Lecture 4: How to Claim Refunds in Canada for Summer Camps/Airline Tickets Due to COVID-19?

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This is the fourth of five lectures on the issue of claiming refunds in Canada for Summer Camps and Airline Tickets. These lectures specifically deal with scenarios where summer camps have been cancelled by the Camp providers or the flight have been cancelled by the airline itself. (These lectures do not deal with scenario where a traveller has cancelled his/her flight or where the parent has cancelled the camp attendance of his/her child.)

Lecture 4 explains the process of claiming Chargeback from Credit Companies on grounds that the merchandise was not delivered or services not rendered. The process applies to all kinds of Chargebacks such as refunds for summer camps that are cancelled or airline tickets for flights cancelled.

This lecture is taught by Amer Mushtaq, LL.B., M. Engineering , B.Sc. (Hons.), who is the Principal and Founder of Formative LLP.   Through his YouTube channel, YouCounsel, Amer shares practical advice from his years of legal experience to help anyone access justice and achieve their goals.  Subscribe today to learn more.


Show Notes:


Lecture Slides:

Welcome to YouCounsel.

This is our 4th lecture on claiming refunds in Canada, for your summer camp payments and airline tickets that have been cancelled.

We begin with our usual disclaimer that this lecture is not legal advice.  If you have any specific questions, you should contact a lawyer or a paralegal or the Law Society of Ontario.  If you are in another province or territory contact your Law Society for a referral to a lawyer or a paralegal.

In this lecture series we have already provided three lectures.

Lecture 1, talked about the underlying principles which would apply to most breeches, especially with respect to Covid-19.

Lecture 2, talked about some of the defenses that could be raised for that breach of contract to avoid liability.

Lecture 3, we applied the legal principles to summer camps and we took the example of stem camps, because we had more information and showed how these legal principles will apply and enable you to seek refund for your monies, that you have paid to your summer camps.

Now once it is confirmed by you that you are entitled to refund, then how do you go about reversing that credit card payment. This applies only to credit card payments. If you had made payment by credit card, how do you go about reversing that payment which is called charge back, by contacting the credit card company? This lecture will explain that process. These steps are simple.  Please listen to it carefully and follow those steps.  Finally, if all of these efforts fail, then you may be able to go to court and seek your claim under a court process.

With respect to the charge-back, there are two simple steps.  One is that you will contact the merchant with respect to the refund and second is that you will contact the credit card company for charge-back. When you contact the merchant, the first thing you need is the confirmation that the services that you had paid for are not being provided or have been cancelled. In case of summer camps, you need some sort of confirmation that the camps will not be opened and you will not or your child will not receive camp services. If you are claiming charge-back for a specific product, then you have to some proof that the product was not delivered to you.

You require that confirmation.  You can obtain that confirmation by a variety of means. You can contact, if you do not have that confirmation, you can contact the merchant, contact your camp and have that confirmation by email or text message or any other documentary evidence, that you could gather and obtain that confirmation. Once you have that confirmation, then you are obligated to attempt to resolve your dispute directly with the merchant. That is one of the conditions that credit card companies require—for you to at least attempt to resolve this matter. 

You contact the merchant/contact the camp provider and ask for the refund. You state that you are entitled to refund because they are no longer providing the service and you require your full refund based on the terms of your contract.  If the merchant says no, merchant is not going to provide you the refund, then you make sure that you have that evidence handy, because you will need it for the credit card company. But trying to resolve the dispute with the merchant is essential. You need to have made good-faith effort to do so.

Some of the tips to keep in mind when you are corresponding with the merchant: The first thing is document, document, document. You need to make sure that you keep all kinds of documentary records, because you may need them as evidence. In fact you will need them as evidence for the credit card company, when you’re asking for charge-back. If there are any emails, text messages, online postings, facebook postings, twitter postings, online interviews, whatever you can gather that can confirm that the service has been cancelled or the product is not delivered and that can confirm that the company, the summer camp has refused to refund the monies—all of that evidence you will need, so make sure you keep all documentary evidence. If you are having a phone conversation, with the merchant make sure to record phone conversations and keep extensive notes if you can. At all times, please remain polite and professional and keep your records.

Let’s go to step 2. Now you have tried to resolve this dispute with the merchant directly and the merchant is still not willing to give you the refunds. Then you now have to contact the credit card company. You will be contacting the credit card company’s dispute resolution department. You can start your call by calling the number on the back of your credit card.  That is a general number that will take you to their general customer service. What you want to do is you want to get transferred to the dispute resolution department, because remember that the general customer service line, the agent on the other side may not be capable of dealing with the dispute issue that you are bringing forth, especially the charge-back. You would like to be transferred to the dispute resolution department or at least confirm from that person that, that person is a qualified specialized person dealing with the dispute resolution process.

Because I contacted RBC Visa, I have their direct number for the dispute resolution department which is 1-877-717-2377. The advantage is if you call this number: A) the waiting time period, will be much less than the general line, you will be able to get to an agent quickly; and, B) secondly you will be talking to an agent who is qualified and who has expertise in dealing with these disputes. You will have less issues hopefully with that person and if you are lucky enough, you may be able to get Anna, in RBC visa’s dispute resolution department. She is extremely qualified and has helped a number of people that I am familiar with.  She has been very professional. If you’re lucky, you may just get Anna.

If there are other people who have dealt with different financial institutions and their credit card departments and they are aware of their phone numbers, direct phone lines, I would appreciate it if you could share those in comments and we will share those numbers with our viewers.

Once you are online with the dispute resolution person, then you have to provide the detail of the dispute. You have to; number one, explain the reason for charge-back.  In this case it is because the services have not been rendered by the merchant or the product has not been delivered.  That’s the reason you have to provide and the date of the transaction. Make sure you have your statement for the credit card handy. You need to provide the amount of the transaction. You have to provide all these details. Once the agent is satisfied, then the agent will open a ticket for you for a dispute—an application for dispute. At the end of the call or shortly thereafter you may receive a temporary credit. But remember that that credit is a temporary credit, so that’s stage 1 of the process with the credit card company.

Then you have got to move it to stage 2. Once you have filed the dispute and you need to make sure that the dispute is opened by the credit card company then after that, later on you will have to send the supporting evidence by email or fax. That is all the evidence that you’ve gathered—your invoices, your contract, your communication with the merchant—you need to send all that information to the credit card company.  Once you send that information, the credit card company will then send that dispute to the merchant directly or to its financial institution. Most likely to its financial institution for a response.  They usually have about 45 days to respond and once they have responded, then the credit card company will decide whether your claim is valid.

If your claim is approved, you will keep the refund, otherwise the temporary credit will be reversed—if you have received any temporary credit. Make sure that you understand that the process is not completed until the credit card company has completed its investigation and issued a final ruling whether your claim is valid or not.

Some tips for corresponding with the credit card companies.  You make sure that you initiate the dispute as soon as possible. Normally for products that you have not received, or there are disputes about the actual products or merchandise – the timeline is 30 days from the time you receive your statement, where you notice that the charge is incorrect. But in the cases of services not rendered, obviously, the timeline may be slightly different. Make sure that you initiate the dispute as soon as possible, so that you are not offside, just because of the delay in raising the dispute. Make sure you take extensive notes in that call. If you can record the phone call please do so and you have got to make sure that the dispute is open.

Do not take no for an answer. We have heard a number of stories where the agents who were not qualified to deal with this issue or were reluctant in opening a dispute, cause all kinds of hindrances in initiating the dispute. As long as you are prepared, you will be able to get to the opening of a dispute ticket.  In that regard make sure you have all the documentary evidence, handy when you’re making that call.  You have the invoice for the payment, you have the contract terms and conditions handy, so you can read off the relevant sections if you need to, you have the correspondence with the merchant handy so you can read off the email to the agent and make him or her understand that what has been discussed.  Also make sure that you have the applicable law handy, the Frustrated Contracts Act. You should have it open, you should have section 3 open. If you need to quote that. I’m hoping that you won’t need that, but there are enough bad stories with respect to agents resisting to open dispute tickets, that if you are better prepared then you will be able to have that call done smoothly.

As a recap: you’re entitled to charge-back.   It is your best remedy for seeking refund because the credit card company will do the investigation and if they find that your claim is valid, you simply get your money back.  What it does is, it avoids you going to court and bringing a court action and awards this unnecessary litigation. As long as your claim is for the refund not the claim for damages for money – more than the money that you had paid, and you have made payment by credit card, then this, in my view, is the best approach and hopefully you can benefit from this approach and get your monies refunded.

Thank you for watching.

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