New York – August 19, 2020 – More than half of U.S. adults (54%) who laid out the money for canceled activities due to the pandemic have lost money, according to a new study by The most common areas of money loss include canceled short-term home rentals (49%), sporting events (48%), flights (47%), concerts (45%), live theater (43%), and hotels (36%).

Travel and larger events are sometimes booked several months in advance – for many, well before the onset of the pandemic. As a result, 54% of U.S. adults say they canceled activities that typically required an advance purchase. The most common being hotels (27%), flights (25%), and concerts (20%).

It’s disappointing enough to have an event canceled but losing money on something you didn’t get to experience adds insult to injury. Partial refunds are common: 35% who canceled short- term home rentals got some (but not all) of their money back, 23% from canceled flights, 23% from sporting events, 18% from canceled hotel stays, 18% from live theater and 16% from canceled concerts.

Canceled concerts (29%), sporting events (25%), live theater (25%), and airline flights (24%) are the events from which Americans are most likely to receive no refund.

Among those who received refunds from canceled activities, 69% said the longest they waited was a month or less. Ted Rossman, industry analyst at notes, “That suggests it’s boom or bust – you either get your money back quickly or not at all.”

CategoryFull refundPartial refundNo refund
Live theater57%18%25%
Short-term home rentals51%35%14%

“My best advice is to start your refund quest wherever you made the purchase. If the merchant isn’t cooperative, then pull in your credit or debit card issuer as a backup. The most common complaints I’ve been hearing are regarding ticket resale sites, short-term home rentals, and online travel agencies. In all three cases, they’re the intermediary. A third option is to appeal to the individual ticket seller, homeowner, or travel provider,” Rossman added.

With many Americans experiencing long wait times on customer service phone lines and lack of information regarding reimbursement policies, nearly 6 in 10 (59%) who haven’t received refunds for canceled travel plans have completely given up their efforts in trying to receive a refund. Surprisingly, those earning $40K or less per year (61%) are more likely to give up hope compared to those earning $80K or more per year (53%).

Methodology: commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 2,624 US adults. Fieldwork was undertaken on July 29-31, 2020. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.

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