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This Letter to Customers Regarding Cancelled Event Due to COVID 19/Coronavirus can be used by a business that has had to cancel an event, tour or booking as a result of the coronavirus.
The letter allows the business to notify customers that the event is cancelled, and to convey the business's regret that this has happened. It enables the business to provide some explanation to customers, and to offer some kind of resolution (such as a refund, postponement, or credit voucher).
By being proactive with this matter, and communicating clearly with customers, businesses are able to stay on good terms with their customers. This can reduce the risk of reputation damage for the business, and it can increase the likelihood that customers will stay loyal to the business after the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
How to use this letter
It is important that before sending this letter, the business considers their obligations under their terms and conditions or the contract between them and their customers. In addition, they will need to consider their obligations under relevant Australian laws, such as the Australian Consumer Law. In some cases, the Australian Consumer Law requires businesses to provide full refunds, and there can be significant penalties for businesses that fail to meet these obligations. If in doubt, seek legal advice.
Use this letter to notify customers that an event has had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus. If possible, provide some further details when prompted, to help customers understand the nature of the situation.
If the sender of the letter wants to provide some kind of resolution (such as a full or partial refund, a credit voucher, or the option to participate in a later event) these details can be entered when prompted.
Once the letter has been completed, it can be printed and signed, and posted to customers, or it can be emailed to customers.
Before sending the letter, some businesses (especially smaller businesses that only have a handful of customers) like to phone the customers as a courtesy, to discuss the matter.
Australian law imposes various obligations on businesses when dealing with cancellations. Failure to comply with these obligations can lead to serious penalties.
In particular, businesses may need to consider the Australian Consumer Law, which provides various minimum consumer guarantees, and deals with customer rights in relation to refunds and cancellations. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission provides some further information about cancellations and consumer rights, including some particular issues that may arise in relation to coronavirus.
In most cases, if a trip or event is cancelled, then customers will be entitled to a refund or other remedy under the Australian Consumer Law. However, in some cases, if the cancellation is a result of government restrictions, then under the Australian Consumer Law, the customer's rights may be affected. In addition, in some states of Australia, state specific legislation may also affect the customer's rights in these circumstances. In particular, the following state laws may apply to some businesses:
In addition, the contract (or the terms and conditions) between the business and the customer will also need to be considered. This may impose further rights or obligations on the parties. Ordinary principles of contract law, as provided by the common law, would apply to the interpretation of the contract.
If in doubt, seek legal advice.
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