The ARLA/propertymark conference was due to take place on March 24th but with the Covid-19 pandemic gathering pace a decision was made to postpone the date to September 2nd. Since then the venue, Excel, has been turned into the massive Nightingale Hospital.
A letting agency in Fleet, Hampshire, had purchased two tickets for the event – a total of £510 – and applied to ARLA for a refund saying:
“Our future business position is unknown, income expected to be severely affected by the current situation, and we feel that ARLA Propertymark should be understanding of this and view their members financial predicament more sympathetically.
“Furthermore, given that the Excel venue is unlikely to be available for the scheduled date we feel there is every likelihood that the conference is postponed again.”
“I have spoken with David Cox about your query as I do not have the authority to request any refunds due to our policy for this event. David has confirmed we will be able to refund the cost of one of your tickets, however we cannot refund both.
Please let me know if you would like me to go ahead and get this refund processed.”
The agency, not surprisingly, queried why only one ticket would be refunded and received the following reply:
“As our policy states no refunds due to the event not being cancelled, but postponed. The reason for the 1 ticket being refunded is as a gesture of goodwill from ARLA Propertymark.”
EYE asked ARLA Chief Executive David Cox about the decision and his statement was:
“As has become the industry norm for events that have been postponed due to Coronavirus, we have passported all existing delegates onto the new Conference date and are only offering refunds where delegates can demonstrate they have a pre-booked holiday.
“As it stands, the Government is saying that we will likely be through this crisis in around 12 weeks which is well before the new Conference date and therefore I have to stand by the refund policy.
“However, we will keep the policy under constant review in line with developments in the pandemic.”
We asked for a copy of the refund policy but to date this has not been forthcoming.