59 million people have lost money due to plans canceled by coronavirus (COVID-19), study finds

76% of people with existing plans have thought about canceling

A virus (WDIV)

DETROIT – A new study found that 59 million people in the United States have lost money due to plans that were canceled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The coronavirus has canceled plans for 62% of U.S. adults, according to the survey by Bankrate.com. Of those people, here are the types of plans that have been canceled:

  • Wedding or graduation party -- 31%
  • Hotels/lodging -- 27%
  • Flights -- 23%
  • Concerts -- 18%
  • Sporting events -- 16%
  • Live theater -- 14%
  • Other -- 12%

The survey found that 37% of those people -- roughly 59 million total -- lost money due to the canceled plans.

More than three-quarters of people who live in higher-income households with salaries of at least $80,000 have lost money, as opposed to 64% of middle-income households ($40,000-$80,000) and 53% of low-income households (under $40,000).

In the Midwest, 59% of people had to call off plans, the survey found. About 68% of westerners, 65% of people in the northeast and 58% of southerners canceled plans, the survey says.

Millennials are the most likely generation to have canceled plans, with 65% reporting they had done so, compared to 60% for Gen. X and 65% of Baby Boomers.

Only 30% of all adults who had plans canceled will receive a full refund, researchers said. About 24% expect to get most of their money back, 11% expect to get half and 13% don’t expect to get any.

“My best advice for a refund is to start by contacting the company that you purchased from, whether that was an airline, a travel agency, a ticket marketplace, etc.,” Bankrate.com analyst Ted Rossman said. “Start wherever you made the reservation or bought the tickets. Most of these companies are being very generous with their refund policies. If you can’t reach a satisfactory resolution with them, then I think you should bring in your card company as a backup.”

“If you feel that the travel provider or ticket seller treated you unfairly, file a dispute with the card company and see if they can help you get your money back. With long phone waits reported, try to do this online if you can.”

More than half of the people surveyed don’t have any plans for the foreseeable future. The study found 76% of people with existing plans are thinking about canceling.

Methodology

Bankrate.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey.

The total sample size was 2,669 adults, including 1,654 adults who have canceled plans or no longer plan to go to an event.

Fieldwork was undertaken from April 1-3. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.


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