PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This is a summer unlike any other. Families are rescheduling beach trips, amusement parks pushed back opening day, and most summer camps regretfully are canceled. Now parents are left wondering: will a refund check arrive in the mail?
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller explains what parents need to know to get back their money.
It’s a constant juggling act for Nicole Phatak.
“I have two children, ages 6 and 8, so kindergarten and third grade and they were basically signed up for a camp a week,” said Phatak.
Weeks of entertainment, fun and learning for her little ones — that comes at a cost.
“They could be anywhere from $200 a week per child, and I’ve seen, the ones I’ve registered for [up] to $350 a week,” Phatak said. “And I’ve seen them higher.”
Some families paid thousands of dollars in advance and they’re now forced to wait and see what camps decide amidst the pandemic.
“Originally, I don’t think anyone thought this was going to last as long as it did,” said Phatak.
On Monday, May 18, Phatak said she received an email from Camp Guyasuta. She had registered her two children for its week-long STEM camp.
The email said, “We are planning on having camp unless something would change and make us unable to safely have camp.” The email continued, saying, “If you should cancel, you would get an 85% refund. If we would have to cancel, you would get a 100% refund.”
Phatak tells KDKA she wanted to give it a “few days” to see if the state’s reopening status ended up forcing the camp to cancel. She said she didn’t want to ask for the 85% refund if she could eventually receive a 100% refund. Ultimately, she tells KDKA she emailed later in the week asking for the 85% refund. She tells KDKA that she was told she “missed” the Wednesday, May 20, cancellation deadline.
“I thought it was patently unfair that once they announced the camp deadline, they said, ‘Oh, you had to cancel two days prior,’ but never mentioned that in any of their email correspondence,” said Phatak.
The camp tells KDKA it did not include a reminder in Monday’s email about Wednesday’s cancellation deadline but said the date is listed on the camp’s website under the “FAQ” section.
After our call to the camp to inquire about the refund policy, Phatak tells KDKA she received an 85% refund check in the mail. She said she’s thrilled.
“The overwhelming majority of camps in the area have been almost apologetically sorry, they feel so bad they can’t do this, they love it as much as our kids do,” said Phatak.
Parents can pursue refunds, if a business or camp canceled because of COVID-19, by following three easy steps.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro recommends:
1. Review the contract, contact the business and request a refund;
2. Request a refund directly from your credit card company if you used credit for payment;
3. File a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at AttorneyGeneral.gov.
It’s important to mention that Camp Guyasuta did not decide to cancel. For this reason, the above steps do not apply and the camp did not have to offer refunds.
Phatak tells KDKA she’s very thankful that they decided to help her out during this difficult time.
The camp also tells KDKA it offered concerned parents the option to send their children later in the summer if they didn’t feel comfortable going during one of the earlier summer weeks.