After coronavirus recently closed the ski resort Linda Huber planned to visit, she asked for a refund of her Vail Epic Pass. The answer she received from management left something to be desired. Can we help?
I spent $1,398 for a local Vail Epic Pass. Vail Resorts allows you to ski in Vail for 10 days with a local pass. Normal Vail tickets last season per day were $209, so they encouraged early enrollment of the Epic Pass. I paid early.
We had plans to ski in Vail at the resort in the first week in April, but they closed because of the coronavirus. Vail recently canceled its ski season because of coronavirus. I asked for a refund but Vail Resorts will not even offer a partial refund. The airlines, hotels, and car rentals have refunded their purchases, but not Vail.
We sent several emails, but to no avail. We haven’t used the passes at all this season. What are your thoughts? Should Vail refund our money or not? — Linda Huber, Dimondale, Mich.
I think Vail Resorts owes you a refund. But how much of a refund? That’s debatable.
You purchased a local season pass for Mt. Brighton, but had no intention of skiing there. Instead, you planned to use your pass in Vail, which the pass allows you to do. So I don’t think you can argue for a full refund at this point in the ski season (you contacted me in mid-March).
But should Vail Resorts be able to keep all of your money? No. A prorated refund makes more sense. You could calculate the amount based on how much of the season remains — in your case, about 1 1/2 months.
From Vail Resorts’ perspective, these refunds will hurt. It needed the money from the passes and, like every other travel company, will probably push its customers to accept a credit. I think offering a 2020-21 season pass might be an attractive option for someone who has already used most of a 2019-20 pass, for example.
But either way, Vail Resorts has to do something.
You should get a refund if the coronavirus caused the ski resort to be closed for the season
It looks like you tried to contact Vail Resort through its website. You could have also gone a step further and emailed one of Vail Resorts’ executives. They publish a list of them on the Vail Resorts’ site. All emails at Vail Resorts are formatted [email protected]. (Here’s what you need to know about health and travel.)
I contacted Vail Resorts on your behalf. A representative responded by sharing an email from Kirsten Lynch, the company’s chief marketing officer, sent to all passholders. In it, she says “we have not forgotten about you,” adding, “I have read your emails and comments on social media. I completely understand your frustrations and your concerns about this past season.” (Related: Please remember the heroes of the coronavirus crisis.)
The representative promised a more specific response by the end of April. I followed up with Vail Resorts several times. On April 27, the company said it would offer season pass holders a future credit of “at least 20 percent and up to 80 percent” if they weren’t able to use their pass at all.
You have one more option: a credit card dispute under the Fair Credit Billing Act. You clearly did not get what you paid for and deserve a refund. If Vail Resorts doesn’t come through, consider a chargeback.