In March 2020, Alek* and Linda* had only been skiing a handful of times when they received an email from their local mountain saying it was closing due to COVID-19. Like many others that year, the BC couple was encountering new consumer issues as businesses made changes in response to the pandemic.
Alek and Linda had used only five of the 10 days of their prepaid ski passes and were originally told they would receive a refund for the unused portion.
“We were waiting and waiting,” says Alek, “but then [the business] told us that instead of refunds, we would have our passes transferred to the next season.” Alek and Linda continued to work with the local mountain to try and get their money back, but the business would not budge. That’s when they decided to contact Consumer Protection BC.
Consumer Protection BC investigators contacted the business and informed them of their obligations under the law. When businesses offer contracts for services that are ongoing and physical in nature (like ski passes), consumers have specific cancellation rights. Because the ski mountain had closed and changed the services they were offering, Alek and Linda were within their rights to cancel their contract and receive a refund for the unused passes.
The business agreed to refund Alek and Linda along with six others who had contacted Consumer Protection BC about the issue, for a total of $4,500. The business also agreed to change its cancellation policy to comply with BC law.
Alek was happy to hear the outcome of the investigation and hopes the business learned from the situation. “It’s not just about the money,” says Alek, “I want to live in a fair society. I immigrated to Canada for this reason.”
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.
Curious about your rights when it comes to things like ski passes?
Have you purchased ski passes or signed up for dance lessons, personal training or self-defense classes? Do you have a membership to a gym or yoga studio? These types of contracts are ongoing and physical in nature and they’re known as continuing services contracts. By law, you have certain cancellation rights, including if the business has changed the services they offer. Find out more.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.