Posted Monday, September 28, 2020 9:50 AM | Contributed by GoBucks89
A season pass-holder Friday sued Cedar Fair, the owner of Cedar Point and a dozen other major theme parks, in a lawsuit that alleges the company failed to offer reimbursements for a season hindered by the pandemic. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo, requests a class-action status to include residents who bought passes from all of the parks the Sandusky-based corporation owns, including Cedar Point.
Read more from Cleveland.com.
The folks over on PointBuzz are all about calling people Karen over this, but I'm not so sure. I think that simply giving everyone admission for next year is reasonable, but it also takes the decision making away from the consumer. Late last year, I would find it completely reasonable to buy a pass, but now with rampant unemployment and uncertainty about what next year will look like, I think I'd rather get the money back and then decide next year if I wanted or could afford a pass. Have they really been that inflexible about refunds?
Don't recall refund being listed as an option. Maybe they gave them if you called and asked for one but many people didn't do that because they thought the only option was to get a 2021 pass?
To me, refund should have been a stated option. I understand Cedar Fair wanted as many people as possible to apply to 2021 pass rather than refund $$. But they could have offered incentives for people to apply to 2021 if they thought too many people would seek refunds.
Nothing I've read yet says whether or not the plaintiff attempted to get a refund as an individual and was denied. I can think of situations in which the extension to 2021 would have no value for someone, like if they were moving away from the area because of a job or military assignment and so would not have bought a 2021 pass to begin with. I would think people in that situation should have contacted the park as individuals to see if they would work with them or not. We really don't know if that attempt was made here. I also imagine that some families might really be in need of the money instead of an extension of their passes but I'm not sure the park has a legal obligation there though I would imagine someone who is given a refund in this situation even though the park isn't obligated to would be more likely to buy passes in the future when things are looking up than someone who was told no. A family worth of passes could easily be equal to a mortgage payment.
I'm OK with the extension because I would have been buying a 2021 pass anyway but my family hasn't taken the financial hit this year that many have either.
I have no problem with wanting a refund. My only issue is the lawyer seeking class-action status. But that's probably more related to my overall disdain with class-action lawsuits. The person bringing the suit has a pass for Knott's, which hasn't opened. Different parks have had different numbers of operating days. He said in the article that millions have season passes. But how many have used it this year at a park that was able to open? How many are satisfied with getting the 2021 season as compensation? There are so many variables. Not sure why the lawyer feels the need to go class-action. Well, I know why. The typical class action result - millions for a law firm and the victims get a check for $2.15 and a free year of credit monitoring. 😄
Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz
I agree that forcing a 2021 extension seems cool initially, but maybe people don't want that, or they don't want the 2021 with mask policies and whatever else will be in 2021. I think it's fair to say a lot of people would rather have their money, and then they can decide later if they want to get a pass again. What CF did was make the choice for them.
Also, the Knott's guy didn't get anything for 2020, whereas say a King's Island guy got quite a bit for 2020. They both were "compensated" equally with extensions for 2021, so I can really see how the Knott's guy would feel extra screwed here.
There have been a whole series of similar issues with airlines offering vouchers rather than refunds. The law on this side of the pond is black and white – if the flight doesn't operate then the consumer is entitled to their money back.
The same is not true everywhere, FWIW – I had a cancelled flight in the UAE at one point and was given a voucher valid for use within twelve months, which was precisely zero use to me.
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