Coronavirus Refunds: California Universities Sued Over Campus Fees; SXSW Faces Suit For No-Refund Rule

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The coronavirus pandemic is upsetting normal life the world over, and plenty of consumers want refunds on things they paid for but aren’t able to use. Here’s a roundup of some efforts by consumers to receive refunds from universities and events — along with an initiative to provide auto policyholders with reimbursements.

University Fees

Two large university systems in California have been sued over their alleged refusal to provide reimbursements for fees in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from DiCello Levitt.

The class actions filed against the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) claim that the universities they supervise should have given back prorated shares of campus fees after the universities had to shutter their campuses in the wake of the virus.

The UC system has 10 campuses and an endowment of over $21 billion, according to the announcement. CSU, on the other hand, operates 23 campuses in California with an endowment of almost $2 billion.

The systems had announced last month that all classes would be transitioned to a digital format for the rest of the spring semester because of the pandemic.

Event Tickets

The firm behind the famous South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, is facing a suit due to its no-refund rule following the cancellation of its yearly gathering, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The action was filed on behalf of two individuals who purportedly spent over $1,000 on entry charges to go to the event but were turned down for refunds.

The event brings in over 100,000 people who are interested in technology, music and pop culture. SXSW LLC wrote in a statement per the outlet that “Due to the unique nature of SXSW’s business, where we are reliant on one annual event, we incurred extensive amounts of non-recoupable costs well in advance of March.”

Auto Insurance

Texas Farm Bureau Insurance (TFBI) is giving holders of vehicle policies over $20 million in refunds amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an announcement.

Policyholders will get 15 percent of their auto insurance premiums back for two months and aren’t required to take action to get their refund/credit.

Mike Gerik, TFBI executive vice president, said in the announcement, "Texas' streets have been quieter than usual as everyone joins forces to do the important work of flattening the curve. With fewer drivers on the road resulting in fewer accidents, we are pleased to be able to make this premium refund to our policyholders."



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.