Beach Cancellation Refund

(WSVN) - For many families, it’s a great getaway — spend the extra money and book a hotel right on the beach for the July 4th weekend, but now, South Florida beaches are closing. Can you cancel and get your money back? Find out in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

As a grandfather, Thomas Boehm knows how to make the July 4th weekend fun for his grandchildren.

Thomas Boehm, booked beachfront hotel: “Go into the ocean and enjoy the ocean.”

And so Thomas booked rooms at a Pompano Beach hotel that he thinks is perfect for the kids.

Thomas Boehm: “It’s right on the beach. That’s what we are paying for. We are paying for the opportunity for the kids to walk 30 feet and be in the ocean.”

The rate doubled for the July 4th weekend, but Thomas said it was worth it until the county closed the beaches.

Thomas Boehm: “That eliminates the kids being able to get into the ocean.”

Thomas asked the hotel to cancel his reservation or don’t charge the July 4th premium and lower the rate of the rooms.

Thomas Boehm: “They said, ‘No, sorry, it’s past the date for cancellation, so there is no refunds, and no, we are not doing anything.'”

Without the ability to go to the beach, Thomas said it will be boring for the grandkids, not what he had paid for.

Thomas Boehm: “Paying top dollar, and the thing you are paying top dollar for, you can’t use.”

Well, Howard, if you booked a hotel because it’s on the beach, and now you don’t have the beach, legally, what are your options?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Normally, when you book a reservation, the terms are in your contract, and if there is no provision for beach closing, you are out of luck, but a judge might see this differently because of the pandemic, so both sides should work out a compromise, and the hotel can give a credit for a future vacation. That way they keep the money and don’t upset a loyal customer.”

A COVID question: under HIPPA, your boss cannot tell you which co-worker got the coronavirus, but can they tell you which department or which section of the building, so you don’t worry you came in contact with the anonymous person?

Howard Finkelstein: “While they cannot tell you the person’s name, they can tell you where they work in the building, but legally, they don’t have to. However, in most cases, fellow employees can figure out who the person is.”

A employer contacted us and said one of her employees said he came in contact with a family member who had the coronavirus, and he wanted to quarantine for two weeks and get paid for it. Legally, does the boss have to pay him?

Howard Finkelstein: “To avoid an employee trying to get a free vacation, the employer can require documentation that will explain which doctor told the employee to quarantine, and they can require the employee get a coronavirus test as well. If it’s negative, they come back to work. If it’s positive, they stay home and get paid.”

Thomas Boehm: “We will go back there again to use the beach when it’s available.”

Good news for Thomas: the hotel agreed to cancel his reservation and return his money after that call to Help Me Howard.

Thomas Boehm: “I am ecstatic. The whole WSVN team, I mean, just awesome, appreciate it. You are going to make this Fourth of July a very special one.”

If I had a nickel for every time during this pandemic you have said the law hasn’t dealt with something like this, we could pay for a nice vacation for a few people — strange times.

If you are having a hard time, facing a hurdle you need help to get over, give us a call. We would love to help you out.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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