A new survey from Bankrate shows 62% of U.S. adults have canceled travel or event plans due to the coronavirus outbreak. And almost 59 million people are losing money over their interrupted plans.
In fact, of those who have made plans, 31% have canceled a wedding or graduation party. Other commonly canceled events include a hotel stay (27%), a flight (23%), a concert (18%), a sporting event (16%), a live theater production (14%) and “something else” (12%).
And millennials have canceled plans more than Gen Xers and baby boomers (65% versus 60% and 56%, respectively).
More disappointing than missing trips and events, 59 million people have lost money due to canceling plans.
About a third of those who paid ahead will get full refunds
According to the new study, only 30% of Americans who have spent money on plans and canceled them will be refunded in full.
And almost a quarter of them (24%) will get most of their money back, 11% will get half of it, 7% will get less than half, 13% will get none and 15% don’t know how much they’re likely to recoup.
“My best advice for a refund is to start by contacting the company that you purchased from – whether that was an airline, a travel agency, a ticket marketplace, etc.,” Bankrate and CreditCards.com analyst Ted Rossman said in a news release.
“Start wherever you made the reservation or bought the tickets,” Rossman said. “Most of these companies are being very generous with their refund policies. If you can’t reach a satisfactory resolution with them, then I think you should bring in your card company as a backup.”
Higher-income households are canceling the most
Seventy-seven percent of households with incomes of $80,000-plus had to cancel trips or event plans versus 64% of households with incomes of $40,000 to $80,000 and 53% of households with incomes less than $40,000.
The results skewed regionally as well – 68% of those who live in the West and 65% of Northeast dwellers had to cancel something versus 59% of Midwesterners and 58% of Southerners, according to the study.
Half of refund seekers got vouchers for future services
Bankrate’s survey showed that 68% of people who canceled plans and events that they paid for in advance contacted the company for a refund – that breaks down to hotel and lodging (32%), airlines (28%), entertainment ticket sellers (25%), credit cards (18%) and “other” (7%).
Half of those people who paid for a trip or event and contacted the company for a refund got a future credit (a voucher for a flight, hotel stay, sports ticket, etc.) and 47% got their money back.
An unlucky 15% reported they got nothing back for at least one trip or event and 12% said they had at least one situation that was still unresolved.
“If you feel that the travel provider or ticket seller treated you unfairly, file a dispute with the card company and see if they can help you get your money back. With long phone waits reported, try to do this online if you can,” Rossman said.
See related: Best ways to use your stimulus check
People aren’t making plans in the foreseeable future
More than half (51%) of responders said they have no plans for the foreseeable future, citing the pandemic as the reason.
And among those who still have plans, a huge number are considering canceling (76%), whether it’s a celebration (34%), hotel or lodging (32%), flight (30%), concert (22%), sporting event (18%), live theater (7% ) or “something else” (8%).