Some Epic Pass holders say they did not receive refunds under this season’s Epic Coverage plan
As the ski season comes to a close, some Epic Pass holders are complaining that they still haven’t received refunds that they’re due.
Last spring, Vail Resorts announced that it would provide free Epic Coverage on its 2020-21 passes, providing “cash refunds to passholders for certain resort closures, including for events like COVID-19, as well as refunds for eligible personal events like job loss, illness and more.”
The new Epic Coverage program was intended to give people peace of mind following the sudden closure of all Colorado resorts in March 2020, but according to individuals who reached out to the Summit Daily News, some Epic Coverage refund claims have not been fulfilled.
Breckenridge resident Larry Augustyn said he hasn’t been able to get a refund since his wife died in November.
“I’ve called, I’ve sent emails, I’ve left messages, and no one has responded to me,” Augustyn said. “It’s kind of like they’re too busy.”
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Augustyn said his wife finished paying for the pass in October but died before the ski resorts opened. He said it’s been difficult to work through his grief as well as the financial paperwork he’s having to do following her death. He said trying to get a refund for his wife’s ski pass on top of everything else is “overwhelming.”
Augustyn said his daughter applied for a pass refund one to two weeks after his wife died and sent a copy of the death certificate. He said he thinks Vail Resorts is trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to get refunds in hopes that people will give up on the process.
“It’s a big corporation, and I understand that they’ve got to go up the chain of command, but I just think it’s ridiculous that they’re taking so long to do this refund,” Augustyn said. “The only thing I would really like to ask Vail is, please don’t make it so hard on someone who is having a grieving process already; it just exacerbates that process.”
Joey Crump said his wife also has not received a refund after she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in January and became very ill. He wrote in an email that she is now in a rehabilitation program for people experiencing long-term effects of the virus. Crump said his wife’s medical records were sent to Vail Resorts, but the company denied the claim and is not issuing a refund on the unused pass.
“Vail sold millions of passes with the promise of being able to get a full refund,” Crump wrote, adding that he waited on hold for 30 minutes with the Vail claims management team before being disconnected.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz has repeatedly acknowledged a shortage of customer service representatives at call centers this season, calling wait times “unacceptable.” In mid-March, he announced there would be “significant staffing increases” in call centers.
Other passholders are upset that refunds were denied for pandemic-related travel challenges that were not specifically addressed in the Epic Coverage program.
Minnesota resident Jeremy Lane said his family did not travel to Keystone Resort to ski this year because his daughter’s school asked students to quarantine after traveling and before returning to school. Lane said he was under the impression that if people weren’t able to travel due to the pandemic, they could be refunded for unused passes.
“Their whole Epic Coverage certainly seemed to lend itself to some protection if you weren’t able to travel this year,” Lane said. “They really touted themselves as, ‘You’re covered if you can’t ski.’ That was the impression they seemed to be giving, but they don’t seem to be standing behind it very well at this point.”
After filing a claim for a refund, Lane said he received a denial less than 24 hours after the claim was processed. The denial letter said refunds are not issued in the event of travel advisories or governmental-directed quarantines related to travel.
Keystone and Breckenridge Ski Resort spokesperson Sara Lococo wrote in an email that if a guest submitted a refund request, American Claims Management — which handles the claims for Vail Resorts — has received the request and is working to process it. In some cases, the center might have to reach out to guests for additional information, so she said passholders who have filed claims should check their spam or junk email folders.
Lococo added that in order to expedite refund requests, documentation to support requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as (American Claims Management) works through this process,” she wrote.