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Elk Grove high school band loses $20K because of apparent non-refundable hotel reservation

"Not having this, on top of the inability to do a lot of fundraising this summer, it really puts next fall in jeopardy about whether we can continue our operations."

ELK GROVE, Calif — Laguna Creek High School's band has gone to Disneyland to perform for the past nine years and have stayed in the same hotel almost every time. But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they had to cancel their annual trip.

Now, because of the canceled trip, the band and its booster club are fighting to get back the $20,000 it spent with Hilton Hotels.

Band Director Jeffrey Edom and the band's booster club attorney Jonathan G Stein said the organization has legal ground to be paid a full refund, but they've only thus far been offered a credit for future visits.

“The problem is the contract that Hilton wrote and presented to the booster club doesn't actually provide for a credit for future years," Stein explained. "The contract actually says 'If you can not come because of a act of God or governmental order, then we will give you a refund.'"

Emails to Hilton Hotels for a statement went unreturned.

On the hotel chain's website, a statement posted for people trying to cancel for coronavirus pandemic-related reasons says that reservations can be canceled for free, but it does not mention refunds or credits.

"All individual reservations — even those described as "non-cancellable" ("Advanced Purchase") — that are scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day," the website reads.

Edom said that the hotel did offer the band a credit to use in the future, but that will not save them from the debt they have collected.

The booster club has already repaid parents, summer fundraising has been canceled due to the pandemic, and not every student who was planning to go on the trip will return next year.

“Not having this, on top of the inability to do a lot of fundraising this summer, it really puts next fall in jeopardy about whether or not we can continue our operations," Edom said.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Monica Coleman.

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