LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — While big corporations have received trillions in taxpayers funded bailouts, some people say they are still waiting on their refunds for canceled trips and events.
Frustrated consumers say big corporations, strapped for cash due to the coronavirus pandemic, are holding onto their money.
Last summer, Brittney Jackson paid more than $500 deposit for another Carnival Cruise, after she and her husband went to the Caribbean.
"They are basically holding our funds hostage," she said. "I was given the runaround, just terrible customer service experience. Hung up on, no resolution."
Tiffany Rod said she had a similar experience when she tried to get a refund for four tickets she purchased on Stubhub for a Lakers-Clippers game that was canceled in January due to Kobe Bryant's death.
It was later rescheduled for April, and then finally canceled this week.
"After they finally confirmed that they would give a refund, they are saying it's going to take 120 days for it to be processed."
John Breyault with the National Consumers League said, "Many of these businesses are facing cash crunches right now and what they are asking consumers to do essentially through these games they are playing, is offer them a long term no-interest loan with some expectation with payment in the future."
By the time Rod gets her refund, if it does take the full 120 days, it will be nine months after she paid Stubhub about $1,000.
"The company could be bankrupt in 120 days then what happens," Rod asked.
Breyault said consumers would then have to line up with every other creditor.
"Unfortunately, the average customer, you and me, are probably going to find ourselves at the end of the line to get our money back, if we ever get it at all," he said.
Breyault said consumers should:
- Be persistent.
- Ask for a supervisor if you're getting the runaround.
- Take your case to social media. Most companies are desperate to protect their public image.
- File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Department of Transportation.
Jackson was finally told she could apply for a refund last week, and it was confirmed with Carnival that her money will be returned to her.
"I understand it's an unprecedented time, but it's our money," Jackson said.
Carnival said they are issuing refunds quicker than they were at the start of the pandemic.
Stubhub said it is taking them 120 days to issue refunds due to the large volume of cancellations, but they are going to expedite Rod's case and she should have her refund in three to five days.
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