Disparti Law Group Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Seaworld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. for Allegedly Charging Unauthorized Automatic Renewal Fees

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Tampa law firm alleges in lawsuit many visitors to SeaWorld theme parks in Florida, Virginia, Texas and California who bought year round passes through EZ pay and paid in full in less than 12 months charged renewal fees without consent

Paul Fowkes

Attorneys Paul R. Fowkes and Ryan C. Hasanbasic of Disparti Law Group, P.A. announced today that they have filed a class action lawsuit against SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc., on behalf of consumers who claim the amusement park continued to charge them for ticket renewal fees, even after their year-round passes were fully paid.

According to the class complaint, Jason Herman, a Pinellas County resident, bought a pair of one-year adult EZpay passes to SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa. He bought the passes online on March 18, 2013, with an initial payment of $35.40, followed by 11 monthly payments of $35.40, the lawsuit states. SeaWorld Entertainment charged Mr. Herman’s credit card on the 18th of each month through February 18, 2014, when the 11th additional payment was made, the lawsuit says.

Even after the passes were fully paid, SeaWorld continued to charge Mr. Herman’s credit card each month through September 2014, the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit states that Mr. Herman called SeaWorld on Oct. 15, 2014, to question the credit card charges and spoke to a representative in the EZpay Department. Mr. Herman explained that his credit card had been charged for several months after the pass expired, and he asked for a refund of payments beyond Feb. 18, 2014, the lawsuit says.

The SeaWorld representative refused to make the refund, telling Mr. Herman that he should have reviewed the terms of the contract when he purchased the one-year pass, the lawsuit alleges. The complaint states that the SeaWorld representative explained that, under the terms of the contract, there was an automatic renewal, and the customer’s credit card was charged because he did not contact SeaWorld to terminate his pass.

When Mr. Herman questioned where he could find the contractual language, the representative said it was on the initial e-mail receipt from the ticket purchase, according to the lawsuit. Mr. Herman searched his email while on the phone with the SeaWorld representative and found no such contractual language on the receipt, the emailed tickets or the physical pass, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that the SeaWorld representative said the terms of the purchase of the one-year pass included the following provision, which the representative read:

“Except for any passes paid in less than 12 months, the contract will renew automatically on a month-to-month basis following the payment period” until terminated.

The lawsuit alleges, that as a general business practice, SeaWorld relies on the contractual provision to continue charging customers after the period set forth in the ticket purchase confirmation and refuses to give refunds to customers who complain about the practice. Because Mr. Herman fully paid for his EZpass in 11 months (between March 18, 2013 and February 18, 2014), SeaWorld was not authorized to make any additional charges and breached the terms of its own contract, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that there are many consumers who reside in Florida, Virginia, Texas or California (where SeaWorld theme parks are located) who have purchased annual passes online and have been charged automatic renewal fees after their passes were paid in full, even though SeaWorld did not have the contractual right to do so. The lawsuit claims that SeaWorld routinely receives complaints from consumers seeking refunds for charges made without authorization.

The lawsuit is entitled Jason Herman, et al., v. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc., Case No. 8:14-cv-03028, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

About the Disparti Law Group, P.A.

Disparti Law Group, P.A., is a Florida consumer advocate and personal injury law firm that assists clients in a variety of practice areas, including car accidents, consumer issues, slip-and-fall accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect and inadequate security. The firm also provides legal assistance to individuals seeking Social Security Disability (SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), railroad disability (FELA and RRB claims) and veterans’ benefits (including TSGLI claims). The firm serves clients throughout the Florida communities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Trinity and Spring Hill. Attorneys Paul R. Fowkes and Ryan C. Hasanbasic can be reached regarding the Seaworld class action at (813) 221-0500. To learn more about Disparti Law Group, P.A., in general, call (800) 633-4091 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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