It’s nicknamed the biggest party of the year, a chance for young people leaving school to finally let go after 13 long years of study.
The Queensland government last year canceled all official Schoolies events due to COVID-19.
Once again, interstate teens who have booked Schoolies trips to Queensland are also losing money, with the leading booking site Schoolies.com offering credit vouchers instead of refunds for down payments made on trips. canceled due to the pandemic.
In New South Wales, lockdowns have pushed back HSC exams – which will now run until December 3. The delay caused an overlap with the Schoolies events, which will take place from November 20 to December 11.
While many NSW students will finish their exams earlier and could still attend, Queensland’s strict border position makes it unlikely that the state will reopen in time.
Sydney’s father Ian said his 17-year-old daughter booked a trip with Schoolies.com in March this year.
But, given the improbability of a border reopening, she and her five friends opted to cancel the trip to the Gold Coast last week before the deadline for paying their accommodation costs.
Ian said his daughter and friends each paid a “non-refundable” deposit of $ 150 for their trip.
While her daughter requested a refund for her deposit, she received a $ 150 credit voucher valid for th
three years instead by Schoolies.com.
Ian said he was disappointed that Schoolies.com did not offer deposit refunds for students who had already gone the hard way after a final year in high school disrupted by months of home schooling.
“This company is acting unfairly towards young people, it is unacceptable,” he said.
“What good is a credit voucher – they won’t go to schools in 2022, a year after leaving school.”
Recent posts in Schoolies groups on Facebook show that many Grade 12 students are trying to sell their Schoolies.com credit vouchers at discounted prices.
Contacted by nine.com.au, a spokesperson for Schoolies.com said its COVID-19 cancellation terms were an improvement over its standard terms.
Under Schoolies.com’s terms, those traveling from state to state who are currently stranded will receive a refund on all money paid, minus their deposit, if they cancel before their final payment.
If they canceled by October 2, their non-refundable deposit could be converted to a credit voucher, depending on the terms.
A spokesperson for Schoolies.com told the ABC earlier this week that it was “very doubtful” that interstate students would be able to attend the Queensland events, but said they hoped graduates from the intrastate school could join in the fun.
Youth Minister Meaghan Scanlon said planning for the 2021 Safer Schoolies Gold Coast Response model is continuing and will be in line with current health advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer said there are a number of instances where young people who drop out of school can expect a refund.
“If students who drop out of school need to travel to Queensland from restricted interstate areas like Melbourne and they made their reservation before COVID-19, then they may be eligible for a refund as those reservations cannot be made. due to government restrictions imposed after arrangements have been made. “said Mr. Bauer.
“It will depend on the terms and conditions of the reservation at the time it was made.”
Tips to Avoid Losing Money on Reservations
The Office of Fair Trading not only encourages young people who drop out of school, but also anyone planning to book travel arrangements and accommodation during the pandemic to:
- Always read the fine print, including terms and conditions, cancellation and refund policies.
- To do their homework. Compare cancellation policies, especially if you are using a third-party booking agency. Check the accommodation provider’s website – in some cases you will get a better deal, in terms of room cost and cancellation fees, if you book direct.
- Please be aware that the terms and conditions cannot be changed after paying a deposit for your reservation.
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at [email protected]