News: Plaintiffs land key victory in suit against Cedar Fair over 2020 season passes

Walt's avatar

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that a suit can proceed against Cedar Fair over nonrefunded season passes during the pandemic.

https://pointbuzz.com/News/Story/3363


Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz
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TwistedCircuits's avatar

Interesting, I do appreciate that this is specifically targeting the days which the parks are closed and not an overall pass refund. So instead of asking for the full value of the past they're asking for a prorated amount equivalent to the days closed from what I understand.

I'm on the fence about this one, curious to see where it goes.


Still haven't been able to uncross these circuits...
DJ Fischer

Dvo's avatar

The facts that:

  • CF States that hours and dates of operation may change without notice, and
  • They honored those same passes for the entire following season

lead me to believe that this won't go in the plaintiff's favor. In my mind the only way this wins is if they can somehow prove the parks were intentionally closed as a way to save money, which I think is a significant hurdle, as I don't think that is the case.


374 MF laps
Smoking Area Drone Pilot

XS NightClub's avatar

^ this leads me to believe otherwise: US District Court Judge James Carr denied a Cedar Fair dismissal motion, saying a reasonable passholder, faced with an unexpected long-term parks closure, would have expected a prorated refund based on how Cedar Fair advertised the passes.

On a side note: I'm getting yearly payments to repay for a pass from a ridiculous class action suit against Six Flags for fingerprint scanning, that I never asked for... and in that case the pass was usable.

I think what CF did with the passes was reasonable and I appreciated it. Others will see it differently. In hindsight they should've offered refunds to people based on an application for it or offered the extended year option. Some people will argue they would not be able to use the pass in the next year or something similar to that.

Last edited by XS NightClub,

Missed a full season at CP for the first time since 2007, maybe Sandusky will be back on my travel list next year.... Depends what CP has up their sleeve for 2023.

Jeff's avatar

If the court let the case proceed, I wouldn't interpret that as good for Cedar Fair. If they didn't offer a refund option (and I honestly don't remember, since it didn't affect me), as a consumer I wouldn't be good with "you can go next year instead." Travel and scheduling isn't that fluid for everyone. I mean, Disney had to cancel a cruise for us, and they didn't say, "You can go to Alaska next year, and we'll hold your money." More expensive trip, yes, but same thinking.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

Kevinj's avatar

If my memory serves me correctly, they didn't advertise a refund, but people who called and asked got one.

Take that memory with a grain of salt, but I thought we had a conversation around that at some point. Then again it could have been people simply claiming they got one (and lying, because...well...it's the internet).

Big grain of salt. Like, coarse sea salt that provides no iodine.

Just for a fun walk down history lane, here is what we all said about the lawsuit back in 2020:

https://forums.pointbuzz.com/Forums/Topic/season-pass-holders-sue-c...ned-season

Last edited by Kevinj,

Promoter of fog.

Walt's avatar

Kevinj said:

Big grain of salt. Like, coarse sea salt that provides no iodine.

No iodine? Unacceptable. Don't be surprised to see a lawsuit from my thyroid.


Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz
PointBuzz on Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Home to the Biggest Fans of the World's Best Amusement Park

Well in Morton's defense, they do put a label on the container that says that there is no iodine in it :)

Can we expect a reasonable person to read a salt container?! Hmm.

TwistedCircuits's avatar

Kevin I remember that as well, I don't know exactly where the posts are right now, but that also like you said as assuming they were telling the truth. Although I'm not sure why someone would want to lie about that.


Still haven't been able to uncross these circuits...
DJ Fischer

Jeff's avatar

Walt said:
No iodine? Unacceptable. Don't be surprised to see a lawsuit from my thyroid.

Shoutout to the people on levothyroxine. 😂

The original plaintiff in the suit was from Washington State on a Knott's pass, so the situation I described is exactly hers.

Disney's refund process was a total ****show, but after six months of getting nowhere, I just emailed their chief counsel (was in the Florida Bar directory) and said I was going to invite her to small claims court for my trouble. Checks came less than a week later. Then they were happy to take our money again in April 2021 to re-up.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

Cedar Fair didn’t openly advertise refunds as an option, and pushed back against those asking for a refund or often made the refund process difficult. For others, they asked their home parks and got a refund no questions asked. I think those varying experiences as well as the fact that it wasn’t actually offered as an option is likely what put CF in hot water and also why the judge allowed the case to proceed; which, as others have pointed out doesn’t bode well for CF.

Kevinj's avatar

So I'm not crazy.

I remember thinking at the time how odd that felt; meaning, you're OK giving refunds (kind've) but you're not going to say it's an option publicly.

Hindsight is 2020 (pun intended), but it does seem like an option would have been a much better approach. 1) we will extend your pass into 2021, or 2) here's your money back.

While I was one of those happy to accept option 2, it's a bit of a dick move not to make refunds an option given the circumstances.


Promoter of fog.

Regardless of disclaimers:

1.. Customers that pay for something they don’t get or get very late are not happy customers and usually don’t return

2 Cedar Fair held everyone’s money for a year to finance themselves through 2020 interest free

3. A company with high business ethics does not sell so thing to people and then refuse to offer refunds when they can’t produce it

4 A company with high business ethics does not keep customers money fir a year before they can produce the product

5. A company with high business ethics does not false advertise/bait and switch their product IE advertising certain park hours then closing early due to low attendance

6. . A company with high business ethics dues not lie about the reason they fail to produce their product IE blaming the weather when the real reason for closure is low attendance

This is how Cedar Fair operates these days As well as the other chains Palace Entertainment is a complete scam artist company

What allows them to operate like this? The season pass business plan They don’t care if they upset the customer They already gave their money and they assume that the customers are going to continue to buy season passes even if they don’t produce what is advertised

I came the closest I have ever come to not renewing my season pass this year because of what I consider Cedar Fairs false advertising of hours One can say they have a disclaimer, but an ethical company will produce for the customer what is advertised

It didn’t used to be this way

Last edited by coaster5,

Whatever happened to periods and commas?

GL2CP's avatar

I maybe understand that it’s the principle of the matter for them, but is all the trouble, time and court costs worth whatever prorated amount they would even get back? Did it mention if they used their pass in 2021?
Can i sue the park for a portion of my $6.99 back if I buy fries but they’re out of ketchup?


First ride; Magnum 1994

TwistedCircuits's avatar

I do agree anyone who used their pass for the open period in 2020 shouldn't be allowed to join the class action, I wouldn't expect to get anything back because I got the value of my pass (2021) plus whenever the park was open in 2020 as a bonus. I don't expect that the park owes me anything and I don't understand how anyone else who used their pass in 2020 can.


Still haven't been able to uncross these circuits...
DJ Fischer

The thing is, the park was open in 2020, although they opened late per Governor Dewine’s orders. The offerings were available, granted, with CDC guidelines in place. It is the Passholder’s choice whether how many times they attend in a given season. I thought Cedar Fair extending the use of all season passes through the 2021 operating season was beyond generous. The case seems a bit frivolous to me.

Last edited by TwistedWicker77,
Vince982's avatar

I upgraded my park admission to a 2020 gold pass at the end of 2019 and still haven't used it. I called the park towards the end of summer 2021 when it became clear that I likely wouldn't be able to cross the border to visit the park. They were very accommodating and I asked what my options were and they said refund or extend it to 2022. I chose to to extend it to 2022. Granted they spelled my email address and name wrong on my pass so I have to call again in the next few weeks to make sure it's sorted out before I show up at 7am for Coastermania, but for me anyway, they handled the situation well.


We'll miss you MrScott and Pete

Jeff's avatar

I think you have a short memory if you think that any amusement park experience in 2020 was not vastly different from what you thought you were going to get. It is perfectly reasonable to have wanted your money back in lieu of enduring that weird, dystopian situation. I imagine this suit, if it even goes to trial, is going to be about the inconsistency of refund availability. The problem is it's no longer about the one plaintiff, it's about the class. It isn't, "Well did everyone call and ask?" and instead it's, "Why didn't they offer refunds openly?"


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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