Despite a SeaWorld closure in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, the sea-themed amusement park allegedly still continues to charge membership fees.
SeaWorld operates several amusement parks around the country in cities such as San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio.
Consumers can purchase a SeaWorld annual pass allowing them unlimited access to the parks if they pay fees ranging between $10 and $18 a month.
Unfortunately, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, SeaWorld has closed all of their locations in order to protect consumers.
Although this move aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19, a recent SeaWorld closure class action lawsuit claims that the amusement park company continues to charge consumers monthly membership fees.
“Defendant SeaWorld has made the unconscionable decision to keep charging its thousands of customers monthly membership fees while closing its amusement parks as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, rages throughout the world and the United States economy has gone into a deep recession,” the SeaWorld annual pass class action lawsuit alleges.
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Plaintiff Lisa Kouball says that she pays nearly $50 a month for four SeaWorld annual passes. After the SeaWorld closure announcement, Kouball allegedly expected that she would not have to pay for the memberships while the parks were closed.
However, in late April, she says she was charged the full cost of her monthly membership despite the parks being closed.
Kouball argues that she and other members are not getting any of the benefits of their SeaWorld annual pass due to the park closures. As a result, they shouldn’t be forced to keep paying membership fees, the SeaWorld closure class action lawsuit argues.
The SeaWorld annual pass class action lawsuit also claims that Kouball and other consumers would not have chosen to sign up for a membership or paid the same amount if they knew that they would be forced to pay despite not having access to the parks.
“The sole reason Defendant’s customers pay monthly membership fees is to have access to Defendant’s amusement parks and water parks,” the SeaWorld closure class action lawsuit argues.
“Now, Defendant is charging its customers full price while denying customers access to its amusement parks and water parks.”
Kouball claims that SeaWorld should stop charging monthly membership fees to their customers based on their closures.
Additionally, Kouball argues that she and other consumers should be given refunds for the membership fees they have been wrongfully forced to pay. According to the plaintiff, this money has not been used for their benefit and should therefore be returned.
“Defendant received money in the form of membership fees that was intended to be used for the benefit of Plaintiff and the Class, those membership fees were not used for the benefit of Plaintiff and the Class, and Defendant has not given back or refunded the wrongfully obtained money and membership fees to Plaintiff and the Class,” the SeaWorld annual pass class action lawsuit claims.
Kouball seeks to represent a Class of consumers who were charged SeaWorld annual pass membership fees while the amusement parks and water parks were closed.
According to Kouball, SeaWorld’s behavior violates several California state laws include the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, and False Advertising Law.
The SeaWorld closure class action lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, restitution, interest, injunctive relief, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.
Unfortunately, Kouball’s experience may not be unique during this global pandemic. Gyms, amusement parks and other companies have faced allegations that they continue to charge monthly membership fees despite their facilities being closed.
In this unprecedented time, consumers’ legal rights may be impacted in unexpected ways. Although this can be overwhelming, especially considering the other concerns Americans are currently struggling with, Top Class Actions has compiled a comprehensive guide to coronavirus legal issues.
Through this guide, our readers can see how their rights may be affected during the pandemic and which companies have faced legal action over alleged violations of state or federal laws.
Kouball and the proposed Class are represented by Ronald A. Marron, Michael T. Houchin, and Lilach Halperin of the Law Offices of Ronald A. Marron APLC.
The SeaWorld Closure Class Action Lawsuit is Lisa Kouball v. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc., Case No. 3:20-cv-00870-H-BGS, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
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