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...To expect my money back in this situation?

(26 Posts)
UpsyDaisy123 Thu 31-Dec-15 11:30:00

I booked to attend a conference, paying a non-refundable deposit. A week later it was announced that the conference venue had changed. It will now be held somewhere which is not accessible by public transport and is a further 45 minutes drive away (when I do not have access to a car).

Presumably this does not make a difference to most delegates but it poses a huge headache for me and makes it no longer worth attending. If they had said it would be held at this new venue in the first place, I never would have signed-up.

I contacted the organizers to explain my situation and ask whether, under the circumstances, I could possibly have my deposit back. I was told definitely not and that I will just have to hire a car to get there (at my own expense, obviously). Does that sound reasonable to you?

evilcherub Thu 31-Dec-15 11:33:01

If you paid by credit card, perhaps you could phone your bank and ask about doing a chargeback? I think it is unfair not to give you a refund when they have changed the details.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Thu 31-Dec-15 11:40:12

I would expect it to have been granted given that they have changed the venue. Yes the terms stated non refundable, but then they changed those terms by changing the venue. This may be for reasons beyond their control, but it's certainly beyond your control and they should refund your deposit.

MooseTrap Thu 31-Dec-15 11:40:36

No that's not reasonable. I'd contact them again and insist on a refund. If you can't get them to agree then I'd write to them. Keep your letters and call short and to the point. They changed the venue and you can't get there.

Hope is not a self assertiveness course

MaidOfStars Thu 31-Dec-15 11:49:24

They are being unreasonable and I would pursue this vigourously.

Is it an independent event organiser?

Cloppysow Thu 31-Dec-15 11:54:01

Is there any small print saying that they reserve the right to change venue/time etc?

If not, they no longer have a contract.

A contract, at it's most basic, is an agreement between 2 parties on the same thing. You agreed to the original venue, not the changed venue.

clam Thu 31-Dec-15 12:05:30

If it's at all relevant, I spoke to American Airlines yesterday about changing a flight, and their policy is that as there has been a schedule change (on their part) to the original flight (of under half an hour, so no big deal), any alterations now requested by the passenger are free of charge. This doesn't mean a complete refund, but they waive the fees to switch.

Sixweekstowait Thu 31-Dec-15 12:08:43

Agree with all pp. As its a conference,is there some established organisation involved - have you just been dealing with the conference organisers or the organisation itself? Who runs the organisation - is there a CEO you can contact? Are they on Twitter ( I've just got £50 from SW trains after taking to Twitter when polite requests were ignored)

RealityCheque Thu 31-Dec-15 12:12:22

You are entitled to a refund.

hotcrossbun83 Thu 31-Dec-15 12:12:41

I'm a conference organizer and it's standard t&cs to have the right to change the venue. However it's really unusual to pick a venue inaccessible by public transport and I'm surprised they aren't putting on shuttle buses as it may be deterring other people from signing up.

Check who is organizing it - is there a Plc behind the brand? If so you should be able to get a refund or for them to fund a taxi. Try hitting them on social media too. If it's a small company then it may be harder.

Queenbean Thu 31-Dec-15 12:14:41

Agree with the others - you should definitely get a refund

What is the conference / where?

Sixweekstowait Thu 31-Dec-15 12:23:12

Hotcrossbun- am I right in thinking though that terms and conditions have to be 'reasonable' so even if change of venue were in the t&cs, it would be unreasonable to change the venue to one so inaccessible and not refund the deposit?

DoomGloomAndKaboom Thu 31-Dec-15 12:57:21

OP I think that's reasonable to ask.

As I see it, you signed up to X conference at Y location. They have changed the location, not the conference, therefore are refusing to offer a refund. Had they kept the location but changed the conference, I'm sure there would be uproar. You paid them money for X and Y, they aren't now honouring the contract.

I think you'll have to carefully check the contract/terms and conditions you signed up for - if it says 'we can change the location if we like, you'll have to suck it up' then unfortunately they've not broken the contract and you're unlikely to get a refund. If they specify the location, or even if they don't, you might have more of a case.

MooseTrap Thu 31-Dec-15 13:02:43

The terms of the contract have to be reasonable.

Viviennemary Thu 31-Dec-15 13:18:25

It doesn't sound reasonable. Read the small print. But even so they have moved the venue quite a distance away and not just down the road. Report them to Trading Standards. What is reasaonble? I don't think they are being reasonable. Also try credit card company. Don't give up.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 31-Dec-15 13:54:52

I also agree that you should be entitled to a refund as the details have changed from those you purchased/ordered and they are no longer able to actually give you what you purchased (a conference in venue A).

I have had success in the past going down the Twitter route, so would recommend trying that.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 31-Dec-15 14:16:35

What is the conference?

NerrSnerr Thu 31-Dec-15 14:30:27

What kind of conference is it? Where is the new venue?

UpsyDaisy123 Thu 31-Dec-15 16:54:48

Thanks all. I have now spoken to my bank who say this should be a fairly straightforward chargeback case. They have sent me the relevant forms to put it in motion ASAP and I don't think it will be difficult to provide sufficient evidence.

I have looked through the glossy brochure for the conference and there is a page of 'Policies' including things like deadlines for meal preference changes, attendance being consent for your photo to be used in their publicity materials, etc. There is definitely no mention at all of a right to change the venue.

For those who have asked for more info, I'm afraid I can't risk outing myself as this is linked to my work. Hopefully I've given enough info for you to decide whether or not this is reasonable.

DoomGloomAndKaboom Thu 31-Dec-15 18:08:42

Sounds like you might have a case if there's no mention of venue-changing at their discretion.

Good luck!

BlueJug Thu 31-Dec-15 18:19:04

Ha Ha, my new 2016 business will be to "organize" glamourous conferences in London near a public transport hub, put a clause in the small print about reserving the right to change the venue, collect non refundable deposits then change the venue to the most inaccessible remote location I can think of!

Dipankrispaneven Thu 31-Dec-15 18:21:24

You do need to check the terms and conditions rather than the "Policies".

If this is linked to your work, can your employers pay for transport - or, if you're self-employed, can you claim the costs against tax?

AndNowItsSeven Thu 31-Dec-15 18:32:44

Yanbu op

UpsyDaisy123 Thu 31-Dec-15 18:48:19

I cannot find any Terms and Conditions. Where should they be?

I am self-employed and yes I can indeed claim transport costs against tax. However this is not really much of a saving. Especially as the conference takes place over four days, so I would need to make four round-trips in total.

Yes I think I might join you BlueJug!

Dipankrispaneven Thu 31-Dec-15 18:57:56

When you booked, you would normally have been asked to tick a box saying you had accepted the terms and conditions. If you did it online, there would be a link to the T&Cs. Maybe try the process again (obviously not completing it) and see if it takes you to that link?

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