We’re living in a pretty turbulent time right now, and while there’s a lot of bad stuff going on, one small saviour is that humanity seems to finally be taking precedence over profit and procedure. As a result, tight refund policies and bureaucratic fee structures are, for the first time ever, somewhat flexible.

Here are 5 refunds you might be entitled to right now, and how to go about claiming them. Oh, and please remember to be polite, friendly and respectful to customer service teams! They’re really going through it.

1. Credit card annual fees

I have the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures credit card, and asking them to refund my annual fee has been on my to-do list for weeks. Their credit card line has been busy, but a follower DMd me and told me she’d been able to get her refund sorted, and that you could now request it through their SecureMail system.

Annual fees on credit cards are more common on cards with perks – many of which revolve around travel. Whether it’s air miles, airport lounge passes or complimentary flights, you’re hardly in a position to use them right now.

This is all pretty good grounds on which to ask for your annual fee to be reversed or discounted. Even if this isn’t the case for you, if you pay an annual fee, it’s worth an ask. The worst they can say is no, and in many cases, bank staff are empowered to exercise goodwill. If your household income has been compromised, mention that, too.

How to ask: via phone, live chat or online banking messaging system

What to say: I’m calling/writing to enquire as to whether it’s possible to action a reversal of my annual fee for [credit card name] paid in [month and year]. In these difficult economic times, I am working through my finances in an attempt to balance losses in other areas, and since I’m not in a position to utilise my [insert perks here] for quite some time, I’d be so grateful if you’d consider a fee refund for the 2020 payment.

2. Unauthorised overdraft fee/failed payment fee/misc bank fees

In a similar vein to the annual credit card fees, any other bank fees you incur during this time are ripe for reversal requests. With everything going on, it’s understandable that you might miss a payment or end up paying late. If you incur a fee, call your bank and be open and honest about your situation, and ask that they consider reversing the payment on the grounds of goodwill.

How to ask: phone

What to say: While working through my accounts I’ve just spotted a [insert fee details] charge on my account. Unfortunately with everything going on with the pandemic I completely lost track of the days and missed the payment due date. As a result I’ve been charged [fee payment]. On the grounds of goodwill, I’d really appreciate it if you could reverse these fees on this occasion. I can assure you I’m organising my scheduled debts and have no intention of making another late payment.

3. Insurance

I’m yet to have a success story to share on this one, but I’m working on getting a refund for a portion of my public liability insurance for my pet sitting business. I’m not certain it’ll be approved, but I renewed my policy a couple of weeks before lockdown, so I’m hoping they’ll either be able to refund me the months I didn’t use, or extend my policy term for the extra months. 

How to ask: phone, live chat or email

What to say: I’m writing/calling in reference to my [insert policy name/number] insurance policy with you. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been completely unable to carry out the activities associated with my policy. I’m working through my finances to minimise costs where possible and keep things viable, and as such I’m hoping you may be able to refund me for the unused months on my policy. Government restrictions have prevented me from undertaking these activities for [insert number of weeks]. Could you please advise whether you’re able to refund this unused portion of cover on the grounds of goodwill? I’ve been really happy with the support I’ve received from you during my time as a customer, and would be so grateful if you’d consider accommodating my request for support.

4. Software subscriptions

If you’ve been paying for software, perhaps for work or business, that you’ve been unable to use, contact the company and request that they reverse the payments for the unused portion – or apply credits to your account. It might be LinkedIn Premium, Adobe Creative Cloud, or even access to an educational resource. If you’ve been paying and not using, it’s worth asking for your coin back.

How to ask: email, live chat or contact form

What to say: I’m writing in reference to my subscription to [insert service here]. In light of everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve unfortunately been unable to utilise the services I’ve been paying for. [insert additional context if applicable, i.e. because I’ve lost my job/because I’m working remotely, etc]. Are you able to advise if you are can refund the subscription fee for the unused portion of my access plan on the grounds of goodwill? I’m a long time user of [service name] and I’d really appreciate your support during this time. 

5. Flights

In what would ordinarily be the hardest thing on earth to get any kind of flexibility on, for the first time ever airlines and travel agents have been forced to relax their policies. If you’ve paid for flights, you *should* have been contacted by your airline or travel agent, so if you haven’t heard from them – or you have and you haven’t actioned their requests – check your inbox right now.

We had flights booked to the UK through WebJet, and were sent a form to apply for the credit or refund. We opted for credit, as we’ll fly again at some point in the future, and it helps to keep funds in the travel industry.

I haven’t included instructions on what to say, here, because since travel is fully banned, your provider will likely be pretty accommodating. 

Want more evergreen (read: non-COVID!) templates to get you a refund on almost anything? My ‘Get Me A Refund’ Guide is down to $3.50 and available here.


5 Refunds You're Probably Entitled to Right Now and How To Get Them