Customers sue Carowinds’ parent company, demand partial refund for season passes

CHARLOTTE — Some Carowinds customers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the park’s owner, asking for a partial refund of their season passes.

They filed the suit against Cedar Fair because they say they had fewer days to visit the park in 2020.

The plaintiffs allege the policy online about season passes did not say that if an unexpected event forced it to close, officials would not refund even a portion of the season pass purchase price.

This became an issue during the pandemic when Cedar Fair’s parks, including Carowinds, couldn’t open for their usual dates because of COVID-19.

In response to the lawsuit, Cedar Fair said, “A reasonable consumer would not expect the company to return a portion of the purchase price based on the disclaimer actually printed on the tickets.”

But on Thursday, the company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit was denied.

Last summer, Channel 9 heard complaints from season ticket holders who couldn’t get a reservation when the park opened. That’s because the park limited visitors due to the pandemic. But in July, the park got rid of the reservation system that frustrated some families who wanted a refund. The park expanded capacity and added workers to guest services to handle complaints.

Cedar Fair sent a statement to Channel 9 Friday morning saying it does not comment on pending litigation.

Timothy Lowe said he and his son had a bad experience with Carowinds during the pandemic.

“I planned on making good times spending with my son, and he had hopes of going up to Carowinds at least three days out of the week,” Lowe said.

Lowe said he was a season ticket owner in 2021. He said he and his son had to schedule appointments just to get into the park.

“So we got ready to go to Carowinds and next thing you know, you got to pick your days of when you can go. And if you pick a day and that day’s already taken, then that day is unavailable,” Lowe said.

While Lowe did not hold a season pass in 2020, he is hopeful that those who did will be compensated.

“They deserve a refund; not partial, but all of it,” Lowe said. “Carowinds is treating it more like a business, but this is a family-type thing and they should treat the customers as family.”

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