Can I expect a choice of postponement or refund for a restaurant booking made with a deposit during the coronavirus outbreak?

2nd Apr 2020

I have a restaurant booking for May. I have paid a deposit of £100 (half gift voucher, half cash). Because of coronavirus, I have requested a refund of the £50 on the basis that it cannot be reliably predicted if and when the restaurant can honour the booking. The restaurant has refused. They will benefit from the voucher whatever happens but I stand to lose £50. I believe they are breaking their contract to the customer because they are unable to provide services on the originally agreed date and time.

CATEGORY: Consumer

LOCATION: WEST YORKSHIRE

1 answer
  • Summerfield Browne Limited

    Currently, there is no certainty whether the lockdown will be ‘lifted’ come May time. If we are still in the same position then as we are now, and the restaurant is not able to fulfil their obligations under the contract, then the contract may become ‘frustrated’.

    To determine whether you have automatic rights to a full refund depends on the terms and conditions (i.e. the terms in the ‘Contract’).

    A common clause in contracts which deal with unforeseen circumstances or ‘Acts of God’ are commonly known as ‘Force Majeure’. However, this is not a term applied in English Law and therefore one must typically look at the terms set out in the contract.

    In any event, the restaurant should look to either reschedule the date of the booking or give a full refund. In the absence of this, it is therefore important for the contract to be reviewed in full to consider whether the restaurant can be held liable for a breach given the current circumstances.

    Should you require further information then please do contact Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 0800 567 7595 or email on enquiries@summerfieldbrowne.com.

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    Summerfield Browne Limited

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