The Hustle

The great coronavirus refund debate

Controversies about coronavirus-related refunds are bubbling up everywhere, but forking over cash to frustrated consumers can be complicated.

The pandemic put a pin in your Parisian vacay and you want your payments back, pronto.

It sounds simple, but forking over cash to frustrated consumers can be complicated — and controversial.

There are rebate riddles everywhere…

 …and they’re especially touchy in the travel and live-entertainment industries, whose itineraries have been totally scrambled.

One reason why travelers are angry: The refund might not actually BE a refund. Some airlines are offering vouchers instead, but some customers say we don’t want no stinkin’ coupons.

Another wrinkle: When a middleman is involved, things can get REALLY hairy.

Just ask Airbnb and StubHub

Airbnb is basically letting customers who booked trips through the end of May cancel them for a full refund. But the new policy wreaked havoc on the OTHER end of Airbnb’s business — its hosts.

As Axios reported this week, the giant online ticket broker StubHub said fin to refunds for now.

The ‘hub’s president said they’ve had more than 20k events called off. She said the old canceled-gig refund policy (which involved issuing refunds to ticket buyers for canceled events before collecting money from sellers) wouldn’t work at such a high volume.

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