No refunds: Dealing with camps, leagues affected by coronavirus crisis

As if disappointed children aren’t bad enough, a lot of parents are dealing with the frustration of learning summer camps and sports leagues don’t plan to offer refunds for activities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Camps are so expensive, and many people secured the spot they paid for months ago,” said Susan Hogan, consumer reporter with NBC Washington.

However, even though a league or camp is canceled or dramatically altered, unfortunately, Hogan said, it’s unrealistic to expect a total — or any — refund.

“Most summer camps are operated by small local entities, or schools, or town leagues,” she said. “Unfortunately, your registration fee may have already been spent on securing the locations, so these camps can’t just refund your money.”

However, Hogan said, that doesn’t mean you will lose the hard-earned money you paid.

“A lot of sports camps are seasonal and offer after-school leagues in the fall, winter or spring,” Hogan said. “So, ask if they would carry the cost to a future camp for you.”

Though refund policies often specify conditions that preclude a refund, “Clearly, no one could have anticipated the coronavirus as a reason,” Hogan said. “So, ask the camp if it is willing to roll over your payment to next summer, and if so, get it in writing.”

Compounding the disappointment for children is the reality that many parents have had their careers negatively affected by the pandemic, she said.

“If you really, truly need a refund, explain you’ve been laid off and show proof of your hardship,” Hogan said. “Another great resource is the American Camp Association — they offer advice on what parents need to be asking right now in terms of health-related plans, if the camp does reopen this summer.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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