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Are you unable to deliver goods or services but did your customer already pay (in part)? And do you want to offer your customer a credit note or voucher? Then you should take into account the right to reimbursement for consumers.
Requirements for credit note or voucher
On annulment your clients have a right to reimbursement. If your customers agree on a credit note or voucher you may decide on the terms and conditions for this reimbursement. These terms and conditions must be reasonable.
- The voucher or credit note must be a reimbursement in full. For instance you offer the same or equivalent product or service on a later date.
- The credit note or voucher must be valid for a reasonable period of time, for example 12 months.
- The remainder of the credit note or voucher must be paid out to your customer within a reasonable term. Your customer should not have to take any action in this regard.
- The credit note or voucher must also cover previous costs such as administration or reservation costs.
- Customers who have made a down payment do not have to pay the outstanding sum if you cannot fulfil the agreement. You offer your client a credit note or voucher for the deposit.
- Did your customers have a right to cash back but did they accept the credit note? They should still be able to get a cash refund if they ask for it. They must then hand in the credit note or voucher.
Instead of a credit note or voucher, you may offer a temporary solution (compensation). You offer an alternative for the original product or service, for instance an online fitness class instead of a class in the gym. If your customers accept this compensation they may no longer have the right to a refund. You must explain the terms and conditions of your temporary solution clearly to your customers before they agree. If you fail to do so and your customer accepts, he still has the right to a refund.
Credit notes and vouchers during the corona crisis
If you cannot meet your commitments due to the corona crisis, credit notes or vouchers may prevent bankruptcy. In some sectors companies have made agreements on vouchers, such as the travel industry (in Dutch) and event sector (in Dutch). Ask your sector organisation if arrangements are in place.
If your customer has booked a package trip and you as the supplier of the trip want to cancel, the customer should get their money back within 14 days. It is no longer allowed to offer vouchers or credit notes for package trips.
If you have offered customers vouchers for package trips, they have a right to receive their money back after at most 1 year. Or they have the right to book a new trip with the voucher or credit note.
Selling gift cards
Do you sell gift cards? Then your customer can exchange this gift card for a product or service, but it does not entitle him or her to a monetary compensation. You must state the terms and conditions on the gift card or in a leaflet or booklet that you provide with the card. You may also refer to a website where your terms and conditions are specified. You must put the expiry date on the card. It should be valid for at least 1 year, unless you can demonstrate a shorter period to be reasonable (for example drinks vouchers). If there is no issue date nor an expiry date stated on the gift card, it will be valid for an indefinite period of time. If there is an issue date but no expiry date on the card, the holder has at least 5 years to redeem the gift card.