Find out which companies are supporting customers by implementing a wide variety of programs during the Coronavirus crisis.
In an effort to provide some peace of mind during this trying time, the FairShake team has put together a living list of companies that are setting up special relief programs for customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you pay for a service or work with a company that is helping its customers through this time and isn’t listed below, tell us about it.
With the world practicing social distancing, travel plans are being dropped left and right. People are having to cancel vacations and trips to visit family and friends.
Flights aren’t cheap, so for many, cancelling these trips are causing real hardship. Many airlines are helping customers out by waiving cancellation fees and allowing travelers to swap their flight dates, without having to pay a penalty.
Although fee waivers help customers change travel plans, most airlines do not refund cancelled ticket prices. The differences in waivers among airlines are generally in regards to how long the waiver last. Make sure you check with your airline to learn when the fee waiver expires.
Allegiant Airlines has changed their policy stating that customers are allowed a one-time change to an existing ticket without any additional fees. Existing reservations only and it’s important to reach out to the Allegiant customer care center. There are no set dates yet, customers are just asked to contact the company directly.
American Airlines has issued fee waivers for customers needing to change or cancel flights. For flights going to European countries, American Airlines has extended the effect of these waivers through May.
The massive airline company issued a travel waiver that allows customers to cancel or change their flights through April. For transatlantic flights, customers can cancel or change their bookings through May.
Frontier Airlines has increased the flexibility to their current policy which previously stated that passengers can make changes to their itineraries at least 60 days prior to departure. Passengers at this point who were issued tickets before March 10th and have any upcoming travel between now and April 30th are given a one-time change to either alter or cancel their itinerary with no additional fees. Customers who are currently booking tickets between now and March 31st will also qualify for this one-time waiver.
Hawaiian Airlines is now updating their policy so that anyone who purchased a flight with their Hawaiian Miles can have it redeposited into their account without any fees should they cancel. There’s also a new policy that is allowing customers to change their existing flights without an additional fee.
JetBlue has stipulated that customers with existing itineraries can rebook for travel between now and October 24th, 2020 but cancellations are also available in the form of credit valid for one year.
Spirit Airlines has released a new program that allows people to change their existing plans once without any extra fee and customers who want to cancel the existing trips will receive reservation credit in the full amount of their ticket which is valid for up to six months.
Southwest deserves a special shout-out for being the only major airline to already not charge customers a fee for changing or cancelling their flights. They haven’t had to change their policy here to help customers dealing with coronavirus-impacted travel plans because they already support consumers by not charging fees.
While United Airlines has also issued a travel waiver for complimentary changes or cancellations, its program is only available through the end of April.
While many banks are enacting policies to help small businesses, there are also fee waivers and other relief policies being put in place for individual customers.
ATM fees, mortgage payments and other banking expenses are being taken into consideration during COVID-19.
CitiBank has provided COVID-19 relief programs for both small businesses and individual customers. The bank asks customers to contact them if they have been affected by the pandemic so that they may offer monthly service fee waivers and other penalty charges.
CitiBank is also offering credit line increases and collection forbearance (not enforcing debt collection).
CitiBank is also one of the banks in California that has agreed to waive mortgage payments in the state for 90 days.
As people are canceling their trips and turning toward self quarantine measures as requested by local governments and communities, car rental companies are giving much more flexibility by offering longer windows and which to use credit you receive when canceling or modifying the current reservation.
Reservation flexibility dictates it if you have to change your reservation you can do so without any additional fees.
Budget, like many other car rentals, has complete flexibility allowing you to pay at the counter when you make your reservation online which allows you to cancel or modify that reservation without any additional fee. Those who have existing reservations can contact the company to change the reservation without additional cost.
Given that you pay at the time of pickup, there are also no cancellation fees, you can easily adjust your existing reservation online. Customers who did have a prepaid rental that was booked prior to March 13th can transfer their balance for the future booking used within 24 months or modify it with no extra fee.
Like many competing companies, they are updating the sanitation practices for their staff, deactivating, quarantining and sanitizing any vehicles that came into contact with a virus, and waiving cancellation fees for previously scheduled trips.
Customers who have prepaid rentals that were booked prior to March 13th are able to transfer their balance for the future booking or cancel the reservation with no fee. Any transfer toward a future booking can be used within 24 months.
Their company is very similar in that you can postpone your car rental or choose a different destination for an existing reservation. If you paid for your booking deposit already you have to reach out to customer service and they will help you make modifications without additional fees.
This company is upgrading the car cleaning procedures to include antiviral solutions while promoting better hygiene and safety among the staff while also waiving any cancellation fees through April of 2020. They are pretty flexible in that they know many members live in areas that are being asked to self quarantine.
24 Hour Fitness
There are currently no plans for 24 Hour Fitness to refund or discount memberships for people in self-quarantine. They have responded to COVID-19 by making it easier for customers to not touch each other, or gym property, by giving people access to their workouts via an app.
The boutique gym has chosen to temporarily shut down its studios across the US, Canada, and UK. Luckily for their customers, Barry’s will be adjusting membership fees to account for their closures.
Gold’s Gym has issued some informational tips on how to stay healthy if you choose to visit any of their gyms which include sanitizing equipment before and after, using hand sanitizer when you move from one piece of equipment to another, and regularly washing your hands in accordance with CDC protocol. The entire team is cleaning the surfaces more to keep everything as sanitary as possible. But, they are not reimbursing membership fees at this time.
LA Fitness has provided information for prevention and treatment from the CDC and urged people to avoid the gym if they are showing any cold like symptoms and then regularly protect themselves when they are at the gym. The gym is not issuing refunds at this time.
A spokesperson for Orangetheory Fitness stated that their members are encouraged to exercise precautions during this time and avoid signing up or working out at one of the facilities if they are showing any symptoms.
Planet Fitness spokespeople in an email stated that their team members are improving the thoroughness of all cleaning for the areas of the club and the gym floor and adding to their regimen, overnight cleaning. They’ve also added signs across the front desk of over 2,000 locations to remind members how to disinfect equipment, when to disinfect, and to wash their hands regularly.
SoulCycle has closed their studios across the whole of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to make sure staff and members can stay healthy. They have also proactively close to studios in Massachusetts, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Mateo. They made changes to the overall health of studios by removing things like hair ties and earplugs, no longer offering a courtesy phone charging station at the front desk, and removing the sign-in sheets.
Town Sports International (NYSC, BSC, WSC)
Town Sports International Executives have stated that the sports clubs are adding cleaning to the requirements and stocking up on supplies, while also reminding their members to regularly sanitize equipment and keeping staff members and gym members home if they show any signs of sickness.
Each YMCA location is different but they have recommended in almost all locations to stay home when you’re sick, use good hand-washing habits, and have encouraged the same of their staff members while also adding awareness to the established guidelines for staff members and adding additional rounds of cleaning to the facilities.
In response to the impact coronavirus has had on travel around the globe, Airbnb has updated its policies to help customers who may have had to cancel or reschedule their travel, according to Business Insider. Its cancellation policy now allows guests to cancel their reservations anywhere in the world for a full refund. You can see the full impact of COVID-19 to Airbnb policies here.
Best Western has asked each hotel which is independently owned and operated to use flexibility and decide locally the cancellation request.
Guests within the United States and Canada with a non-refundable reservation that was booked between March 10th and April 30th will receive Choice privilege points that they can use to Future bookings. Guests living in Italy, Japan, South Korea, or China will face no cancellation fee and travelers with reservations in those countries can cancel through the end of March with no additional fee.
Hilton is waiving any change fees and providing full refunds for regions that have government issued travel restrictions. All reservations that were scheduled before April 30th can be altered up to 24 hours before your arrival including reservations that are not typically eligible for cancellation.
Hyatt is waiving cancellation fees for any existing reservation that you made before March 13th as well as arrivals between March 14th and April 30th. You can change or cancel with no extra charge up to 24 hours before your arrival. Members have the option of trading in their Advanced purchase rate non-refundable reservations and will get additional bonus points.
They are waiving all cancellation fees for existing bookings and new bookings which are made between March 9th and April 30th.
Marriott hotels around the world have altered their policies to give their guests some relief. While the hotel chain is not refunding customers’ cancelled reservations, they are allowing rescheduling and cancellations without fees. There are some exceptions to this policy, outlined in Marriott’s press release, including date periods with special event or “peak demand” pricing.
Motel 6 has put into place additional house cleaning protocols and have waived cancellation penalties for any reservation for the whole of March.
Any guests traveling to or from Italy, South Korea, or China with direct bookings can cancel without any penalties. Guests with direct bookings who are prohibited from traveling because of government-issued restrictions will have change or cancellation penalties waived. For any existing bookings, they are required to accommodate the rate reservation changes so long as they received the request within 48 hours before your arrival.
Several insurance companies are discounting their policyholders’ premiums as people are driving less during the COVID-19 isolation and social distancing measures. Additionally, some insurance companies are also pausing cancellation and late fees.
Allstate Insurance will be returning $600 Million in premiums to its policyholders. Most Allstate customers will be getting back 15% of their premium. The discount should show up in customers’ bank or Allstate account.
Additionally, Allstate is offering payment relief to customers who need it and will broaden their coverage options for drivers who are making deliveries during COVID-19. Allstate is also providing free identity protection for the rest of 2020 to all US residents.
American Family Insurance
American Family Insurance is returning approximately $200 million to its customers in aggregate. According to CNN, “American Family Insurance said it will give back about $50 per car that a household has insured with the company via a one-time payment. It said that will total about $200 million.”
Liberty Mutual / Safeco
Since the COVID-19 pandemic became a public health emergency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which implores telecommunication companies to not disconnect service or charge customers fees if they cannot pay their bills on time for the next 60 days, according to The Verge. The pledge also asks companies to provide their public hotspots free of charge. Below are the companies who have taken steps to follow this new FCC pledge.
According to USA Today, “The cable, phone and media giant is suspending the termination of wireless, home phone or broadband service when customers can’t pay their bills because of coronavirus disruptions.” AT&T is also waiving late fees related to cancelling service. The company is giving the community access to its public WiFi hot spots for free and supplying its home internet customers with unlimited data.
CenturyLink has suspended the internet data cap and are working to make their internet service faster for students and workers who are currently under self quarantine.
In addition to providing its public WiFi hotspots to the community free of charge, Comcast is also giving its current customers unlimited data for no extra charge. Comcast has also said it will not be discontinuing service or charging late fees to customers who cannot pay their bills, according to USA Today. New Comcast customers can get basic internet for free for 60 days.
Cox has put into place preparations but they haven’t waived any data caps yet however, they are upgrading their speeds for certain plans over the course of the next 60 days to help promote workers and students during this time while offering one free month of service for new customers who are enrolled in low-income plans.
The company is implementing steps to restrict travel for employees and customers, and investigating network capacities to make sure that large hospitals, schools, and government agencies have connectivity during this time.
Spectrum is offering free internet for 60 days for households with students. They are also giving consumers a break by not interrupting internet service, so that individuals can get important access to what is going on with Coronavirus.
Suddenlink is implementing travel restrictions for employees as well as customers and working to ensure large organizations, hospitals, Schools, and Government agencies are able to remain connected.
This company has focused on keeping customers and partners connected during teleworking and quarantine conditions while providing emergency services for medical professionals, limiting exposure, implementing new access controls for security on site, and making sure that customers remain well-connected so that they can get access to critical information.
They’re providing unlimited connectivity to all customers for the next 60 days excluding roaming, and those with mobile hotspots are given an additional 20 Gigabytes of service over the next 60 days.
Sprint is offering unlimited data for the next 60 days beginning March 19th and an extra 20 Gigabytes of Mobile Hotspot data for those customers who already have hotspot data set up on their account. They’re also waiting late fees from March 19th onward and they will not terminate Services if customers are unable to pay bills because of coronavirus. They’re also introducing free international calling for all CDC level three nations.
T-Mobile is giving all of its current customers unlimited data for the next 60 days, according to USA Today. T-Mobile is very similar to Sprint in that they are waiving late fees and giving unlimited data, opening their Wi-Fi hotspots to all Americans over the next 60 days and refusing to terminate services for small businesses or residents that are unable to pay their bills during the Coronavirus.
The company will not terminate services for residences or small businesses that are unable to pay their bills because of this disruption for the next sixty days, they will also waive any late fees because of economic circumstances. They’re taking additional steps to ensure all retail stores remain open with high levels of cleanliness and that customer service teams are available virtually.
Verizon said it is waiving late fees and suspending service termination for customers “negatively impacted by the global crisis.”
This is changing the safety procedures for when technicians visit your home but beyond that they have no information on how they are helping customers.
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