English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Let's consider a situation in which you had a reservation of a tennis court. It was already paid for, but for some reason you could not come and play. So instead of giving you money back, the tennis club offers you to play on another date.

How would you call the act of playing on another date in this situation? Is there a single word in English to describe it?

share|improve this question
That would be a credit only refund. – Scot Parker Apr 30 '14 at 0:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you purchase an item from a store and they do not want to give you a refund but they allow exchanges, there are a couple of words for this including an "exchange" or giving you "store credit".

If you reserve a tennis court and they won't give you a refund but they'll allow you to change your reservation to a later date, I think this is simply "rescheduling" or "changing your reservation". It would appear they also have a policy of "no refunds".

share|improve this answer

I believe Americans would call that a rain check.

It derives from the habit of, if a baseball game is cancelled due to rain, everyone with a ticket gets a voucher for another game.

See also this question on ELU.

share|improve this answer
I usually hear "rain check" when somebody wants to decline an invitation to something. "I'll have to take a rain check on this one. I'm busy that day." – AdmiralAdama Apr 29 '14 at 18:36
"rain check" also serves a specific purpose in retail business. If a store has a sale for a particular item, but they are out of stock, they may offer you a "rain check" which means that when the item is back in stock, they will offer it to you at the sale price even if the sale has ended. – David Wilkins Apr 29 '14 at 18:45
I don't think it applies here – not exactly. The customer made the reservation and then canceled. Had the customer paid for a reservation but then couldn't play due to inclement weather, then the club could issue a "rain check." – J.R. Apr 29 '14 at 19:32
@J.R. Is correct. In the case of retail sales, "rain check" is almost always used to refer to cases where the postponement is out of control of the customer -- either a failure by the seller (running out of the item) or act of God (bad weather). – Barmar Apr 29 '14 at 20:44
I get the bias toward using "rain check" in situations where the customer isn't at fault, but it's still the first thing I thought of when I read this question. See, normally I wouldn't expect the company in the OP to just let you come another day (without any additional charge or penalties). Since they are, I can easily imagine the OP picking up the phone and saying "Hey, I can't make it to my game today. Can I take a rain check?" Perfectly idiomatic and acceptable, IMO. +1! – WendiKidd Apr 29 '14 at 23:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.