June 25, 2020 – Legoland California Facing Another Lawsuit Over Refund Refusals
Merlin Entertainments Group U.S. Holdings and Legoland California face another proposed class action over their apparent decision to refuse refunds for those who bought tickets to the companies’ attractions and theme parks.
The plaintiff claims she paid close to $1,900 for a two-night stay at the Legoland Castle Hotel for May 15-17, 2020, a purchase that came with four three-day tickets to the Legoland theme park. Days after her purchase, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order for Californians to stay at home in their place of residence to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Though the plaintiff immediately contacted Legoland to cancel her May reservation and request a refund, the defendants denied the woman’s request, eventually acquiescing and allowing her to “reschedule” the trip. Due to the ever-changing circumstances amid the coronavirus crisis, however, the plaintiff again requested a refund and was again denied by the defendants, the lawsuit claims.
In all, the lawsuit, which can be foundhere, alleges Legoland and its operator have exploited the plaintiff and other consumers during a global health crisis “simply to enrich themselves.”
The operators of Legoland California, Madame Tussauds Hollywood and a bevy of other tourist attractions nationwide face a proposed class action over their alleged failure to refund those who bought tickets, memberships and vacation packages unusable amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the 37-page lawsuit, the defendants—Merlin Entertainments Group U.S. Holdings Inc., Legoland California, Merlin Entertainments Short Breaks LLC, Madame Tussauds Hollywood LLC, Madame Tussauds San Francisco LLC and San Francisco Dungeon LLC—boast a portfolio of 130 attractions, 20 hotels and six holiday villages spanning 25 countries across four continents. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 when the virus neared pandemic levels, the defendants’ attractions, including Legoland California, were closed around March 16 as much of the country became subject to stay-at-home orders, the case states.
While customers of other businesses received refunds in light of event cancellations and venue closures, the defendants have refused to reimburse those who bought tickets, memberships and vacation packages for the companies’ attractions, the lawsuit alleges. Instead, the defendants, in contrivance to the terms and conditions of their standardized uniform agreements, chose to breach their contracts with customers by pocketing the funds for their own use, the plaintiff claims.
“Under the terms and conditions of their standardized uniform agreements, if Defendants cancel or are unable to perform their obligations, they must accept customer cancellations and refund all monies paid by the customer,” the complaint reads. “But instead, Defendants are using the money they owe to their customers for their own benefit.”
As the case tells it, customers who pay the defendants monthly continue to be charged given the companies possess their debit and credit information.
Per the lawsuit, customers who bought tickets for the defendants’ attractions entered into a contract with the companies, transacting money in exchange for access. According to the suit, the defendants’ decision to pocket ticket and membership money while their attractions remain closed is “knowing and willful,” particularly in light of the companies’ responsibilities under their “peace of mind policy.” From the complaint:
“The so called ‘peace of mind policy’ provides that for annual pass holders not enrolled in monthly pay, Defendants will give an extension of one month for every month the attraction is closed. For pass holders enrolled in monthly pay, their monthly payments will be suspended starting April 1, 2020 until the attraction reopens. The policy also provides that customers with unused tickets for specific dates during the closure period can use them on ‘any valid day [based on the ticket type purchased] for the rest of 2020’ without additional fees.”
According to the case, the plaintiff is among tens of thousands of consumers to whom the defendants have failed to promptly refund all money paid for access to attractions closed amid the coronavirus crisis.
The lawsuit looks to cover a nationwide and California-only class of consumers across the U.S. who paid between March 13, 2016 and the applicable opt-out date for access to one of the defendants’ attractions during the period such attractions were closed.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.