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The coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of plans to change. Whether you’ve booked a train ticket or a hotel room, your booking is likely to have been affected. To help you get your money back we want to explain how chargeback services work at Starling and where relevant, what the refund process is.

Chargebacks can be used to dispute a card transaction and secure a refund for the purchase. A chargeback voids a card transaction, withdrawing the money which was previously paid to the merchant and refunding your bank account.

Your first move should always be to contact the merchant. In many cases, companies are offering refunds or flexible policies to help you keep your losses to a minimum during this difficult time. Mastercard (our card provider) strongly supports these efforts to encourage amicable resolution between customer and merchant.

Scenario 1 - If you’ve purchased tickets to a concert or sports event, which has now been changed or postponed due to coronavirus, and you can’t attend or do not want to attend the new date, can Starling help?

If the event you bought tickets for is cancelled or postponed, you’re not obliged to accept tickets for another date. The first thing to do is right away, let the ticket sales company know that you can’t go and that you would like a refund.

If you are not successful in contacting them due to insolvency or do not receive a refund you can then contact us to initiate a dispute on your behalf. However, please check the terms and conditions with the merchant before you do so, as these may tell you what to do if the event does get postponed.

Scenario 2 - If you’ve booked a stay at a hotel, which has subsequently closed due to coronavirus and the company has said that they will not be refunding you, can Starling help?

Yes, if you’ve paid for a hotel booking (even if it is non-refundable) and you are now unable to stay at the property due to coronavirus then we can help. Your first step, however, should always be contacting the company you booked with as this is often the easiest and quickest route to get a refund. If you are unable to get through to their contact centre you can also try sending an email. If you are unsuccessful in your attempts to resolve with the merchant directly, please contact us and share all documentation you have showing your attempts to contact them.

Before you contact us, please just check that the travel insurance you might have does not cover this merchant, as the insurance may well be the easiest way to claim a refund. Package holidays do come with financial protection, so you can claim a refund if this is the case.

Scenario 3 - If you have booked a flight and the airline cancels your flight due to the travel restrictions, can Starling help?

The first step is to contact the company you booked the flight with. If the merchant cannot help then you can raise a dispute with us assuming that the journey you paid for is cancelled due to government restrictions or insolvency or other exceptional circumstances.

If you have booked a package holiday your booking will likely be covered by Package Travel Regulations, which provides financial protection for most air package holidays sold by UK travel companies. If this is the case, please contact them directly to obtain a refund. If your flight is covered by the above bonding authority, we would be unable to raise a dispute for you.

Scenario 4 - If you’ve purchased goods online, but your delivery has been cancelled due to coronavirus, can Starling help?

If goods you’ve purchased are not delivered due to coronavirus then you have the right to request a refund. The first option should be to contact the merchant directly and if this does not work then please contact us.

Do be mindful that retailers might be a little slower at delivering packages and parcels than usual due to the current emergency, so try to be patient if you are waiting for a delivery or a refund.

Scenario 5 - If a merchant has fallen into administration due to coronavirus, and you have a recurring card payment set up with them, can Starling help?

If you have a recurring card payment set up with a merchant that has gone into administration, then you can contact Starling and we can request a stop on any further card payments from debiting your account. However, the closure of the company does not mean the outstanding payments will be written off. Administrators may take over the running of the company, meaning the agreements you signed for each product received are still valid.

Please note, your credit score may be impacted if you do not keep up payments.

Scenario 6 - If you’ve declined the use of an available service due to concerns related to coronavirus. For example, you choose not to fly following precautionary advice, can Starling help?

If you chose not to use a service that you have paid for, one which was still made available to you by a merchant, then unfortunately, we can’t help you because the merchant will have fulfilled their obligations linked to the transaction.

We may, however, be able to dispute the transaction if a refund is due as per the terms and conditions which were set when you made the purchase and the refund has not been processed. For example, if you cancel a refundable reservation by following the merchant’s cancellation policy. However, we strongly encourage our customers to speak to the merchant first before contacting us.

Scenario 7 - If you’ve incurred out of pocket expenses after a merchant has cancelled services due to coronavirus, can Starling dispute this?

No. Unfortunately, out of pocket expenses or other financial damages resulting from a cancelled service cannot be included in your dispute. Only the transaction amount can be disputed, if there are valid grounds to do so. In circumstances like this, you may want to contact your travel insurance to see if they can help refund these costs.

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