To stop or slow the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses and organizations have shut down or curtailed services. But what happens if you’ve already paid for those services and they’re no longer available? Some businesses are giving refunds, but others are offering credits that may turn out to be useless or simply shrugging.
A class action may be necessary to get some of these parties to refund your money.
What’s the Problem?
A number of class actions have already been filed against airlines. Airlines have been severely underbooked, so they have canceled a substantial percentage of their flights. However, many are not giving the affected passengers refunds. They have been offering vouchers or credits instead, but these expire, and it’s not clear how long we’re going to be affected by waves of this pandemic.
While the Department of Transportation has issued an Enforcement Notice, reminding airlines of their obligation to refund tickets for flights they cancel, many airlines are still not complying.
Cruises are particularly high-risk, and they’ve been canceled as well. But some companies want to hold on to the money they’d expected to earn and, like the airlines, give vouchers or credits for future cruises in place of refunds.
Gyms have closed down, because a group of people breathing hard in an enclosed space now presents risks. Some customers have paid for yearlong memberships, however, and they’re no longer getting the benefit of the bargain.
Concerts and sports events have been forbidden by order prohibiting assemblies of large groups of people. Some of these will be difficult or impossible to reschedule as time goes on, and later, substitute events may not be as attractive to ticketholders.
Why isn’t a credit or voucher good enough?
The problem of Covid-19 makes these cancellations unlike those in ordinary times, when a concert could be easily rescheduled or a vacationer could take a different flight. Travel and activities are restricted, and even when they can be rescheduled, they may be dangerous for people who are at high risk of death from Covid-19.
Also, people have lost jobs, hours of work, or income, and they may be worried about paying their basic expenses at the moment.
It’s become difficult to plan ahead, since no one can say for sure what the course of the pandemic will be or what restrictions will exist a few months from now. Credits that expire may become worthless before they can be used.
We’re investigating to see if a class action is necessary.
What’s Your Experience?
Have you lost the benefit of any of the following items you’ve already paid for?
• Hotels and resorts
• Rental cars
• Concert and sports event tickets
• Gym and other memberships
• Other prepaid services or benefits that have been canceled
If you have, and if you have not received a refund, fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience was.