Register or Login to Hide This Ad for Free!


Pusheen Gardens
Silver Donor
Jul 20, 2011
Williamsburg, VA
Former SeaWorld, Busch Gardens passholder sues over renewal issue

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment was so close to getting out of 2014 without any more financial or political headaches. But alas, now this: A former annual passholder at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens who says that his pass was renewed without his permission has filed a lawsuit against the company.
Related News/Archive

Claiming that SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment continued to charge his credit card about $35 per month beyond his one-year commitment, Jason Herman of Kenneth City seeks $5 million on behalf of himself and other annual passholders "similarly situated."

According to the complaint filed last week in federal court in Tampa, Herman purchased an "EZPay Adult" ticket in March 2013, with 11 months of $35.40 payments to follow. After he paid that pass off by February 2014, his card kept being charged.

The suit, filed by the Tampa firm of Disparti, Fowkes & Hasanbasic, states that a SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employee told Herman that "the terms of the contract he agreed to … included an automatic renewal and that his credit card was charged because he did not ask … to terminate his pass." A request for a refund was refused.

The dispute ultimately comes down to a line in the retail installment contract agreement: "Except for any passes paid in less than 12 months, this contract will renew automatically on a month-to-month basis following the payment period until I terminate it." In the suit, Herman attached a receipt saying he completed the annual pass payment by February 2014 — that is, in less than 12 months.

The question could be, per the language in the agreement, whether he still needed to express a desire to terminate.

The lawsuit claims that people with similar problems to Herman's are in the "thousands."

There is recent precedent for such a case, including a multimillion-dollar settlement with Sirius XM Radio, which agreed to pay consumers across 45 states and the District of Columbia who had, among other problems, difficulty canceling contracts.

A representative from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, which owns Busch Gardens, said he was "unable to provide comment on pending litigation."

It has been a trouble-laden year for the owner of 11 theme parks in the U.S.: Shares in the publicly traded SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment lost 50 percent of their value in the past year — more than $1.4 billion in market value.

That's partially a result of negative publicity generated by the 2013 film Blackfish, which linked the death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, killed during a live show with a male orca named Tilikum, to the much-debated effects of captive environments on killer whales.

It also didn't help that the Falcon's Fury thrill ride at Tampa's Busch Gardens suffered severe delays due to operational issues. Despite a massive ad campaign launched several months before — aimed at drawing a summer crowd — the drop tower didn't started plummeting guests 335 feet straight down until this fall.

Contact Sean Daly at Follow @seandalypoplife.

RE: Former SeaWorld, Busch Gardens passholder sues over renewal issue

Same exact thing happened to me in May. I demanded a refund and you bet your sarcastic tails they gave it to me. Oh and they also gave me a fair bit of attitude for not reading all ten thousand words of the fine print. Let's just say I fought back extremely hard (even for me) and sweet little Pass Rep. apologized profusely.

Been waiting months for this to come to pass.

Literally the only time I've ever been treated as an inferior person by someone at the park...
RE: Former SeaWorld, Busch Gardens passholder sues over renewal issue

May I bring your attention to the Terms and Conditions as stated by BGW when purchasing the pass:

By accepting EZ Pay, I agree to pay the down payment (first monthly payment), and thereafter to pay the remaining number of payments, which will be billed monthly to my credit card. I may prepay my outstanding balance at any time. I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM NOT PERMITTED TO CANCEL MY EZPAY PLAN UNTIL ALL MONTHLY PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE. IF I FAIL TO PAY MY MONTHLY PAYMENT, THE ENTIRE REMAINING BALANCE WILL BE DUE AND PAYABLE IMMEDIATELY (acceleration not applicable to Virginia residents) AND MY BAR-CODED PASS MAY BE CANCELLED. If I fail to make payments for a period of 10 days or more, at the sole discretion of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (SEA), I will be charged the costs of collecting my outstanding debt, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs. I may be assessed a late fee of up to 5% of each late installment. (California residents: 5% late fee is not applicable. California residents may be assessed a late fee of up to $10 if they are 10 days late, up to $15 if they are 10 to 15 days late and may also be subject to a delinquency charge if they fail to notify SEA of any change of address or to communicate with SEA 45 days after failure to make a payment.) EXCEPT FOR ANY PASSES PAID IN LESS THAN 12 MONTHS, THIS CONTRACT WILL RENEW AUTOMATICALLY ON A MONTH-TO-MONTH BASIS FOLLOWING THE PAYMENT PERIOD until I terminate it. I hereby authorize SEA to charge my credit card (or any other credit card which I supply SEA) for future payments. I may cancel my automatically renewed pass(es) at any time after the first full EZ Pay Plan has expired. SEA will advise me of any rate changes. Payments will be made in accordance with my Credit Card Issuer Agreement. I understand that I am not permitted to contract for additional EZ Pay accounts if my balance under this contract is past due, and that any payments made by me to SEA may be used by SEA to settle past due balances under this contract before applying the payments to other sales transactions. In addition, regardless of the number of times a pass is used, there are no refunds of amounts paid on my EZ Pay account. Notice to Buyer: Do not sign this contract before you read it or if it contains any blank spaces. You are entitled to an exact copy of the contract you accept. Keep it to protect your legal rights. I am at least 18 years of age, and I consent to the use of my personal identification information for my EZPay Account.

Terms Broken Down
You agree to pay each monthly payment by have them charge your credit card.
You can prepay your left over payments early if you'd like.
You can not cancel your pass until you made at least 12 payments.
If you live outside Virginia and miss a payment, your entire remaining balance will be due immediately and your pass cancelled.
If you live in Virginia and miss a payment, your pass will be cancelled.*
If you still do not pay within 10 days of missing payment, the company will also charge you the cost of collecting the money such as attorney fees and court costs.
If you do not live in California, you will be charged 5% for each late payment.
If you live in California, you will be charged $10 per late payment within 10 days and $15 per late payment within 10 to 15 days and a delinquency charge is they don't respond back to the company after 45 days.
After 12 months, they will keep billing you the monthly payment until you cancel.
You authorize them to do so.
You understand you can cancel anytime after 12 months.
They must tell you if they change your monthly payment.
You can't buy any new passes if you have any late payments.
No matter how many times you use your pass or even if you don't use it, there are no refunds.

Quite honestly they aren't that long compared to a lot of other legal documents or contracts. Also when you buy a pass they highlight certain parts in bold and capitalized letters so you fully understand.
If you agree to 12 payments, they can take 12 payments. They should not continue to unless you explicitly agree to more. It's pretty plain and simple. I'm sure this gets settled out of court, but it's a strong case for misleading consumers.
He did not just post that.

The Lord is testing me.

Edit: now that I've taken a breath, I'll say this. I understand you should read fine print, HOWEVER even the Pass Rep., we'll call her Princess, was surprised to see two passes under my account with the same name. Also Princess figured it out pretty quickly and said that's been happening frequently.

Princess, it shouldn't happen that way.
I've read/heard many complaints about repeating monthly charges after cancellation on the EZ-Pay system. Cedar Fair uses a 6 month payment plan to help people spread out the cost of passes and I have never heard one complaint about their system. In my daily experiences, keeping things simple is usually the best course of action. I'm also not the person who likes things like 'spending my money' automatically done for me. This is one of those things that I want to keep control of in this day and age filled with scams, lies, and deception.
Hi I've read the forums for a little while now and I wanted to say that I've been think of getting a pass and ezpay has swayed me away.

I've heard so many problems about unapproved payments and partial or no refunds given. I'm thinking that next year I'm going to just pay in full and thats it.
  • Like
Reactions: Nicole
I always bought the two-year Plat Pass in full, but when they changed to an annual-only schedule, I kinda had to switch to EZpay. The price goes up too much every year to justify paying all at once now.
  • Like
Reactions: buddy789
buddy789 said:
Hi I've read the forums for a little while now and I wanted to say that I've been think of getting a pass and ezpay has swayed me away.

I've heard so many problems about unapproved payments and partial or no refunds given. I'm thinking that next year I'm going to just pay in full and thats it.

Well welcome to the boards!! Sorry the first thread your posting in is so pessimistic! And I've always done the EZpay for a one year pass before. This is just the first time I've had this issue.
  • Like
Reactions: buddy789
The One-park Pass went up $12 since this Spring.

I am not willing to take that much of an increase every year. It adds up quickly. EZPass locks in your far as we know...for now.

(Thanks, Zachary, for looking up the prices.)
Aw man, I got used to that $120 annual pass (and $20 off for online renewal). I wonder what the offer will be this time, if at all. I don't like to do EZ pay on anything.
  • Like
Reactions: buddy789
FWIW, I've always done pass purchases, changes, renewals, etc. by phone and the automatic month to month renewal has always been explained to me explicitly. In fact, I've always told other people about it and explained it as a perk of EZPAY. However, I can see where it would be an issue if you've purchase online. Most of us tend to skip the fine print when we are making what seems like a cut and dry purchase.
  • Like
Reactions: Zachary
Luke said:
Wow *picks self off floor* Zachary is doing something.
EZPay hasn't always been a bad option. I opted for it years ago and I am grandfathered in for a two-park pass for less than $10/month. As long as I keep paying, the rate stays locked in.
  • Like
Reactions: Zachary
Consider Donating to Hide This Ad