54% of people lost money on cancelled activities due to COVID-19
Have you lost money from cancelled events or activities due to COVID-19? You're not alone.
A new Bankrate.com study found 54% of adults who laid out money for cancelled events or activities due to the pandemic have lost some of that money.
Analyst Ted Rossman said about half of would-be event goers received all of their money back. About a quarter received some of their money back and another quarter received nothing at all.
The most common areas of money loss included short-term home rentals (49%), sporting events (48%), flights (47%), concerts (45%), live theater (43%) and hotels (36%).
The study also found that the most common cancellations due to coronavirus were hotels (27%), flights (25%) and concerts (20%).
Rossman said among those with concert tickets, 29% reported no refund whatsoever. He said a lot of that had to do with postponed events. A lot of concerts have been shifted to future dates so there have been mixed messages about refunds. He said third-party sellers such as StubHub and Ticketmaster have received a lot of complaints for the way they handled this.
Travel did a lot better with refunds, especially airlines, hotels and cruise lines, according to the Bankrate study. Rossman said they've been very forthcoming with refunds. Regulations require that if an airline cancels a flight or makes a sizable schedule change, the customer is entitled to money back. But if it's the customer who pulls the plug, the customer will probably just get a credit, possibly with a fee deducted.
Partial refunds are common: 35% who cancelled short-term home rentals got some but not all of their money back, 23% got partial refunds cancelled flights, 23% got them for sporting events, and 18% got them from cancelled live theater and hotel stays.
Nearly 60% who did not receive refunds for cancelled travel plans have given up on their efforts in trying to receive one, the survey found.
But Rossman advises you don't give up. Stick with it, even if it takes several phone calls or emails to resolve it, he said. He said start with wherever you made the purchase. If that company doesn't resolve your issue, go to the credit card or debit card issuer as a backup. He said credit cards are usually more generous when it comes to resolving disputes because it's actually the bank's money that's on the line. Most likely, the money has not been taken out of the person's checking account yet.
If those two efforts fail, Rossman said you can always try arbitration or small claims court.
The survey also found that among those who have received refunds, 69% said the longest they waited for refunds was a month or less. That's a pretty good turnaround time, Rossman said. He said that suggested it's either a boom or bust — you either get your money back quickly or not at all.