The Vail Corporation faces another proposed class action filed in Colorado over the mountain resort operator’s alleged refusal to issue proper refunds to passholders after suspending operations at its North American locations in March.
The lawsuit looks to cover anyone in the U.S. who purchased a 2019-2020 Season Epic Pass or Epic Daily Pass that had unused days as of March 15, 2020.
The Vail Corporation has refused to issue refunds to passholders after closing all of its North American ski resorts on March 25, 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a proposed class action out of California.
The 18-page lawsuit explains that the defendant, which does business as Vail Resorts Management Company, sells “Epic Passes” that purport to provide “unlimited, unrestricted skiing” at the company’s more than 34 North American resorts. According to the complaint, skiers can choose between purchasing an annual pass for $319 to $979, a weekly pass for $391 to $766, and a day/multi-day pass for $67 to $766. Epic Day Passes can be purchased in packages of “1 to 7 total days,” the lawsuit states.
In late March, the case states, Vail announced on its website that all of its North American ski resorts and resort stores would be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 season as COVID-19 “rages throughout the world.” The suit alleges that in the wake of the mass closure, the defendant has failed to issue refunds to any customers for lost mountain access, choosing instead to simply defer auto-renewal charges for those with annual passes who did not pre-pay for the entire season. For customers who purchased Epic Day Passes, the defendant has explicitly stated that such are “non-refundable and non-transferable to another season,” the lawsuit alleges.
The plaintiff says he purchased in June 2019 an annual Tahoe Local season pass for $499 that promised mountain access between October 2019 and June 2020 “as long as there was snow.” Despite cutting his mountain access short in response to coronavirus concerns, the defendant has retained the full amount of the plaintiff’s annual pass fee, the lawsuit claims. The plaintiff avers he purchased Vail’s annual pass “with the understanding” that he would be able to access the company’s resorts for the duration of the season, and claims he would not have purchased the annual pass, or would not have paid for it under the same terms, had he known he would be unable to access Vail’s mountain resorts.
The case argues that proposed class members—those who purchased annual or Epic Day Passes for the 2019-2020 season and had not used all the remaining days on their passes by March 25, 2020—have received “zero consideration or compensation” from Vail for the unused mountain access for which they paid. In turn, the defendant has allegedly retained hundreds of thousands of dollars that the case argues should have been refunded to customers.
The lawsuit, alleging violations of several California statutes, claims the defendant has misled customers, falsely advertised its services, maintained an unlawful business practice, and breached its warranties with consumers, among other apparent abuses.
The full complaint can be read below.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of lawsuits centered on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here and over at our Newswire.
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