A San Diego woman has filed a lawsuit against SeaWorld for charging her annual pass fees while the park remains closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the lawsuit, Lisa Kouball said she purchased four annual passes to attend SeaWorld San Diego and pays a total of $48.99 per month. But when SeaWorld San Diego closed in March, Kouball said she was still charged on April 23 for her membership even though she doesn’t have access to the parks.
“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 complaint says.” The sole reason Defendant’s customers pay monthly membership fees is to have access to the Defendant’s amusement parks and water parks. Now, the Defendant is charging its customers full price while denying customers access to its amusement parks and water parks.”
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The lawsuit filed on May 8, is seeking class-action status and is demanding SeaWorld pay $5 million to members being charged for annual passes.
NBC 7 reached out to SeaWorld, but they declined to comment on pending litigation.
On its website, SeaWorld says they are extending all active annual passes and membership products “for a period of at least as long as the temporary closure.”
They also state that members on an EZpay contract prior to the park closure and who did not defer payments, "will have their payments after the re-opening of the park waived for a period of time equivalent to the length of the closure."
SeaWorld, an Orlando-based company, is developing a plan to reopen, but no date has been announced.
The company has suffered a $56.5 million net loss in first-quarter earnings, while attendance broke records in early 2020 and tanked by 31% by the end of the quarter, March 31. Revenues fell 30% to about $154 million.
After state officials approve theme parks to reopen, it could take two to three weeks before a park is ready to welcome guests, said Marc Swanson, Interim CEO.
Lisa Kouball is being represented by the law offices of Ronald Marron.