NBC CT Responds

Sports Leagues, Other Cancellations During COVID-19 Crisis: Can You Get Your Money Back?

NBC Universal, Inc.

The pandemic has impacted everything from our plans to our pocketbooks.

But what happens when activities we signed up for had to be canceled? Can you get your money back?

Marilyn Tilley and Val Fusick reached out to NBC Connecticut will their concerns.

The friends have been adult volleyball teammates for years, but like most everything back in March, their “ClubWaka” recreational spring volleyball season never got started because of the coronavirus crisis.

"You have to be able to get us our money back. This is crazy," said Tilley of Coventry.

The players want their payment for that session returned, instead of credit towards a future season that needs to be used within a year.

"If we can't play this year, who knows what next year brings?," said Fusick of Vernon.

Like so many businesses around Connecticut and the country, the pandemic put the social sports company in a precarious position.

We spoke to ClubWaka's Connecticut general manager Janice Lemieux.

“We understand the position that they’re in and unfortunately as a company we still have hard costs and we’ve made the hard decisions of having to lay off staff, staff that depend on us to provide for their families too," she said.

She too was furloughed for a period of the pandemic.

Thanks to the pandemic, the Hartford Hurricanes barely got a chance at a season. While they refunded families, others have reported trouble getting their money back for sports and activities they never got to participate in.

But Lemieux said when people paid to play, the players accepted the company’s terms.

"Our refund policy has always been that you're signing up and things that are out of our control, unfortunately we can't help."

The president of the youth football league, Hartford Hurricanes, decided to call off their football and cheerleading season after teams had already started practicing.

"The world around us is changing. I don't think anybody has it right. I don't know if I made the right decision, but it's a decision I feel comfortable with," said Hartford Hurricanes President Phil Bryant, citing the unknowns of COVID-19 and the health of the players and coaches.

He is offering a choice to the families of the 100 kids who signed up: a full refund or rolling over their payment until next season.

"A lot of the times the money you made during the season helps pay for the off season stuff, but we'll do what we have to do to keep the kids involved," said Bryant.

While some of ClubWaka's leagues have started back up again this summer, with pandemic precautions of course, Tilley and Fusick friends are frustrated their money still sits in the club's account.

“We don't know if we're going to sign up come this spring league. We hope to, but if there's no social aspect then why would we pay that sum of money to not have what they're advertising?" asked Fusick.

While he has no connection to this disagreement, consumer attorney Dan Blinn said his phone has been lighting up lately.

“We've been getting a lot of calls from people who have wedding deposits with venues with photographers, and also people who have prepaid for vacations that they cannot go on,” said Blinn, managing attorney of Consumer Law Group.

Here's his best advice for consumers going forward:

  1. Really pay attention to the small print--under what circumstances can you get a refund
  2. Request a refund in writing so you have a record of it
  3. And, pay with a credit card. If goods aren't provided, under certain circumstances you have a right for a refund

Blinn doesn't recommend making any big plans during these unpredictable times.

“I would not enter into any new contracts for any major event any time in the next two years.”

In the meantime, ClubWaka told NBC Connecticut as they get closer to the expiration of player’s credits like Tilley and Fusick’s, they “willing to revisit that and see where we’re at as a country and what restrictions are still in place and we’ll take the temperature of how comfortable people are. And, if we have to revise that, we have no problem with doing that as a company.”

Contact Us