The Office of Fair Trade said Queensland Schoolies were unlikely to be automatically entitled to a refund, unlike their southern state counterparts.

Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said cancellations due to the coronavirus were grounds for refunds for school leavers from restricted interstate regions but not for those who live in the Sunshine State.

"Queensland school leavers are still allowed to travel to the Gold Coast and so are able to take up their bookings and have an end-of-year celebration," he said.

"But they will need to comply with the restrictions in place, including social distancing and limits on gatherings in holiday units.

"These consumers are unlikely to be automatically entitled to a refund. However they may still have options under their booking provider's terms and conditions."

The state government put the axe through the annual event for those from southern states last month when the borders were closed after an escalation of coronavirus cases in New South Wales and Victoria and concerns it would the spread here.

Schoolies Week 2020 - including all official events and concerts - was also formally cancelled by the Queensland Government last week, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Schoolies, whether from Queensland or interstate, who booked a package - such as travel, accommodation, tours, meals or entertainment - will be entitled to a refund if the package can no longer be supplied.

Mr Bauer said businesses could not change the terms of a contract to deny refunds and if a refunds was applicable under the terms and conditions at the time of booking, they would still apply.

He urged teens to carefully check the terms and conditions of any bookings and contact the business directly to request a remedy which could include a refund, credit note or voucher.

Credit notes or vouchers should have expiration dates which allow sufficient time for them to be used.

Complaints can be lodged with Fair Trade.