School leavers have been left hundreds of dollars out of pocket after their end of year celebrations were called off.
All official events connected to Schoolies 2020 have been cancelled on the Gold Coast due to the risk of COVID-19.
Despite this, many year 12 students have been told they are not eligible for refunds for packages booked on schoolies.com.
Instead, they have been offered a credit voucher for the $150 deposit, which will be valid for the next three years.
School leavers have been left hundreds of dollars out of pocket after the official cancellation of an Australian rite of passage (Pictured: Holidaymaker prepare to celebrate Schoolies 2019 on the Gold Coast)
The money can be used to pay for entry to another event in December next year called ‘Green Light Australia’.
Other alternatives including selling their ticket to someone else for a future Schoolies event, attending a Schoolies event at a later date or exchanging the ticket for a $200 travel voucher with Travel Online.
But hundreds of students are fighting against the decision.
A petition has been created by Sunshine Coast 17-year old student Joel Burgess calling on the company to return their money.
His call to action has attracted more than 1,300 signatures since being set up in the past 24 hours.
Mr Burgess is upset the company is refusing to issue a refund.
‘I created a petition after seeing the outcry of many year 12 students wanting their deposit refunded,’ he told A Current Affair.
‘I don’t think they’re doing the right thing. I feel like there has been a significant lack of communication.’
Interstate revellers who planned to travel to the sunshine state for their post school celebration will be able to use COVID-19 travel restrictions as the basis for a refund
A petition has been created online by Sunshine Coast 17-year old student Joel Burgess (pictured) calling on the company to return their money
Others are just disappointed they won’t be able to celebrate their final hurrah after finishing high school.
Year 12 students Nathan Mousalino, Harry Contazza and Sam Ryan were planning to travel to the Gold Coast from Griffith in New South Wales.
‘It’s the Vegas of Australia, the Gold Coast is synonymous for producing fun times especially for year 12s at the end of the year,’ Mr Contazza said.
But the boys are now resigned to the fact they won’t be going.
‘It’s something at the end of the year we reward ourselves with and it’s unfortunate it can’t happen, to be honest with you,’ Mr Mousalino said.
Meanwhile Sunshine Coast school leaver Karter McEwan was planning to attend celebrations at Surfers Paradise this year.
He no longer has any desire to celebrate the rite of passage after being told all organised events have been cancelled.
His father Michael McEwan said it’s frustrating to see a company let the teenagers down after they worked so hard.
Year 12 students Nathan Mousalino, Harry Contazza and Sam Ryan were planning to travel to the Gold Coast from Griffith in New South Wales
Sunshine Coast school leaver Karter McEwan (pictured left) was planning to attend celebrations at Surfers Paradise this year. His father Michael McEwan (pictured right) said it’s frustrating to see a company let the teenagers down after they worked so hard
‘Give the kids their cash back, they paid cash, they don’t want travel vouchers, they don’t want anything else,’ he said.
‘They want their cash, they paid hard cash. They work hard, give it to them.’
While the events have been cancelled the failure to return student’s money has sparked concerns hordes of teenagers may still turn up on the Gold Coast.
‘My biggest fear is that we are still going to have thousands of Schoolies and there’s not going to be any governmental support in police numbers or support for the groups that help keep Schoolies safe,’ Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk cancelled this year’s event on Friday to stop the spread of coronavirus leaving thousands disappointed.
Interstate revellers who planned to travel to the sunshine state for their post school celebration will be able to use COVID-19 travel restrictions as the basis for a refund.
However youngsters from Queensland looking to celebrate in their home state will need to check the terms and conditions of their bookings for a refund.
A group of girls pose on Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise before a Schoolies event in 2019
Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer told Quest Newspapers Queenslanders may not be able to use coronavirus as an excuse.
‘Queensland school leavers are still allowed to travel to the Gold Coast and so are able to take up their bookings and have an end-of-year celebration,’ he said.
‘But they will need to comply with the restrictions in place, including social distancing and limits on gatherings in holiday units.
‘These consumers are unlikely to be automatically entitled to a refund. However they may still have options under their booking provider’s terms and conditions.’
‘If school leavers need to travel to Queensland from restricted interstate regions like Melbourne and they made their booking pre-COVID-19, then they may be entitled to a refund as these bookings cannot go ahead due to government restrictions imposed after the arrangements were made,’ Mr Bauer said.
‘It will depend on the terms and conditions of the booking when it was made.