Company questions ARLA conference refund decision

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.”

ARLA responded:

“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.

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5 Comments

  1. smile please

    Yet again Propertymark showing how irrelevant and out of date they are.

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  2. DarrelKwong43

    Good old ARLA, helping their clients in a time of need

    zero chance of it being held anywhere in September

    unless they find a vaccine, you wont be having 2000 people mingling anytime soon

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  3. new life

    But this is Arla all over looking after no1, i have now had two emails chasing me for my membership fee which renews in May , i have returned the email stating that im not sure my company will still be trading  at that time and at the moment with other commitments to be met Mortgage, bills etc the £200 renewal isnt high on my list of priorities Arla should be more sympathetic of members plight at this time but the above proves otherwise.

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  4. Mothers Ruin

    I also queried this along with the reasons for the significant increase in subscription. You have 3 months grace until 1st July to pay for continued membership so you can review the situation then and hang on to your money for now.

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  5. GA2000

    I think they should have cancelled this. Feels like something going on with the venue T&Cs which is just tricking down to us to stop PropertyMark from being liable for the costs. The venue won’t be free and 2000 people won’t be want to get together any time this year if they can help it. This is terribly unsympathetic and if they are worried about their own liability then they should speak to the venue and say they can’t get their customers to agree to a postponement because of all the uncertainty and that’s not an excuse but a well understood factor.

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