COVID-19 cancellations: weddings

Competition Markets Authority

September 7
09:57 2020


7 September 2020: The CMA has published advice on cancellations and refunds in light of the pandemics impact on weddings. It offers the CMAs view of how the law applies and is designed to help consumers understand their rights and businesses to treat their customers fairly.

The CMA is also publishing an open letter to providers, and contacting some directly, to remind them of their responsibilities under consumer protection law

Agreement from Bijou Weddings Group

7 September 2020: Bijou Weddings Group will now provide fairer refunds to couples whose weddings could not go ahead because of coronavirus. The agreement will be published in due course.

At the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, no weddings were able to take place at Bijous venues between 23 March and 4 July. Bijou offered to re-schedule these weddings at no cost, but couples who did not want to rearrange were only offered a very limited refund and would have been left significantly out of pocket by Bijous refund policy.

It is the Competition and Markets Authoritys (CMA) view that, in this situation, people should have been offered a fairer refund, with the wedding company retaining only an amount that contributes to the costs it had already incurred and work done before the wedding was prevented from taking place.

After engaging constructively with the CMA, Bijou has now agreed to change its policy to offer a fairer level of partial refund to consumers who did not want to reschedule their wedding. If the company had not done this, the CMA could have taken it to court.

This agreement means Bijou will:

  • offer affected customers fairer partial refunds that more accurately reflect the services received up until the date of cancellation
  • clearly communicate to every affected customer who has not re-scheduled their wedding the refund process that has been agreed

In the first instance Bijou will offer refunds to customers who did not have insurance. Bijou will not have to give refunds to people who have already received, or are going to receive, their money back through their insurance.

Investigation launch

30 April 2020:?The weddings and private events sector was named as one of several sectors being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)?following reports of businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The investigation was launched as a result of intelligence gathered by the CMAs COVID-19 Taskforce, set up to monitor market developments and identify the big problems facing consumers as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown. The CMA had received reports that businesses were refusing to refund customers for the costs of organising a wedding event which could not go ahead due to lockdown restrictions.

The CMA also issued a?statement on its views on consumer protection law in relation to cancellations and refunds?during the current crisis.

If people have been affected by unfair cancellation terms in the wake of COVID-19, they can report them using the CMAs online form.

Published 7 September 2020

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