Consumers discuss cancellation rights amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With COVID-19 cancelling events and closing all kinds of institutions, consumers are out hundreds of thousands of dollars. The troubleshooters are getting many questions about refunds.

Consumers are wanting refunds for a long list of things: Cancelled trips, cruises, concerts, weddings, sporting events, and summer rentals. Season passes for amusement parks, games and memberships.

Action News went to an attorney to get information on refund rights.

"We were very excited," said Kelli Brennan-Czajkowski, of Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

Brennan-Czajkowski's two teenagers, Brennan and Reese, were chosen for a spot to compete in the Limerick Cup in Ireland this July.

Ella Carwile was also selected.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for my daughter," said Ella's mom, Aleks Casper, of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.

The trip was organized through Phila Field Hockey and Montco Select but canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Casper paid $7,840 for her daughter and family members to attend. Brennan-Czajkowski is out nearly $1,800. Now, these moms and as many as 132 other families want refunds.

"Honest people are being furloughed and losing their jobs, and they need their money back," said attorney and consumer advocate Craig Thor Kimmel. "Consumers have a right to a refund."

Kimmel said pre-pandemic refund policies should still be enforced.

"The first thing that consumers should try to do is if a credit card was used to make those purchases to immediately contact their credit card company and dispute the charges," he said.

Kimmel's created offering free legal help.

"And they should also use the words COVID-19 somewhere in the complaint," he said.

Unfortunately for the hockey families, court may be their only option. They said they had to pay by check.

"There's gonna be a lot of these cases out there the judges are going to understand people should not have nothing back for what they paid for," Kimmel said.

As far as memberships, concert tickets and season passes that can't be used or fully used?

"As far as $1 for dollar refund absolutely should get their money back," he said.

The Troubleshooters reached out to the parties involved in that Ireland trip, including Kevin McCoy of MontCo Select and Kathleen Harte Simone of Phila Field Hockey. Mccoy never got back to us. Hart said she's been working to provide refunds and blames the other parties for the delay.

Meantime, the Pennsylvania Attorney General has also issued an alert about refunds.
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