what does it mean for travel, shopping and refunds?

Oxford Street -  Paul Grover/ Paul Grover
Oxford Street – Paul Grover/ Paul Grover

Tier 4 restrictions introduced just days before Christmas are causing chaos for consumers. From closed shops to fresh national and international travel bans, the new rules have a big effect on you and your money. We answer the most important questions.

Can I go to shops to return unwanted items?

Non-essential retail can open to accept returns in store but you cannot do any new shopping. Not all shops are expected to offer this service, however. 

Clothing store Next, said shops in England that fall within Tier 4 restrictions would only be open for online orders and online returns but customers would not be able to shop inside stores.

Argos said in Tier 4, items could only be returned to Argos stores within Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

Does click and collect still work?

While non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, are forced to close, they can continue with click and collect, where goods are pre-ordered and collected in store. 

I’ve booked a train out of Tier 4, do I get a refund?

In most cases, yes. National Rail Enquiries said anytime or off-peak tickets are entitled to a refund for a £10 admin fee. Advanced tickets can be changed free of charge for another train or you are entitled to a credit note. 

Trainline said customers could either get a free change of journey with up to six months to re-book , or a refund, depending on their ticket type.

What about the flights?

If those in Tier 4 cannot take booked flights or holiday then they should be due a refund. Tui, the travel operator, is offering refunds or an alternative holiday if you were due to travel in the next two weeks.

EasyJet is offering people in Tier 4 a full refund if they can’t travel. It said: “Impacted customers in Tier 4 areas have the option of transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or receiving a refund.”

This policy applies to any flights up until 30 December.

British Airways said customers who are unable to travel could request a voucher. If a flight is cancelled it said they would be entitled to a full refund.

If I order online, is it too late for presents to arrive before Christmas day?

It depends on which shop you use. Amazon Prime members can still order some items to arrive before Christmas day at no extra cost. Non-Prime members can pay extra for this next-day delivery service.

The last day for Royal Mail deliveries to make it by Christmas day is December 21 for 1st Class, or December 22 for its Royal Mail Tracked 24 service. Orders with its Special Delivery Guaranteed service can be made on December 23 and still arrive by Christmas day. However, the service has warned some deliveries are taking longer than normal due to massive demand.

Tesco said its last delivery day before Christmas was on December 23 across the country and December 24 in London. Delivery slots depend on your location and local demand. It said you can cancel up to one day before delivery.

Can I go from Tier 4 to other tiers to do Christmas shopping?

You should not travel out of a Tier 4 area to another part of the country other than for reasons such as work, education or hospital. This means no Christmas shopping in areas where shops are open. 

Do you have any questions on Tier 4 restrictions or the new coronavirus strain? Email [email protected] and your questions will be answered by our experts.

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