Declining Refunds

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March 21, 2020 6:40 p.m.

I’ve been responding to notes from TPM Readers about the post below on the musical chairs economy. It raises the issue of declining refunds, especially when it comes to cultural institutions and small businesses. Everyone’s financial reality is different – though almost everyone’s is likely less certain today than it was a month ago. But for those of us who can it is worth considering affirmatively declining refunds. One reader just told me about declining a refund on canceled tickets for a local chamber orchestra. A different moral and ethical calculus applies to non-profits and small businesses and major corporations. But it’s worth considering that many cultural institutions, especially smaller ones, as well as small businesses likely cannot survive making everyone whole at once for an event they couldn’t have predicted or controlled. Educational payments are an entirely different matter. Those are major family budgets items for almost any family. I mean for smaller stuff. So again, for those who can easily absorb relatively small sums, it’s worth considering and suggesting the same to others who are able.

It’s not a matter of shaming people. I’m not suggesting that. But in all the rush of events I’m not sure the impact of these refunds will occur to everyone.

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